A $50 million fundraising drive to spare Dr. Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral from the auction block has fallen short.
A month after announcing a “miracle faith” campaign to raise the millions owed to creditors, the congregation has collected $4,737.
“That figure, the total raised as of August 31, was buried in a report filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana,” reports Ronald Campbell and Deepa Bharath writing for the Orange County Register newspaper. “The cathedral will update the report in two to three weeks, attorney Marc Winthrop said.
“Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, daughter of founding Pastor Robert Schuller, declared from the pulpit on July 31 that the cathedral was not for sale. She then announced the campaign to repay creditors.”
Cathedral spokesman John Charles told the Register the Miracle Faith fund now has “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in it — which would still be short of the $50 million needed. Charles told the Register he was was unable to provide an amount because the financial committee staff member who had that information was traveling and unavailable.
The bankruptcy sale of the glass-walled Garden Grove, California, building known for its “Hour of Power” broadcasts, has touched off a bidding war between its neighbor, Chapman University, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County.
The university says it wants the 30-acre campus for new dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacology programs — and is willing to lease back and eventually resell the cathedral, but not the surrounding buildings, to the congregation.
The diocese wants the cathedral itself. A spokesman has said they would let the congregation use the cathedral for a few years, but then would help the congregation find a home elsewhere.
Chapman is offering $50 million, the diocese $53.6 million.
The Garden Grove landmark owes $50 million to its creditors, who plan to sell it – with or without the founding Schuller family’s consent. The board of creditors responsible for facilitating payment of the debts will reportedly hold a vote on Oct. 24 to decide on selling the property.
Other interested buyers reportedly include the owners of the Hobby Lobby store chain and a church in nearby Norco, My Father’s House International Church.