[UPDATED with Creditor Blowback:] New Bidder for Crystal Cathedral: Crystal Cathedral

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UPDATE, AUG. 11, 12:22 P.M.: Crystal Cathedral's former chief financial officer, Fred Southard, strolled into a recent bankruptcy hearing in federal court in Santa Ana and shook his head. It just won't work, he commented to assembled reporters about the Robert H. Schuller family plan to turn to congregants for the $50 million needed to save the iconic glass mega-church in Garden Grove.

Of course, Southard's opinion does not count. Those of Crystal Cathedral's creditors do and, unfortunately for the Schullers, they are saying the same thing as Southard. They've even put it in writing.

We first told you about Southard in November, before he resigned amid questions from the U.S. Trustee in the bankruptcy proceedings about the part-time CFO's $132,019 housing allowance on top of his $12,000 in yearly salary. And there was his son-in-law receiving $61,955 in pay and benefits--of which $59,202 was a tax-exempt housing allowance--for being a part-time pastor with the ministry.

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There for the taking.
Southard's reasoning makes perfect sense: if the Schullers can get $50 million from church members now, why didn't they do it before, when they were missing payments to their creditors, including their property's mortgage holder? Perhaps Pastor Bob should pull an Oral Roberts and tell followers God will take him unless congregants dig deep for $50 million and change by a date certain.

Creditors aren't waiting for such a miracle. They've informed the Schullers via a plan submitted in court this week that Crystal Cathedral will indeed be sold for at least $50 million. If the family cooperates, the plan stipulates that they will be able to lease the property from whoever buys it. If the family does not cooperate, creditors will step up threats to sue family members for continuing to take payments despite owing millions to others. Surely there's a sin about that somewhere in a certain book.

Finding a buyer won't be difficult as churches, Chapman University and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange have all submitted offers to purchase Crystal Cathedral. Indeed, the Diocese just upped its offer to $53.6 million. A self-proclaimed billionaire in Little Saigon floated a $99 million offer, although no one is sure he has more than faith in his pockets.

ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 1, 2:51 P.M.: During ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, after it was revealed Crystal Cathedral owes $46 million in mortgage payments for its Garden Grove crown jewel, the house that Robert H. Schuller built fielded offers of $47 million from Chapman University and a Newport Beach developer and $50 million from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and a Norco church for the glass castle of worship.

Now, a new bidder has emerged: Crystal Cathedral.

The stunning development comes from a place one expects stunning developments on bankruptcies to come from these days: a Sunday church sermon. Only this concerned a financial, not moral, bankruptcy.

Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman disclosed that Crystal Cathedral is not for sale, that a plan will go before the bankruptcy board to allow Crystal Cathedral Ministries to raise $50 million over four years to keep the joint.

For those without a scorecard, Coleman is the daughter of founding pastor Robert H. Schuller, who took over as the face of the Sunday Hour of Power broadcasts after her brother, Robert A. Schuller, was canceled due to low ratings. The founder's only son was also perceived to have diminished daddy's power, something sis Coleman reinstated, and then removed again in a recent executive-board coup. Once the smoke cleared, Papa Smurfller remained a non-voting mumbler on the panel.

Three days before Coleman's Sunday-morning announcement, the board had voted against selling, prompting her father to remark (via the Los Angeles Times), "It's time to focus on rescue, not abandonment. It's time to face our mountain."

Of debt?

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Ilost my beloved 22 year old daughter to murder in her own home and almost lostmy twin grandsons who were turning one year of age on the day their mom waskilled because the killer dismantled the smoke alarm on his way out her apartmentafter starting a fire to cover his crime.  An off duty fireman crawled under the flamesto rescue the boys but he could not make it to my daughter in the rear bedroomwho had been shot in the back five times. When I was called about my daughter’sdeath--I lost it. Then I received a telephone call that lasted for an hour or more.The person calling me was none other than Reverend Robert Schuller Sr, himself.  His words in that telephone call saved mylife. I had never met him in person. He opened his Sunday television ministry thatweek with a prayer for me. People close to Rev Schuller continued to call andcheck on me and my family for years afterwards.  I know he has done this sort of thing for manyothers. He invited me to come to the cathedral and meet with him personally.  I am not a rich man and there was nothing init for him or his church. It was simply the God given goodness in his heart in play.For those of you who have said horrible things about this man should be ashamedof yourself.  I am not a right wingreligious fanatic. I was just a man who needed an angel in my life at thatmoment and he showed up. That angel’s name is Robert H. Schuller Senior.




is it organized religion or organized crime?the line gets a little murky at times

i think it would make a really nice mosque

Jack Grimshaw
Jack Grimshaw

"Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you - AND HE NEEDS MONEY!." - George Carlin


It saddens me as a Christian to see that the church has in many ways turned more people away from Jesus than towards Him.  It isn't about religion, it's about relationship.  That's why I always tell people, don't look to the church, to the leadership, or to other Christians to be examples of what true Christianity is.  Look to Jesus if you want to know what true Christianity is.  When we have a true relationship with Jesus, His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness will manifest itself in our daily lives.  Don't look to man, or religious institutions to determine that Jesus is is the Savior of the world.  You will always be let down by Christians (not all of them), but you will never be let down by Jesus.  He died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  It's up to you to decide to follow Him.  He changed my life and has never disappointed me once in the 36 years I have known Him as my Lord and Savior.  My pastor, Christian friends, and the church have all failed me at one time or another, that's why I keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith.  Jesus is my leader and He's been a great example for me to follow.

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