Mega Crystal Meltdown Redux
The past tumultuous few years for the Crystal Cathedral have included the retirement (and un-retirement, then subsequent re-retirement) of the Schuller pater familias; the son's inheriting the family business only to be replaced by his sister (his sister!); the church's filing for bankruptcy—a process that exposed both the nepotistic hiring practices and high salaries enjoyed by church employees—and a recent "covenant" that looked to outside observers like a ploy to root out gay men and lesbians from the choir and church orchestra. And now the Crystal Cathedral has entered into an agreement to sell its property in order to exit bankruptcy and pay off the $50 million debt it has amassed.
It's not exactly clear from recent reports how the sale of the property will actually be consummated or how it will net the amount of money necessary to pay off all of the organization's creditors. The church has apparently worked out a deal to sell the property for $46 million to a Newport Beach developer, who will then lease it back to the church for $212,000 per month. The church can eventually re-purchase the property within the next four years for $30 million. Somebody is going to lose money on this deal, although it is not exactly clear who that might be at this point. An in-depth investigation of the church's finances, including how this real estate deal is structured and who is involved, would be an excellent place for reporters to begin digging into the big business of the Crystal Cathedral and other megachurches whose eras may be coming to an end.
Read the whole post at Trans-missions, the USC Knight Chair in Media and Religion blog.