Thinking Out Loud

May 5, 2012

Crystal Cathedral: Cast of Characters

This is St. Callistus Catholic Church, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which just bought the Crystal Cathedral, and a possible future home for the present Crystalites. Confused? I hoped you would be; that’s why you really need to read this article

Apparently some of you are bewildered, as you have every right to be; so here, as a public service, is your guide to who’s who in the ongoing story; and a refresher for those of you who know.

[Note: Some of this may be less than reliable.]

Robert H. in happier times

Robert H. Schuller is the founder of Garden Grove Community Church which later became better known as The Crystal Cathedral.  His self help messages are known for short rhyming catch-phrases like, “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch;” “It takes guts to get out of the ruts;” and “If it bleeds it leads.” (Maybe not the last one.)  He is married to Arvella, whose contribution to Hour of Power includes rewriting classic hymns so as to contain less emphasis on the blood of Jesus and more emphasis on possibility thinking. (“What can wash away my sins? Elbow grease and much detergent…”)  Robert H. is no longer active in ministry; we’re not sure what he does on Sunday mornings currently, but it may involve sitting at home and watching Joel Osteen.

Hour of Power is the broadcast ministry of the church.  These days, it is actually the Half-Hour of Power. TV stations carrying the program now require prepayment, not unlike self-serve gas stations which after midnight want to run your MasterCard first.

The Crystal Cathedral itself was recently sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.  That’s Orange as in Orange County, California; not a reference to the Orange Lodge, which is decisively Protestant. “Now the building will be a true cathedral;” people were heard to say. How dare Protestants use the word “cathedral” when it isn’t.  Apparently in order to use the word, there must be a bishop’s chair, or bishop’s throne.  The furniture at the big glass church on Lewis Street was apparently lacking as the money for chairs was spent on the fountain.  Over the last few weeks, the church has experienced a bit of revival in terms of attendance; which is rather unfortunate timing.

Robert A. Schuller, sometimes referred to as Robert Anthony is the son of Arvella and Robert H. He is married to Donna, who sometimes reads this blog, so we’re going to tread carefully with this paragraph. In 2009, after unceremoniously leaving the Crystal Cathedral in a controversy involving his rather annoying habit of preaching from the Bible, he became chair of Comstar, a media company that has been slowly buying other media companies including FamilyNet and American Life TV, the latter now known as YouToo (a name often easily confused with that other popular site, Facebook) which combines elements broadcast television with video uploading. (Correction: YouToo is actually always confused with Pinterest.) Last week, for the first time in years, Robert A. showed up at Crystal Cathedral after getting lost on the freeway while heading for Calvary Chapel.

A room at the Anaheim Marriott. The ballroom is believed to be much larger.

Sheila Coleman Schuller is the eldest daughter of Robert H. and Arvella.  (They have three other daughters.) She often gets confused with pop singer Sheila E. The former early childhood education specialist became lead pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, proving that you really don’t need much in the way of theological training to pastor a megachurch. (See yesterday’s post here.) Last week, nearly 100 people showed up to hear her preach at her new venture, Hope Center of Christ, or as the cool people say, Hope Center OC; which meets downstairs at the Panda House Restaurant on Harbor Blvd.  Okay, just kidding, they really meet in the Crystal (there’s that word again) Ballroom of the Marriott Suites Hotel.

Disneyland is a theme park located just blocks away in Anaheim, California.  It has no bearing on this article.

Bobby Schuller is actually Bobby V. Schuller, with the V. for Vernon, son of Robert A. and Donna.  Continuing the family tradition, he has a Masters in Divinity from Fuller and pastors Tree of Life, sometimes referred to, as in this blog, as The Gathering, where you can watch sermons online.  He is our last hope. (I don’t know what that means, I just thought the sentence fit in well at that point.)  He is also associated with The St. Patrick Project, whose mission is thus described at this page: “We care for the homeless, mentor kids, help feed the hungry, and support the arts. We encourage hope.”  He showed up at big glass church last week sporting a new haircut.

