Crystal Cathedral Holds Out for Miracle Despite Accepting University Bid

Robert H. Schuller
Robert H. Schuller (AP Images/Kevork Djansezian)

The bidding is over. A bankruptcy court will soon give the title deed of the megachurch campus Robert H. Schuller built to Chapman University—barring a financial miracle.

Although Crystal Cathedral’s board chose the university as its preferred buyer in a deal that would bring in $50 million to pay off creditors and allow the church to lease the Garden Grove, Calif., property, the ministry is still believing God for a multimillion-dollar breakthrough.

“Nothing is final until Nov. 14!” said Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman, senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral congregation. “We continue to pray, believe and stand behind our 'Jeremiah 29:11 plan,' which we submitted to the court—'For I know the plans that I think toward you, says the Lord, plans of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope'—even though our board has had to reluctantly vote to accept a plan due to the deadlines required by the court.”

Dante Gebel, pastor of Crystal Cathedral Hispanic Church, agrees with Coleman. He believes God is in control and is orchestrating everything. And he refuses to think the situation has escaped from God’s hands.

“The Hispanic church of the Crystal Cathedral is the fastest-growing Spanish-speaking [church] in the United States,” Gebel said. “If God brought His presence and hundreds of souls have reached salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ here, that means that the mission is being fulfilled. And as far as everything else is concerned, God has already prepared a solution, you can be sure of that. I have known God for 43 years and He has never failed.”

Crystal Cathedral members are also standing in faith. Kent Smirl, congregation member for more than 12 years who recently returned from a mission trip to an Ensenada house build with the church, believes the Lord’s will is directing them.

Smirl said: “We have faith in His decision to guide this ministry and that a miracle will come about that will affirm the great work that Dr. Schuller has begun here so it can continue to a new generation.”

Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan set the next hearing for Nov. 14. At that time, Crystal Cathedral must either pay its debtors, confirm a buyer or continue through bankruptcy proceedings.

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