Sunday, November 28, 2010

Religious Bankruptcy

"Crystal Cathedral officials say their financial woes were brought on by the recession. More than 550 creditors are owed $50 to $100 million, according to bankruptcy documents filed last month.  But insiders and religious experts say the situation is more complicated, and stems from how to best preserve founder Robert H.'s legacy.  The Crystal Cathedral has been battered in recent years as attendance has declined along with donations. That has brought cuts that some believe have reduced the quality of the church's programming and productions.  At the same time, the church has been roiled by family discord that included the very public firing of Robert Anthony Schuller, who had long been seen as the founder's successor, and the ascension of Robert H.'s eldest daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, to the top job.  The church kept expanding, and the spectacular 10,000-pane Crystal Cathedral was dedicated in 1980. "The Glory of Christmas," an extravagant holiday production that attracted thousands, began in 1981. Soon after, the church added an Easter show.  The Christmas production would begin to signify a culture of extravagance within the church: More than a dozen angels in white chiffon flew overhead, professional singers replaced volunteers, and live camels and donkeys took the stage.  "You felt like you were sitting in the middle of a symphony orchestra," said Conwell S. Worthington, who directed the Christmas and Easter pageants from 1983 to 1986"
Source: LA Times

"Religion will become smaller, 'deeper', and more traditional. The megachurch and megamillionaire ministers might have seen "the peak". Hopefully they saved all of those millions from the book deals."
Random Roving, January 1, 2010

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