By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Greater community outreach amid dark economic times was the message delivered by the Crystal Cathedral’s newly appointed leader, Sheila Schuller Coleman, at the Garden Grove Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Thursday.
“We are in tough times and people are depressed,” Coleman said. “There are correlations between depression and economic times…but we can all be glow in the dark people, we can be a light, we can help make a difference.”
Coleman, the event’s featured speaker, delivered her speech to a room filled with public officials, religious leaders and community members of diverse backgrounds. The annual breakfast hosted by Mayor William J. Dalton and the Garden Grove City Council was held at the Community Meeting Center.
Stories of growing up around distressed people in need of prayer and family tales dominated the speech and made the audience break out in laughter. The recent controversy over the church’s 27 percent drop in revenue from 2008 to 2009 and the family feud resulting in her brother, the previous senior pastor, leaving the church in 2008 was not a focus.
“It is no secret our church has gone through a lot over the last couple of years and I’ve had to step in and try to bring the healing touch of a woman to this organization,” Coleman said. While encouraging the audience to get involved in helping the community, Coleman gave several personal examples supporting her claim that helping people has been one of her life goals since childhood. “I believe my divine mandate is to love strong, to believe strong and to give strong,” Coleman said.
The church is currently working on starting a tutoring program for Garden Grove children, Coleman said and expressed her satisfaction with the new Monday meal program the church started last November, which serves hot meals to the hungry and homeless. “We have not done enough for our community historically and that is something I am very committed to leading us forward in the future,” Coleman said.
The cancellation of the annual “Glory of Easter” pageant, the cutting of their signature “Hour of Power” from eight stations and job layoffs were not mentioned by Coleman, instead the mood was kept hopeful. “Sometimes when I am in a meeting and they say look at the timing, look at the money, look how the revenue is down, I get a little fear. Then I go, ‘No Sheila… don’t give up, persevere,’” Coleman said.
No formal plans were given as to how Coleman will try to revive her father’s struggling ministry.
“Even the Great Depression got better eventually; every storm comes to an end,” Coleman said.