If you want to talk about excess, Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California takes the cake. Their website’s slogan is “Saving lives through a message of hope,” but right now they’re looking to save their own behinds. This extravagant megachurch is best known for the Hour of Power, a televangelist program, and is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The Crystal Cathedral, which looks more like a futuristic office building than a place of worship, filed documents yesterday in Santa Ana, California at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and listed assets and debts between $50 million and $100 million. Aside from the $36 million mortgage, Crystal Cathedral owes $7.5 million to a long list of vendors including one that provided live animals for the Christmas and Easter services. Lavish much?
In a statement, Senior Paster Sheila Schuller Coleman said, “We are pleased to report that the current Ministry outreach and operations will continue while we address the past due expenses that were incurred in 2009, when budgets could not be cut fast enough to keep up with the unprecedented rapid decline in revenue due to the recession.”
And when filing for bankruptcy, what is the best course of action? Well, to blame someone else! Crystal Cathedral blames the recession and their creditors for being $43 million in debt. Crystal Cathedral Ministries claims they have a congregation of over 3,000 members and well over one million viewers for the Hour of Power. So why couldn’t these loyal followers throw in a few bucks to help out the bankruptcy situation?
The church seems to be moving in the right direction, though. “What we’re doing now is we’re trying to walk what we preach, we’re paying cash for things as we go,” says Jim Penner, church pastor and Hour of Power executive producer.