Re-naming the Crystal Cathedral?

Editorial by: Jim Kirkland, Webmaster for Pens-Opinion

Posted: March 9, 2013

The recent sale of the Crystal Cathedral campus to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has forced many changes including the impending move to a new location. Church leadership is asking members of the congregation to submit possible names for the church at the new location, whether moving to St. Calistus property at the south end of Lewis Street or to a different location, were that possibility to surface.

Some, in leadership and in the congregation at large are suggesting a complete break from the identity of the iconic name, Crystal Cathedral and are in favor of selection of a name with no meaning attached to it, or stated another way, a name that is disassociated with any particular location or associative identity. One example would be a return to “Garden Grove Community Church” which would be ruled out if one were to follow the rational stated above. The reason: “What if we, the congregation only occupied the St. Calistus property (which is in Garden Grove) a short time and later moved the church to a site located Orange, California or elsewhere?”

Crystal Cathedral leadership is asking for suggestions from the congregation as to what the name of the church should be. Suggestions can be telephoned to the church at (714) 971-4000 or can be submitted by email to or

Quite frequently we hear from the Pulpit, “The church is not about the building or the name– it is about the people– the congregation.” In most circumstances this would obviously be true without any further qualification. However, any attempt for this congregation to divorce itself completely from any form of the name “Crystal Cathedral” would, in my opinion result in unanticipated consequences, if not immediately, at some point in time. Leadership has no plans to scrap the corporate name, “Crystal Cathedral Ministries” or the televised church service broadcast name “Hour of Power.”

Consider that the “Hour of Power” broadcast has been on the air continuously for forty-three years and is billed at the longest running religious broadcast without interruption.  Even detractors must admit this is an admirable accomplishment. There is no doubt this was only possible because of the excellence of the message of hope, the musical talent of choir, choir director, orchestra leader and members of the orchestra, and also the talent of television camera, and editing personnel associated with producing a high quality program for the viewers of the Hour of Power. The only detraction or distraction to this admirable record was during the period of destruction during the few years Sheila Schuller Coleman, Gretchen Schuller Penner, were in control with Scott V. Smith’s low quality noise billed as music. However, though Hour of Power viewership took a dive, miraculously it  did  survive  and  bounced  back  with  the  return  to  a  traditional

Service with traditional music.

Almost everyone would agree, the Crystal Cathedral is no “ordinary” church. It is no secret that this ministry is especially high profile, not only in the United States, but also around the world. There is no shortage of media coverage concerning the happenings at this church. Over the course of forty decades plus, this church has occupied its campus at the corner of Chapman Avenue and Lewis Street where an iconic glass church building has been developed into an iconic identity. Moreover, this church building is more than a mere building, it has taken on a congregational identity besides bearing a brand name.

Although the Catholics have renamed the “Crystal Cathedral” to “Christ Cathedral” of which there are many cathedrals with that name, there is only one in the world that was named Crystal Cathedral. That name will linger on over time and be referred to as such.

The congregation is being forced to move from its beloved Crystal Cathedral to a lesser property but that doesn’t mean the association should end there. Admittedly, it would not be possible to move this church to a lesser property and name it “Crystal Cathedral.”  However, it most certainly could bear the name, “Crystal Cathedral Congregation,” thereby severing the association with the iconic building while shifting the name of the iconic building to be associated throughout history with its former congregational occupants.

The slight change in the name to, Crystal Cathedral Congregation also works well with an easy marketing strategy for the Hour of Power. Hence at the beginning of the televised church service, “The Hour of Power from the Crystal Cathedral Congregation.”  What could be better?

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