[文摘] Crystal Cathedral at Southern California declares bankrupcy

Source:1) http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2010/oct/22/crystal-cathedral-tilts-on-the-edge-of-disaster/ 2) http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700075595/Crystal-Cathedral-in-touch-with-past-but-needs-better-future.html 3) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304011604575565060738315760.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

簡介:上世紀中以停車場「露天」車內敬拜(drive-in worship)而聞名並興旺的南加州「水晶主教座堂」(Crystal Cathedral),曾經是北美「超級教會」(megachurch)的代表,在本月中宣告破產。以下圖文為來自各新聞網頁內容的取材編輯。

For decades, evangelist Robert H. Schuller‘s message of faith and positive thinking reached millions nationwide through his « Hour of Power » television show, broadcast from his towering glass church known as the Crystal Cathedral.

“What [Schuller] was preaching was seen as pretty heretical to a traditional religious worldview at the time. But it worked because that’s where [the post-WWII] society was.”— Scott Thumma, sociologist of religion at the Hartford Institute of Religion Research

Today, those who have watched the church’s fortunes decline believe Schuller (and his children) failed to attract younger people. The ill-fated attempt to turn the church over to Schuller’s son, Robert A. Schuller Jr. also led many old worshipers to leave the church. (Old Schuller’s daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, now presides as pastor. He himself, 84, still preaches occasionally.)

The church has recently joined sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and offers the Spanish and Arabic services, a high school, self-help counseling, youth groups, a sleek visitors’ center and a cemetery, but those changes may have been too late except for accumulating outsize expenses.

Citing declining donations and $48 million in debt, Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving a trail of hundreds of unpaid creditors from California to Washington, D.C.

Schuller has told the congregation the church’s survival « depends upon new people joining, making commitments and becoming members of this ministry by their financial support.

But there’s always a fine line people have to walk. Want to gain new members and want to do more to keep the older members? It is hard to get both- and plus some just want it to stay exactly the way it is.

Church leaders blame their predicament almost entirely on the recession. In 2009, Crystal Cathedral saw its revenue fall 29% to $18.8 million from $26.6 million in 2008, according to court documents. Church leaders note that giving has increased in 2010, but expenses still exceed revenue.

Besides donations, they used to generate incomes by selling tickets for holiday pageants that feature live animals, hundreds of performers and live music, running gift shops that display Christian-themed articles and consumer products, and leasing the Cathedral for weddings and other big events. Now their business is just as silent as their Sunday morning service (Rev 18:11). Eventually Crystal dug a financial grave themselves.

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