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< Egypt - Christians
Nov 18, 2011 12:46
Category: Religious News

Crystal Cathedral

 SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A federal judge in California has
approved the sale of the Crystal Cathedral to the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Orange to help the financially struggling church emerge
from bankruptcy.
     U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan approved the $57.5
million sale at a hearing in Santa Ana. The decision came after a
bidding war between the diocese and Orange County's Chapman
University for the 40-acre property in Garden Grove.
     The diocese plans to use the site for a countywide cathedral,
which means Crystal Cathedral congregants will need to eventually
move to a new location. Except for some office space and
classrooms, the ministry will be allowed access to the campus for
three years.
     Some Crystal Cathedral members fear their church will dwindle.
They noted that congregants emptied their pockets to help build the
elaborate building and many planned to be buried in the nearby
cemetery. Others fear the 'Hour of Power" broadcast that funds 70
percent of the church's revenue will lose viewers if it originates
from a less striking setting. For many congregants at the Crystal
Cathedral, the church building designed by renowned architect
Philip Johnson -- and made up of 10,000 panes of glass -- has
become intertwined with the church's identity.
     Rev. Robert H. Schuller started the Southern California ministry
as a drive-in church in the 1950s under the auspices of the
Reformed Church in America. Decades later, the church evolved into
an international televangelism empire and erected its now-famous
     In 2008, the church's revenues plummeted amid a decline in
donations and ticket sales for holiday pageants due to the
recession. But some experts say the church failed to attract
younger members while alienating older churchgoers with an
ill-fated attempt to turn the church over to Schuller's son, ending
in a bitter and public family feud. The church was forced to lay
off employees and cut salaries, but its debts surpassed $43
million, prompting it to declare bankruptcy last year.