Family of Crystal Cathedral Founder to Take 50 Percent Pay Cut

The founder of Southern California's Crystal Cathedral will take a voluntary 50 percent pay cut for the next two months as will his wife, his children, and his children's spouses, according to a memo that was recently sent out to employees of the megachurch.

In the Aug. 5 e-mail, church staff were informed of the decision and told the move was made to meet the demands of the vendors to whom the church owes more than $2 million.

Employees will also face a pay cut of between 5 and 10 percent, depending on their salaries, according to the Orange Country Register, which first reported about the cuts.

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None, however, were let go this time around – news that senior pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said they were thankful for.

"[A]nd we are thankful that our financial situation is looking up and we can begin to take positive steps toward repaying our debts," added Coleman, who officially succeeded her father, Robert H. Schuller, last month.

Once a powerhouse in America and to many parts of the world, Crystal Cathedral has been struggling to survive the downturn in the economy.

Earlier this year, the Reformed church closed down all operations at its San Juan Capistrano location and put its 20-acre Retreat Center up for sale.

Crystal Cathedral also reported a 27 percent drop in revenue – from $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009 – and anticipates another drop in this year's revenue.

To make matters worse, the Garden Grove megachurch also faced at least three lawsuits for the more than $2 million in debts it owed vendors for services rendered for the its 2009 "Glory of Christmas" production.

Fortunately, however, the creditors have agreed to work things out with the church and even extended the grace period from July to Oct. 9.

The church was also able to sell its Rancho Capistrano Retreat & Renewal Center to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., of Oklahoma City, which in turn leased the property to another megachurch, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church.

"[I]t's an incredible answer to prayer," Coleman announced back in May.

While the church is still weathering the storm, Coleman has encouraged the congregation and assured them that "this storm will pass and we will be OK and we can begin to grow again as a ministry."

Her father, meanwhile, said he anticipates a positive turnaround in America and said the church staff is dedicated to turning things around and bringing back its annual stage productions – the Glory of Christmas and the Glory of Easter.

This year, Crystal Cathedral canceled its Glory of Easter production for the first time in 27 years.

For more than a year now, Crystal Cathedral has been trying to dig its way out of a $55 million debt.

In that time, at least 100 employees have been laid off.

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