Hanging a For Sale sign on the doors of Crystal Cathedral

It’s come down to crunch time for the Schullers. The name of a potential buyer is set to be released on October 31st.

Among the top contenders for the church campus are the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which is offering $53.6 million in cash, followed by Chapman University, which increased its offer to $50 million from $46 million. Other known offers are from Newport Beach-based Greenlaw Partners LLC, My Father’s House Church International in Norco and Hobby Lobby.

Chapman University’s proposal would allow Crystal Cathedral Ministries to buy back some core buildings on the campus, which would help keep the ministry alive. But if the diocese takes over the campus, the ministry must move to a different location.

Creditors are in a tizzy over the news, since the sale of property means at least some of them will finally get some long-overdue bills settled. Back in July, the Schullers thought they’d still be able keep the buildings and 40 acre grounds if they could raise the $50 million in time for Thanksgiving but, surprise surprise, their fans were just as tapped out as everyone else in the country/world and they wound up getting less than $200,000 in spite of all the effort.

The rest of the article focuses mostly on people remembering better days when the church was flush and would burn through oodles of cash without worry on quality music and dramatic entertainment for their yearly pageants. It’s bad of me to laugh at this next part but you know me:

Marc Riley, the former music director who resigned about three weeks ago, said the Crystal Cathedral in its glory days was “an icon of tradition.”

“I respect every musician who has ever played there,” he said. “Every Sunday felt like an adventure. It was exciting. We were like a rock band, and we all had our roles.”

Neuen said he was touched and humbled when he found out that the cathedral’s music was what soldiers in Iraq chose to listen to on their MP3 players as they fought insurgents.

“It was truly a worldwide church,” he said. “Sometimes in life, you can’t go back in time. But you can never take the memories away.”

True enough on the memories, at least. Those whose lives were touched by their ministry remain supportive and proud that they were part of something so influential. It had a good run across its 30 years but they made the same mistakes everyone else made in terms of assuming good times would continue indefinitely. Maybe they’ll still manage to live up to Dr. Shuller’s classic words, regardless: Tough Times Never Last, but Tough People Do!

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