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Published: Monday, 3/12/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Crystal Cathedral to relocate, founder to exit pulpit

Family also to cease ‘Hour of Power’ role


GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — The Crystal Cathedral is getting a new name, and the congregation of the financially struggling Orange County megachurch will relocate, its senior pastor announced during a service Sunday.

Amid bankruptcy proceedings for the church, the Rev. Sheila Schuller Coleman, Robert Schuller’s daughter and the head pastor at Crystal Cathedral, announced that her sermon was the last time by any members of her family at the famous glass-walled church.

The family also will cease to take part in Hour of Power, the televangelist program that began in 1970 and at its peak beamed Mr. Schuller’s message to 2 million viewers a week.

“With the vulnerable economic situation combined with the hostile relationship with the Hour of Power board, the local church has decided that we need to find a new place to worship,” Ms. Schuller Coleman said.

The ministry will be renamed Hope Center of Christ, Ms. Schuller Coleman said in a short video posted on the Crystal Cathedral Web site.

“We’re going to need a new home sooner than we thought. And we’re moving full speed ahead,” she said.

The Schuller family’s exit from Crystal Cathedral Ministries ends a stunning decline for the church’s founder, who was one of the world’s most successful preachers but who has watched in recent years as the church slid toward financial ruin.

Robert Schuller founded the church in 1955, and by the 1980s it was drawing more than 10,000 worshipers a week. But overaggressive expansion of its campus and dwindling membership left the church tens of millions of dollars in debt, and Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

This year Crystal Cathedral was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million as part of a plan to allow the ministry to pay its creditors and emerge from bankruptcy.

The agreement with the diocese allowed Crystal Cathedral Ministries to remain in its longtime home for three more years.

But a dispute with the Crystal Cathedral Ministries board has pushed the Schullers from the location much sooner.

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