Monday, October 18, 2010

Crystal Cathedral in decline

Orange County’s most promenade edifice to Christian opulence, the Crystal Cathedral, filed for bankruptcy today. Membership and contributions are in serious decline since the founding pastor retired and left his children to run the business into the ground.

In January, the Crystal Cathedral announced it was laying off 50 workers and selling surplus property because of a precipitous drop in contributions.

The 7,000-member church also has canceled its "Glory of Easter" pageant, a popular reenactment of the life and death of Jesus Christ, which sold tens of thousands of tickets each year.

The church, founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller more than 50 years ago, lost members in the wake of a family feud after he retired. His son, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, succeeded his father, but stepped down in 2008 after disagreements. His sister, is now the church's leader.

I’ve met the son a few times. He’s a nice guy. Too bad he lost out in the war over political control for this unfortunate monument to one man’s ego. I have no desire to see this institution continue. I know the people who founded it.They were part of the church tradition I grew up in. We are better off with out them. Too bad they are not closing their doors.

Lets be clear about the state of the church. It’s not decline based on reduced contributions, its decline based on mismanagement. The new leadership chased away its own members in a public fight for power (and the wealth associated with it).

A little known fact (or legend), a Book of Mormon is cemented into the foundation for the tower. I know the son of the man who claims to have done the deed.