Calif. Diocese Bids to Buy Crystal Cathedral

Crystal Cathedral
The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., is pictured in an undated handout photo from Crystal Cathedral Ministries. The Diocese of Orange has made a $50 million bid on the worship center, which has served as home to a nondenominational Christian community since it was completed in 1980.

ORANGE, Calif. (CNS) – The Diocese of Orange has made a formal bid of $50 million to buy the Crystal Cathedral complex in Garden Grove, once the home church of the Rev. Robert Schuller, a noted television preacher.
The cathedral property was put up for auction earlier this year as part of the cathedral ministries’ bankruptcy proceedings.
Crystal Cathedral Ministries, founded by Rev. Schuller, who is now retired, filed for bankruptcy last October. It was facing debt amounting to more than $50 million.
Opening in 1980, the 2,900-seat Crystal Cathedral was one of the nation’s first megachurches. It is made up of more than 10,000 panes of glass.
The cathedral “underscores the vitality of faith in our modern society and with our offer we will enable this beacon of faith to continue to influence others as an important place of worship,” Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown said in a statement.
The diocese’s bid was presented to the Crystal Cathedral Ministries board of directors and the organization’s counsel. Under the terms of the cash offer, the diocese would make an immediate deposit of $250,000, followed by a second payment of $750,000.
The diocese said that if Crystal Cathedral Ministries decides it needs to use some of the campus facilities for a period of time, it could lease back an area “at below-market rates.” The diocese added that once that arrangement came to an end, it would help the organization relocate some of its ministries to other diocesan property.
The Orange Diocese does not currently have a cathedral to serve its 1.2 million Catholics. Based on the size of its Catholic population, Orange is the 11th largest diocese in the nation. The diocese covers all of Orange County, which has a total population of three million.
Bishop Brown said in his statement that after consulting a number of lay advisers, the diocese made the formal bid, one “that respects the legacy Rev. Schuller worked so hard to establish. Our offer also clearly accommodates future diocesan needs for a cathedral and modern administrative campus.”
Once its bid is reviewed by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries board of directors, the diocese said, it would be presented to the creditors committee, which is part of any bankruptcy proceeding, and to the bankruptcy court itself.
If accepted by all parties, Bishop Brown said, purchase of the cathedral complex could be finalized by the end of the year.