HolyCoast: Schuller Family Bloodbath at Crystal Cathedral

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Schuller Family Bloodbath at Crystal Cathedral

Schuller family members are getting fired right and left at the big glass church:
Three family members of Crystal Cathedral Founder Robert H. Schuller were fired from their leadership positions in the ministry, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Schuller’s daughter, Gretchen Penner, was terminated from her job as one of the producers of the Hour of Power television show, according to a cathedral spokesman. Her husband, Jim Penner, was fired from his post as executive producer of the Hour of Power. And Jim Coleman, the husband of Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, was also fired from his job as director of creative services.

Robert H. Schuller and his wife Arvella abstained from voting with the board on the terminations, according to the spokesman. “So this isn’t a family dispute,” he said.

Sheila Schuller Coleman is expected to give the sermon this Sunday. ...

This is the latest shake-up for the troubled ministry. Last month, Schuller Coleman was removed as the chief executive officer and president of the Ministries and replaced by (John) Charles, who had previously held different positions with the Cathedral.

At the time, Cathedral leaders removed both Schuller Coleman and Penner from the board of directors, but Penner continued in his role overseeing the television program.

The board voted Thursday to fire the Penners and Jim Coleman, the spokesman said. The Penners were told on Monday and Coleman was told Tuesday, according to the spokesman.

Last month, the Catholic Diocese of Orange bought the church’s 40-acre campus but is allowing the congregation to lease back the property for up to three years. The Orange County megachurch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2010.

Donations have dwindled and attendance at Sunday services has decreased from thousands of congregants to hundreds.

What this all means for the future of the cathedral is uncertain.

Robert A. Schuller, the senior pastor for nearly three years until his forced resignation in 2008, sees the changes in leadership as a smart move.

“It’s normal business practice to change leadership when the leadership leads an institution into bankruptcy,” Schuller said Tuesday. “My hope is it will breathe some life into the ministry.”
I read somewhere else that donations in February were down 68%. That kind of hit isn't going to be survivable if it continues.

This is the risk you run when a ministry has been focused around one person. Once Founding Pastor Robert Schuller began to back out of the pulpit and whole enterprise began to go downhill. Unfortunately, they didn't have the kind of depth on their bench they needed to sustain the ministry, and because everything was basically family held, dissenting voices were not allowed.

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