Angie Schuller Wyatt is also important to this story, but this has taken far more time than I had expected.

Anthony Schuller, son of Robert A. has not posted anything to his blog since February, 2010, and is believed have changed his last name to Zaguenni. He is pursuing a career in international missions so he can get far, far away from Orange County. In the meantime, you might find him catching some rays at Laguna Beach.

Well, I hope that helped you on this Saturday morning as much as it helped me stay away from garage sales, swap meets and flea markets.  If you have any questions, check with the Orange County Register, they have all the answers.


Important trivia to know:  American Life TV was once owned by the Unification Church, aka The Moonies.  source As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up.

Even more important: The five manual organ at the big glass church, with its 16,061 pipes, is the largest in the world. source  If you push the button labeled “Doublette 2′ ” the organ starts playing the song Never Gonna Give You Up with baroque accompaniment.

10 Comments »

  1. Jesus is a good racket.

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Matthew 7:22

    Just saying

    Or rather, He said it.

    Comment by vikingz2000 — May 5, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  2. Very informative, probably accurate, and a little more humorous than I expect out of Paul Wilkinson. This post has a certain random quality to it (which I enjoy).

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 5, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

  3. Its surprising how muxh has come up regarding this church. It being bought by a catholic church is absurd. but i dont mind calling it a ‘Cathedral”. Who says that everything should be like this or like that???? MAN! No body knows but only God himself all these things we put into the churches and the way we decide to build them are human/manly ways so we should not criticise.
    ONLY GOD KNOWS.
    I don’t mind their preaching either as long as the message is there, there’s nothing wrong.

    Comment by Grace — May 6, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  4. I am convinced megachurches implode on the back of mega ego/greedy humans. It is sad to see good people hurting and hurting others. Disagreements have no beginning and will continue…may our loving heavenly father forgive our prayerlessness, wherein lies solutions by the great problem solver.c

    Comment by AKA OLbonty — May 7, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  5. Reblogged this on John's spaces and commented:
    Wanna know more about Schuller’s family in “Hour of Power”? Read it.

    Comment by J&J — June 25, 2012 @ 10:42 am

  6. I don’t think Bobby is the son of Robert A. and Donna; I believe he is the son of Robert A. and his first wife as is Angie. Anthony and Christina are the children of Robert A. and Donna.

    Comment by lori — August 4, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    • I’ll check the text in the article and make a correction if necessary because I think you’re right. I wasn’t remembering that RAS was married twice. This post was actually written that day in a hurry when something else didn’t work out!!

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — August 4, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  7. so continues the saga of Dr. Bob and his greenhouse.

    Comment by Mark Titzkowski — March 14, 2013 @ 2:09 am

  8. What a derogatory piece of writing. Schuller built his positivity ministry and expanded it over 50+ yrs globally helping massive nos. of people along the way. He inspired me and helped me get to where I could find solace in passages from the bible which I had no interest in before. Visiting and participating in the Chrystal Cathedral services has been a ‘bucket list’ ambition. What a vision he had, what a magnificent dream that he made a reality. This man and his family are cherished so much by so many. He worked so hard all his life. Now he is in his 80′s and retired he has to fight for his retirement so let’s all trash him why don’t we?

    Comment by Tigressnsnow — June 29, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    • Thank you, Tigressnsnow. I grew up listening to Dr. Schuller on TV long before the Crystal Cathedral. I love the positive message that God loves us rather than we are damned. I will admit I was not a fan of his daughter preaching. I do like Bobby’s preaching so I am back to watching it as I don’t live in CA. Dr. Schuller helped untold numbers of people around the globe. Why can’t people remember all the good that was done? God bless the Hour of Power. May Bobby continue his grandfathers wonderful work and love through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

      Comment by Penny — October 20, 2013 @ 2:56 pm


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