Crystal Cathedral congregation set for 2013 move

LOS ANGELES Thu Jun 7, 2012 10:21pm EDT

Worshippers depart a church service at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove, California, March 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

Worshippers depart a church service at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove, California, March 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The congregation of Crystal Cathedral, a mega-church once famous for its "Hour of Power" broadcasts, will move to a new location next year under a deal with the Roman Catholic diocese buying its glass-walled house of worship, officials said on Thursday.

The Southern California congregation's move was expected, under the terms of an agreement that saw ownership of the Crystal Cathedral property transferred in a $57.5 million bankruptcy sale the two sides entered into late in 2011.

The Protestant congregation's move one mile away to the building now occupied by St. Callistus Catholic Church in the Orange County suburb of Garden Grove is planned for June 2013, well ahead of the three-year deadline set for the relocation.

The financial woes that befell Crystal Cathedral during a drop in attendance and donations was followed in March by the resignation of televangelist Robert Schuller from the church board in a monetary dispute.

The congregation has sought to start over without Schuller and other members of his family, and church leaders describe the decision on a new site of worship as part of its renewal.

"This is another important step in the revival that has been taking place at the Crystal Cathedral," John Charles, chief executive and president of the church's ministries, said in a statement.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange on Saturday is expected to reveal the new name of the towering Crystal Cathedral site, distinguished for its 10,000 panes of glass, which the diocese plans to turn into a central place of worship for its own expanding flock.

In March, Schuller's daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, led a breakaway congregation in a separation from Crystal Cathedral. Her Hope Center of OC is now holding services at a Marriott Suites hotel, according to her website.

The Crystal Cathedral congregation has retained the "Hour of Power" broadcast, which has attracted millions of television viewers in the decades since Robert Schuller started it in 1970.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Bill Trott)

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