Schuller Gives 'Blessing' to Coleman's Departure But Will Not Join Her New Church

The founder of Crystal Cathedral ministries, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, has commended the decision of his daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, to leave the ministry, but said that he will not join her new church.

Coleman, who has been serving as senior pastor replacing her father at the Orange County megachurch that has experienced an epic downfall from popularity and prosperity to bankruptcy in recent years, announced Sunday that she is leaving the church to found her own.

Robert H. Schuller and his wife, Arvella, said in a statement that they would not be moving with her to the new ministry. At the same time, the founding pastor and his wife announced over the weekend their resignation from the ministry's board, and their future plans are yet unknown.

"How we express ourselves in worship remains up in the air," Schuller and his wife, Arvella, said in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The church has been experiencing an accelerated disintegration since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010. After selling its Garden Grove, Calif. campus to the Catholic Church, the ministry experienced heightened clashes with its congregation, a sharp decline in donations, and, recently, a disintegration of its board, as Coleman and other crucial members of the Schuller family, including the founder, stepped down one by one.

Coleman's new church will be called Hope Center of Christ. The pastor expects to find a location as early as this week.

Talking to the congregation in a video address back in November, when it was already known the property would have to be sold, Coleman made an attempt to encourage the church members, telling them to have faith in the church as an assembly, not a building. That message was repeated by Coleman several times, including in sermons.

"We all know that a church is not a building," Schuller said in the statement. "The church is you, and it's me. And that's why we will always be here for you."

"When you sell a house, do you leave any of the family behind you?" Coleman asked in the video. "Absolutely no. The whole family goes."

As for now it seems the future for the Crystal Cathedral "family," currently ran by John Charles, remains uncertain.

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