Crystal Cathedral raises fraction of cash to stave off sale
By RONALD CAMPBELL and DEEPA BHARATH
09/30/2011 3:47 PM
The Schuller family is coming up far short in its attempt to prevent the sale of the Crystal Cathedral.
A month after announcing a "miracle faith" campaign to raise $50 million by Thanksgiving, the congregation had collected $4,737.
That figure, the total raised as of Aug. 31, was buried in a report filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana. The cathedral will update the report in two to three weeks, attorney Marc Winthrop said.
The Garden Grove landmark owes $50 million to its creditors, who plan to sell it – with or without the founding Schuller family's consent – on Oct. 31.
Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, daughter of founding Pastor Robert Schuller, declared from the pulpit on July 31 that the cathedral was not for sale. She then announced the campaign to repay creditors.
Cathedral spokesman John Charles said the Miracle Faith fund now has "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in it. Charles was unable to provide an amount because the financial committee staff member who had that information was traveling Friday.
Last year, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren was able to raise $2.4 million within a matter of days after making a plea to church members. Warren had asked members for $900,000, but they exceeded it by at least $1.5 million.
The Schullers and their congregation, however, are in a race against a courtroom clock. Although Coleman set a Thanksgiving deadline for raising $50 million, creditors could decide the cathedral's fate weeks earlier.
On Oct. 24 creditors will vote on selling the cathedral, as their attorneys recommend, to get back what they're owed. If they approve that step, the attorneys will recommend a buyer to Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan on Oct. 31. Kwan will decide whether to approve the sale two weeks later, on Nov. 14.
One of the leading bidders, Chapman University, wants the 30-
The other leading bidder, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, wants the cathedral itself. It would let the congregation use the cathedral for a few years and then would help the congregation find new quarters elsewhere.
Chapman is offering $50 million, the diocese $53.6 million.
Chapman proposes to open new programs in dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacology on the cathedral grounds.
The diocese views the 2,800-
It purchased a 15-
The Crystal Cathedral, meanwhile, has issued a call through its website to "Save the Crystal Cathedral," directing those interested to another page where they could make a contribution to the Miracle Faith fund.
Bob Canfield, a member of the Crystal Cathedral congregation who is heading a petition drive to get Coleman and other Schuller daughters out of the ministry, said he and others received a brochure from the cathedral selling porcelain hearts and figurines from the church's "Hour of Power" program to help raise money.
"In my opinion, I don't think they are going to raise the money or are even interested in raising money to save the church," he said.
Canfield said he and many other members of the congregation have approached several well-
"Repeatedly we've asked (the Schuller daughters) about where different monies went – endowments, money from the sale of various properties in Orange County and Hawaii," he said. "But they have always left us in the dark."
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