I’ve already blogged about problems at the Schuller family’s Garden Grove, CA megachurch. The once-shining Crystal Cathedral continues to grow a bit dimmer … financially and, to a lesser degree, spiritually. The Orange County Register reports on its continued decline (WebCite cached article):

Crystal Cathedral, the megachurch founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, is laying off employees, will sell property in south Orange County, cut its “Hour of Power” broadcasts and cancel its “Glory of Easter” pageant this year to make up for an unprecedented 27 percent decline in revenue last year, officials said today.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, who was appointed the megachurch’s leader by her father, the older Schuller, issued a podcast through the Cathedral’s Web site saying they have had to make several tough decisions as a result of the economic crisis.

The series of “tough decisions,” she said, were made by the cathedral’s International Board of Trustees.

Especially troubling to Coleman is not the layoff of employees, who — living as they do in southern California — will have a hard time finding new jobs … but rather the loss of the precious “Glory of Easter” show:

Coleman said she had tears in her eyes when she heard the board’s decision to temporarily suspend “The Glory of Easter,” the pageant that depicts the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ with flying angels, special effects and a live animal parade.

Yes, the loss of a pageant this year is definitely far worse than the possible financial ruin of a few dozen families. (Of course, I mean that sarcastically.)

The degree to which the recession has caused the Crystal Cathedral’s revenues to collapse, is not all that certain. For a few years there’s been some family infighting in the congregation’s leadership, as the OC Register goes on to mention (and they’re reported on it in the past):

The cathedral has seen turbulent times since the departure of Robert A. Schuller, the son of the elder Schuller, who left the megachurch and the “Hour of Power” broadcasts in the midst of a highly publicized family feud [cached article] between his four sisters and their respective spouses. The younger Schuller joined hands with his son-in-law Chris Wyatt and is now part of Dallas-based American Life Network, a television channel that aims to produce family-oriented programming.

The infighting has alienated some congregants and helped drive down donations, at a time when they’re already running low.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,