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$50 million offer for Crystal Cathedral

July 30, 2011 | 6:43 pm

A Norco-based church has filed papers in federal bankruptcy court saying it will pay $50 million in cash for the financially troubled Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove on the condition that family members of cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller and staff members resign from the organization’s board of directors.

A letter and plan filed by My Father's House Church International is one of several proposals offered to the cathedral’s board of directors, which was reorganized this week. On Saturday, Crystal Cathedral spokesman John Charles said he did not believe the proposal was “a viable plan.”

According to a letter of intent filed Thursday, the Norco church would accept resignations from all Schuller family members and their bankruptcy lawyers if the proposal were accepted.

“There will be a respectful transition that allows everyone to leave with dignity, so everyone wins,” said founding Pastor Mark A. Thomas, who leads the church with his wife, Kimberley.

My Father's House Church broadcasts a twice-a-week program called “Latter Day Kings,” which officials say draws at least 10,000 viewers. The church would also set up an escrow fund to repay the cathedral’s debts, using 75% of donations received monthly.

The letter said that the “current church administration is perceived as self-serving.”

“A church can never prosper as a business once it has lost the trust and support of its “parishioners,” the letter read.

Thomas said in a phone interview Saturday that his church would evaluate staff members through the period of transition.

“We’re not coming in to hit people on the head and say goodbye on the first day,” he said.

He said that Robert H. Schuller will continue to be honored. “It is not a cut-off of what Dr. Schuller has done, it’s a continuation,” he said.

A bankruptcy hearing before Judge Robert Kwan is scheduled for Aug. 1 in Santa Ana.

--Nicole Santa Cruz

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