Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Cathedral megachurch files for bankruptcy
The megachurch, birthplace of the "Hour of Power" televangelist broadcast, announced its filing as it struggled to emerge from debt estimated earlier this year at $55 million.
Church spokesman John Charles said the church owes about $7.5 million to a host of vendors for services such as advertising and providing the use of live animals for Easter and Christmas services.
The church was negotiating a payment plan with vendors but several chose to file lawsuits, the church said in a statement.
"We've always believed in a big God ... a God Who is greater than any problem or challenge we could ever face," Sheila Schuller Coleman, the Cathedral's senior pastor, said in the statement. "Our announcement today to file for the protection of Chapter 11 is just one more chapter in the book that He is continuing to write."
The Orange County-based church, founded in the mid-1950s by the Robert H. Schuller Sr., earlier this year ordered major layoffs. It also cut the number of stations airing the "Hour of Power" and sold property to stay afloat.
In addition, the 10,000-member church canceled this year's "Glory of Easter" pageant, which attracts thousands of visitors and is a regional holiday staple.
The church was founded at a drive-in theater and attracted congregants with its sermons on the power of positive thinking. Its worship hall features a soaring glass spire that opened in 1970 and remains an architectural wonder and tourist destination.
The "Hour of Power" telecast, filmed in the cathedral's main sanctuary, at one point attracted 1.3 million viewers in 156 countries.
Church leaders said the Crystal Cathedral's Sunday services and weekly-telecast "Hour of Power" will continue while in bankruptcy.
The church also said recent financial reports show good cash flow, but the financial woes were triggered by a drop in revenue in 2009 due to the recession.
The church saw revenue drop 27 percent from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009. Leaders had projected an 18 percent revenue decline.
Other megachurches have also suffered from the downturn and reduced charitable giving.
at 11:04 AM