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APNewsBreak: Crystal Cathedral makes deep cuts

APNewsBreak: Crystal Cathedral makes deep cuts

The Southern California megachurch founded by televangelist Robert H. Schuller Sr. is selling property, laying off workers and pulling its signature TV program "Hour of Power" from some markets to offset a nearly $8 million drop in revenue.
The church saw revenue drop 27 percent from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009, church spokesman Mike Nason told The Associated Press. The church had projected an 18 percent revenue drop.
Church leaders blamed the decline on the struggling U.S. economy. They intend to save $4.9 million and stave off further financial collapse by selling 170 acres (68 hectares) in California, including a retreat and wedding center, laying off 50 employees and cutting "Hour of Power" from eight of the 45 domestic broadcast TV stations that air it.
Church officials declined to name the cities where the program would be cut because station managers have not yet been notified.
The 10,000-member church will also cancel this year's "Glory of Easter" pageant, which attracts thousands of visitors and is a regional holiday staple along with the church's "Glory of Christmas" show.
"Hour of Power," which has aired for 40 years, will continue to appear on cable networks such as Lifetime and TBN, and on broadcast TV in markets including California, Colorado, Florida and Ohio, said John Charles, director of development and public relations.
"If we can just hang in there and be smart about surviving the downturn in the economy, this storm will pass and we will be OK and we can begin to grow again as a ministry," Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's daughter and the church's recently appointed leader, said in a prepared statement.
The disclosure mirrors the troubles in recent months at other megachurches that have suffered from the downturn and reduced charitable giving.
Rick Warren, best-selling author and founder of Saddleback Church, made an appeal on New Year's Eve for urgent donations after finding his organization was nearly $1 million in the red. Parishioners raised $2.4 million for Saddleback and its ministries within days.
The Crystal Cathedral doesn't expect a similar outpouring from its members or viewers of "Hour of Power."
"It would be nice, but we understand the economy and people are hurting and our audience are not rich people," Charles said. "There's a lot of people on fixed incomes and they're giving what they can."
The church, founded more than 50 years ago, and its internationally known telecast have been bleeding dollars and members for years _ a trend that accelerated when Schuller Sr. stepped down and passed his senior pastor role to his son, Robert A. Schuller Jr.
Schuller Jr. became engaged in a bitter family feud, disappeared from "Hour of Power" broadcasts and abruptly left the church in 2008, less than three years after he took over for his father.
Schuller Jr. announced his own weekly show on AmericanLife TV Network last summer. Coleman, his sister, was appointed as the ministry's top administrator.
"Hour of Power" changed formats, with Coleman and her father appearing on the show with a stable of up to six guest pastors. Last year, Schuller Sr. pleaded for donations in an open letter posted on the church's Web site, saying the final months of 2008 were devastating.
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On the Net:
http://www.crystalcathedral.org


Updated : 2021-07-27 10:50 GMT+08:00