GARDEN GROVE – The Crystal Cathedral Ministry, struggling to pay its $150,000 monthly rental to the Catholic Church, announced Thursday that it plans to leave its famous home in June 2013.As reported by Ms. Kopetman, June 9, 2012 (updated June 10, 2012):
The ministry will be switching to St. Callistus Catholic Church.
As part of a sale agreement of the cathedral to the Catholic Diocese of Orange, the Protestant ministry had the option to move its congregation to the nearby Catholic church. Rent through December 2013 will be free and for the two years that follow, rent will be $25,000 per month.
The length of the lease has yet to be determined, according to a news statement released Thursday.
"This is another important step in the revival that has been taking place at the Crystal Cathedral," John Charles, president and CEO of the Crystal Cathedral, said in the press release. "With attendance and donations up, the sky is the limit."
At a meeting last month with its members, Charles said that the ministry's finances were weak, a planned move was in the works and St. Callistus was the only option they were considering.
The St. Callistus sanctuary seats about 1,200, a little less than half of the Crystal Cathedral's sanctuary, according to the release. In recent months, since the departure of Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman and the return of a more traditional format to the services, attendance has doubled, including a total of 1,707 at two Sunday morning services over Memorial Day weekend, according to the news release.
GARDEN GROVE – The soaring glass-paneled church known to millions of television viewers around the world as the Crystal Cathedral will get a new name: the Christ Cathedral.As reported by Ms. Kopetman, June 10, 2012 :
Catholic leaders announced the name Saturday morning at St. Columban Catholic Church during the moving pageantry of an ordination ritual – the type of event that will draw thousands once the Diocese of Orange move to the site.
The naming marks "the first significant effort to identify the iconic venue as a Catholic religious center," church leaders said.
It came four months after the diocese closed escrow on the $57.5 million sale, ordered by a court during the Protestant ministry's bankruptcy proceedings.
The event marked a joyous turning point for Catholics and a sad one for members of the Protestant mega-church.
"We are so excited. We prayed and prayed for the cathedral," said Deborah Tracy, an Irvine resident and member of the St. Cecilia Parish. "The cathedral is so well-known around the world. And with the name, it's an open door to all Christians."
"We weren't the highest bidder, so God had a hand in it," said Patt Gogo, a Tustin resident, following the ordination Mass.
For Crystal Cathedral congregants, it was another blow.
"I will always call it the Crystal Cathedral," said Tanya Kirkland, an active longtime member of the financially-troubled ministry.
This week, the bankrupt ministry famous for its "Hour of Power" television program announced that it is leaving its campus for St. Callistus Catholic Church in June 2013. For the first six months, rent will be free under an arrangement with the Catholic Church.
Meanwhile, Catholic leaders will begin renovations in July 2013 to convert the cathedral site – built by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller more than 50 years ago –to a Catholic place of worship. That process is expected to take at least a year.
For Catholics, the naming of a church is a formal process. A proposed name is submitted to the Congregation of Bishops, "the curia in Rome responsible for all matters pertaining to bishops and their churches," according to a news release. Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown received approval April 26. A primary requisite in considering a church name is that it relate to the study, deeds and teachings of Jesus, he said.
The name Christ Cathedral best expresses its Christian identity, its initials also are CC and the name represents an "ecumenical dimension" with which members of other Christian communities can identify, Brown said following Saturday's service.
"I felt very bad that they lost their home. However, we needed a new Catholic cathedral because our cathedral is very small," Brown said. "Dr. Schuller himself said he wanted us to be the ones to purchase it, so we would continue Christian worship in the cathedral and Christian ministry on the campus. That would not have happened with another buyer."
The sale of the church is still disputed by many Crystal Cathedral congregants. Some still can't accept their church campus was sold. Others said they wish it had been bought by Chapman University, the competing bidder.
During the ordination of four Vietnamese men as priests Saturday, Brown also announced to the 1,500 congregants gathered that Father Christopher H. Smith will serve as Episcopal Vicar to Christ Cathedral.
Smith will oversee all administrative and policy matters for Christ Cathedral and its campus. Smith has served as a priest for more than 34 years and serves in various leadership roles...
...Smith's responsibilities will include managing the renovations, which will include installing a central altar, a bishop's chair and a tabernacle to house the Blessed Sacrament.
The modern structure "is not a highly liturgical place in the traditional sense," Catholic leaders have said.
