Crystal Cathedral confusion

You might remember some reports earlier this month that the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in California had ousted the Rev. Robert H. Schuller from its board and before the reports seemed to backtrack. We have a new report today from the Associated Press that the Crystal Cathedral has restored the voting rights of its founder on the church’s governing board. Unfortunately, the early report tells us very little about the decision, offering us about this much:

Spokesman John Charles said Wednesday that the church, which produces the televangelist show the “Hour of Power,” has restored Schuller as a voting member after removing that right earlier this month. The ministry also announced the addition of five members to the board.

The AP is great at breaking news, but hopefully we will see an update. It’s slightly confusing why the initial report did not include why the founder of the church was removed from voting and why he was reinstated. Maybe reporters are still working that out. Was there a misunderstanding? Why were his voting privileges removed and then reinstated?

The LA Times was one of the outlets in early July to write about the “ousting.”

Jim Coleman, president of Crystal Cathedral and the husband of Schuller’s daughter, declined to comment when reached by telephone Sunday night. Coleman’s wife, Sheila Schuller Coleman, took control of the church more than two years ago, marking a family schism that has dogged the ministry, culminating in its bankruptcy.

Several long-time church members and officials said Sunday that they found Robert H. Schuller’s departure from the board startling — and an unsettling reminder that the church’s leadership and finances are in chaos.

Then the same outlet released a follow-up report saying that the church leaders said they did not remove him from the board.

“He [Robert H. Schuller] was not voted off the board,” said John Charles, the Garden Grove church spokesman. “He is still board chairman emeritus.”

The church released its statement a day after Schuller’s son, Robert Anthony Schuller, said his 84-year-old father had been ousted because he had proposed adding new members to the board.

…The Times reported Schuller’s new non-voting position June 19.

In Monday’s statement, Charles said the move will free up Schuller’s time for more speaking engagements and a writing project: “He will also continue to speak in the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral and on the ‘Hour of Power’ and meet with staff in creative and vision-casting meetings.”

So did the church decide Schuller doesn’t need his time freed up? What’s going on? I don’t see anything from the LA Times yet on this development, but let us know if you see updates.

We have seen a lot of confusing reports about the church in recent years, with the potential sale of its building, its controversial covenant, the schism between father/son, its transition to Schuller’s daughter, its Latino revival, financial challenges, etc.

One of Orange County’s major megachurches seems to continue to struggle under financial challenges and leadership transitions, and this is one piece to the larger puzzle.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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