As the Crystal Cathedral tries to find its footing without any members of founder Robert H. Schuller’s family at the helm, the only son and one-time successor says “sibling rivalry” played a key role in the California megachurch’s decline.
“They didn’t want to be accountable to me, their brother,” said Robert A. Schuller, the church’s former senior pastor, of his sisters and brothers-in-law, some of who were board members and ministry staffers. He chalked it up to “sibling rivalry.”
“So they took steps into their own hands to make sure that they had job security.”
In an interview Monday (March 19), Robert A. Schuller, 57, said his siblings took advantage of his father’s signs of dementia and halted the younger Schuller’s 2006 succession to his father’s ministry within two years. He left the gleaming megachurch in 2008.
The onetime heir apparent said the memory of his 85-year-old father has been failing for at least 10 years.
“My sisters were able to manipulate that because of his mental capacities,” said Schuller, now co-owner of YouToo TV, a television and social media network. “It was the demise of the ministry.”
Family members could not immediately be reached for comment. Schuller’s parents recently resigned from the ministry they founded more than 50 years ago over financial disputes with the board.
Their daughter, former Crystal Cathedral Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, started a new church in an Orange, Calif., movie theater on Sunday (March 18) and it is scheduled to meet at a nearby hotel for the next four weeks.
Schuller said the ministry his father led was able to thrive without the glass-walled building for which it became known, and its prime years began in the 1970s, before the large edifice was dedicated. He thinks business decisions to focus on the “Hour of Power” television show and to not have an independent board led to the ministry’s decline.
But he nevertheless believes both Coleman’s new congregation and the current congregation at the cathedral — which had a significantly larger attendance last Sunday than the week before when his sister was still there — could continue.
The cathedral worshippers will have to move within three years after the megachurch campus was sold in bankruptcy proceedings to the Catholic Diocese of Orange, Calif. “I think there’s definitely a potential there for a congregation to survive without the Crystal Cathedral,” he said. “The congregation is the people. It’s not the building.”
The above came from a March 22 story on Religious News Service
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 1:07 AM By 1abqdad I knew Rev. Schuller in the mid to late 70’s. While I disagreed with him in terms of doctrine, I respected him as an honest and honorable man. His son when through the classic rejection of his father as we often see with the sons of pastors. (Hence the reason that it is best for priests to NOT marry…It is NOT in the best interest of the children for it is impossible to serve BOTH ministries! Paul understood this!) Anyway, I think that the weakness of the organization and leadership structure of protestant churches makes then “ripe for takeover” by greedy people. (Which is the truth in this case!) Too many parishes have gone in the “protestant” direction in terms of parish administration, and the resulting potential for mismangement has destroyed them! In the protestant model, the board, which often contains people who are NOT ordained or even poorly trained in theology or doctrine, yet they have total control over the teaching of the pastor! I have witnessed some really dispicable actions on the part of the “Vatican II” boards. In many cases, I witnessed blatant misuse of funds when they voted on purchases/contracts. (Over-paid friends or family to provide services to the church!) It is becoming the norm at many Catholic Churches! In one case, a highly qualified merchant offered a sound system for ONE HALF the amount the paid the “winner” of the bid! When their selection was questioned, we were told that they would only respond to questions from the bishop!!! (Ultimately, they had to “trash” the new, expensive system because it failed to perform and never got a refund!) Our church leaders have in many cases failed God’s demand that they behave beyond reproach. Unless the church leaders change public perception, they will become moot…and lose any ability to spread God’s Word or protect the legitimacy of God’s Church.
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 3:38 AM By Abeca Christian ya ya ya whatever….they lived a wealthy lifestyle as well I’m sure!
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 6:30 AM By MacDonald Yet ANOTHER good reason for priestly celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church. In the bad old days, priests would try to pass on their parish and its revenue to their sons, as if it were some private fiefdom, rather than a true religious vocation. “In 1074 Pope Gregory VII (aka Pope Hildebrand) published an encyclical, absolving the people from their obedience to bishops who allowed married priests. The next year he enjoined them to take action against married priests, and deprived these clerics of their revenues. Both the campaign against priestly marriage and that against simony provoked widespread resistance.”
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 8:09 AM By JMJ In our area, we had a very beautiful man that led and built an Assembly of God church, only to get voted out by the younger people as his version of the Holy Spirit wasn’t as lively as they wanted, and he lost his job and home because of them; which gives me another reason to be so thankful that I belong to the one and only True Church; the Roman Catholic (not the American) Church. Here in Fitchburg, Mass. we had 8 churches (I can see one from my window) and Bishop McManus (this same Bishop that dis invited Kennedy’s wife from speaking at a ‘Catholic’ college, shut down 4 of our churches, including the mother church, which has caused great pains to very many people, but, at least, we didn’t lose our buildings because of sibling problems, but, only because of lazy ‘catholics’ that quit going to Mass. +JMJ+
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 9:42 AM By Catherine Rev. Schuller’s son says, “My sisters were able to manipulate that because of his mental capacities.” That statement from Rev. Schuller’s own son leaves many with this question. Who else has been manipulating statements? Rev. Schuller’s son has stated that his father has been showing signs of dementia for the past ten years. Why then would John F. Maguire write, “as I wrote on this website at CCD Dec. 12, 3:14 PM, that the Crystal Cathedral remain a church within Christendom was the ardent wish of it’s founding pastor and the Bishop of the Diocese of Orange, Tod. D. Brown concurred in Rev. Schuller’s judgement. How can Bishop Brown concur with someone’s judgement when they are suffering from dementia? What other manipulations have been worked out to silence the truth regarding this purchase?
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 11:24 AM By todd Sibling rivalry, father-son tensions, married priests, church closings, all are just man-made side issues distracting us Catholics from what really matters – a personal relationship with Jesus. He is primary, the church is secondary. I love both.
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 12:58 PM By Maryanne Leonard Catherine, dementia can be seen as being on a continuum, and a person can still think and hold reasonable discussions at all the early and some mid-points along the way. My own father, a certified genius with an IQ in the 180’s, suffered from Parkinson’s Disease toward the end of his life and asked me which of us was older, my brother or myself. I was the elder by 8 years and had been the main caretaker of my brother, so the question surprised me. But he remained intelligent, of course, and would not have appeared demented to outsiders at first blush. That sort of thing may be the case with the elder Rev. Schuller.
Posted Monday, April 02, 2012 1:05 PM By k Mr. Maguire has not posted here in weeks and there is no reason to comb the archives looking for something he said to criticize.