"Yet, the Diocese of Orange considers it a 'clean palette' – while renovations are called for - not much deconstruction would be required and the iconic personality of the original architecture and design would, for the most part, be retained," Catholic leaders said in an earlier announcement.
They particularly praised the imposing organ "as one of the finest in the country," and the quality of light "and its allegory is consistent with the enlightenment of Christ."
"It will be glorious," said Sister Susana Guzman, of the Poor Claire Missionary Sisters in Santa Ana. Celebrations such as Saturday's ordination sometimes require tickets, she said, because the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County don't have a large enough cathedral.
St. Columban is the largest Catholic venue in the county, with about half the number of seats as the cathedral site. The Diocese of Orange is the 10th largest in the nation, Smith said.
At an event last April, Smith was introduced to Schuller, the new head of the Christ Cathedral said in an interview. Schuller told him: "I built the cathedral for Christ. And I know that with the Catholic Church, it will be for Christ."
"It was a very humbling experience," Smith said.
The cathedral, Smith said, has always been a place to praise Jesus Christ: "It's his church."
GARDEN GROVE – Guest Pastor Bobby Schuller cut to the chase when he addressed several hundred congregants gathered at the Crystal Cathedral on Sunday.
"I wasn't supposed to say anything," Schuller said.
But in the past week, the news on the ministry "my grandpa built" has been big.
The bankrupt Crystal Cathedral Ministry announced last Thursday that it will leave its famous campus in June 2013 and move to St. Callistus Catholic Church. And on Saturday, the Catholic Church renamed as Christ Cathedral the glass-paned building and campus the Diocese of Orange bought in a court-ordered sale.
"There's something really sad about it, isn't it there?" Schuller said. "So much of our identity has been wrapped up in this beautiful place."
"How can we survive? Our name is Crystal Cathedral," said the grandson of founder Robert H. Schuller.
"Maybe it was a mistake," he said, to name the ministry after the towering building.
Schuller expressed sadness but said he also felt a "sense of hope."
"The Roman Catholic Church is of the Lord" and will continue to worship Christ at the cathedral, Schuller said.
Meanwhile, Schuller told congregants, the Crystal Cathedral ministry will have its best last year ever before it moves to St. Callistus. And the ministry has this year to make plans for the best year after that for its continued work and its world-renowned Hour of Power television program.
"We need everyone," Schuller said. "We need to do this together."
John Charles, president and CEO of the ministry, called it "a brand new era." During both morning services, Charles referred to embarking on a new adventure but throwing away "some of the old baggage."
The church has undergone tremendous turmoil in recent years, including a family feud about who would lead the ministry and a bankruptcy that included the sale of the campus to the Catholic Church for $57.5 million. The ministry continues to struggle financially. And in recent months, many of the Schullers, including its founders, have separated from the ministry.
"It's like day-to-day. We could certainly use a major donor or two," Bill Bennett, interim executive pastor, said following the Sunday morning services.
The ministry, Bennett said, is paying the Diocese of Orange $116,000 monthly rent since escrow closed February.
In a court agreement with the diocese, the Crystal Cathedral Ministry was offered free rent at St. Callistus for 2012. But before the two religious organizations could switch places, the ministry needed to give a six-month notice to the diocese to terminate its lease on the current campus and a one-year notice to accept the move to St. Callistus, according to Bennett.
The Protestant ministry also has a commitment to its K-12 school to continue through the end of the next school year without any disruptions, Bennett said.
Those were two key reasons why the Crystal Cathedral Ministry chose the June 2013 date for its move, Bennett said.
Lawrence Wilkes, interim senior pastor, told congregants that a small Korean congregation has met regularly at 5:30 a.m. to pray for the Crystal Cathedral. Wilkes said he, too, plans to lead a prayer service for the Crystal Cathedral Monday through Friday at 8 a.m.
"We want prayer for this ministry. We need that," Wilkes said.
Charles also encouraged congregants to support and follow the ministry. "We want to take all of you with us," he said.
Ministry leaders now have a place and date for the move and are working on the transition, Charles said.
Last February, Catholic leaders asked for suggestions to rename the Crystal Cathedral. The Diocese received 4,129 suggestions.
On Sunday, Charles told congregants: "We get to turn the tables on them" and rename St. Callistus. "We've got to pull our own kind of contest, if you will."