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Pastor of Crystal Cathedral to hold services in a theater in Orange

Sheila Schuller Coleman, daughter of the founder of the Garden Grove church, invites congregants to attend services with her Sunday at an AMC multiplex in Orange.

March 16, 2012|By Steve Marble, Los Angeles Times
  • Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman sits with Pastor Harold Shaw during her last sermon at the Crystal Cathedral on Sunday.
Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman sits with Pastor Harold Shaw during… (Arkasha Stevenson, Los…)

The daughter of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller announced Thursday that she would conduct services for her own breakaway church in an Orange County movie theater, complete with popcorn and candy.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, who inherited the Crystal Cathedral pulpit from her father, told congregants during Sunday's services that she was leaving the ministry her father founded and invited them to follow her to a new church.

That church, it turns out, will be Theater 15 at the AMC multiplex at the Outlets at Orange.

"The whole family is welcome to come and join for a morning of coffee, popcorn and praise!" Schuller Coleman said in an email.

Schuller Coleman's announcement Sunday marked the end of an era for the first family of an international ministry that spread its word during flamboyant services and through the "Hour of Power" television program.

The elder Schuller and his wife last weekend quit the international board overseeing the ministry, now bankrupt, that he started more than half a century ago. The Schuller children and in-laws were earlier sacked as producers of the "Hour of Power."

Schuller commended his daughter for her decision but said he would not be joining her in her new church, Hope Center of Christ. Neither, he said, would he be worshiping at the Crystal Cathedral.

Services at the Crystal Cathedral will continue as usual, with a guest minister filling in this Sunday.

Congregants have said they feel torn about whether to continue worshiping at an architecturally spectacular church that has long been home, or following the daughter of the man who for decades was the face and voice of that church.

Schuller Coleman remained upbeat in her message to would-be congregants.

"I love the family friendly feel of the location. You walk in and smell popcorn. I am excited to say that the concession stands will be open," she said. Children of all ages can feel free to enjoy their popcorn, coffee and candy as we worship the Lord."

The decision to hold her inaugural services in a theater may have been a natural for Schuller Coleman. Her father started his ministry in a drive-in theater in 1955. It was also in Orange.

She said the theater is a temporary home.

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