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Ex-Crystal Cathedral Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, New Church 'Looking Forward'

Sheila Schuller Coleman, lead pastor of Hope Center of Christ, the congregation she founded with members who broke away from the Crystal Cathedral church in Garden Grove, Calif., preached about "looking forward" in this past Sunday's service, temporarily being held at a hotel.

Schuller Coleman's Sunday sermon, titled "Staying Salty" and based on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, touched upon the trials and tribulations of maintaining a positive attitude and approach to life's complications, and emphaszied the importance of coming through those issues to remain a "mountain top dweller."

The sermon echoed themes relevant to what Schuller Coleman herself has been experiencing over the past few weeks, having left the iconic Crystal Cathedral church her father, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, founded decades ago. As previously reported by The Christian Post, Schuller Coleman departed from the ministry and congregation to build a new church from scratch due to internal discord over theological, financial and intellectual rights related to Crystal Cathedral Ministries and its long-running "Hour of Power" televangelism broadcasts. 

"It helps me refocus and reframe and look at the blessings that God's put in my life as opposed to focusing on all of my challenges," Schuller Coleman said as she discussed how maintaining a positive attitude helps overcome life's hurdles. "Looking forward instead of looking back. Looking at what I have left as opposed to what I have lost."

Sunday's sermon at the Anaheim Marriott Suites in Garden Grove, just miles away from the Crystal Cathedral campus, was part of a new series at the Hope Center of Christ called "Mountain Top Dwellers."

The Hope Center of Christ is the new breakaway church of Pastor Schuller Coleman and brother-in-law Jim Penner. The church made headlines weeks ago after holding its first worship gathering in a movie theater – something with which Schuller Coleman is familiar.

The pastor and eldest child of the Rev. Schuller was only four years old when her father began his ministry in a drive-in movie theater. Schuller's ministry eventually became one of America's most notable megachurches with a congregation that had up to 10,000 members at the height of its popularity, but family feuds and financial burdens brought the popular ministry to its knees and now the Crystal Cathedral is left without one member of the Schuller family as part of its ministries.

However, Schuller Coleman, who has been around to see the five-decades long evolution and demise of the church, is ready and willing to rebuild.

"Today is a birth day. We're birthing something new, and it brings up so many memories….This is a much bigger crowd than Dad had," the pastor told worshipers at the Hope Center of Christ's first meeting at the movie theater on March 18.

"We are going to learn how to be a strong church," she said. "We are not about a church building. We are about building a church."

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