The problem-plagued evangelical Crystal Cathedral has finally cut all ties with its once-powerful founding family. The daughter of church patriarch Robert Schuller, the Rev. Sheila Schuller Coleman, announced yesterday that it was her last sermon at the mammoth church that has slid into financial ruin. The Schullers will also no longer have anything to do with the ministry's once tremendously lucrative Hour of Power TV program that reached 2 million viewers at its popularity peak. “This is the last Sunday that we will worship in this building,” Coleman said in the California church. “With the vulnerable economic situation and hostile relationship with the Hour of Power board, the local church has decided that we need to find a new place to worship.” The family's departure marks the end of an era for the church, and for Robert Schuller, once one of the most influential preachers in the nation, notes the New York Times.
Schuller and his wife resigned from the board over the weekend amid an "adversarial atmosphere," and a dispute over payments to him, Schuller said. They were the last family members on the board, which fired another one of Schuller's daughters and two of his sons-in-law last week. A drop-off in interest and falling fortunes led the Crystal Cathedral Ministries to file for bankruptcy in 2010. The Catholic archdiocese of Orange County bought the cathedral this year for $58 million in a deal allowing the ministry to continue operating on the site for three more years. Coleman has now vowed to preach from another location. “This has all happened literally overnight,” she said. “We still don’t know where we’ll be meeting next week. It might be a park. But it will be somewhere.” (Read more Crystal Cathedral Ministries stories.)