Richard Flory, CRCC director of research, was quoted in a report by NPR on the recent sale of the infamous Crystal Cathedral to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County.
The Crystal Cathedral, an temple of glass in Garden Grove, Calif. that was $50 million in debt earlier this year, will be sold to the Catholic Church. The diocese will pay $57.5 million to use the iconic building, made of 10,000 panes of glass, and help Robert H. Schuller, Sr.’s megachurch emerge from bankruptcy protection.
The iconic glass building once housed congregants of Schuller’s church and became an icon during his “Hour of Power” TV program. Schuller started the Southern California ministry as a drive-in church in the 1950s under the auspices of the Reformed Church in America. Decades later, the church evolved into an international televangelism empire and erected its now-famous building.
“But in the end, it’s about living beyond your means,” Flory told NPR.
The church had enormous costs in maintaining the building and the services, which included professional musicians and a yearly Christmas pageant that cost $2 million. At the same time, Flory says, the Crystal Cathedral did not adapt to the times.
“They stuck with a particular model of what church was supposed to be and sound and feel like, and I think generationally people started to look for other things,” he says.