GARDEN GROVE (AP) — The Rev. Robert H. Schuller has been voted off the board of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the church he founded more than 50 years ago, the pioneering televangelist’s son said Sunday.
Or has he? Conflicting reports have Schuller either off the board or instead giving a non-voting role.
Schuller wanted to enlarge the ministry’s board of directors but members voted him off instead, said Robert A. Schuller, who was his father’s designated successor but himself was ousted from the church by family members in 2008.
“It’s a very sad day and unfortunately, I know how that feels,’’ the younger Schuller told reporters. “A majority of that board consists of paid employees of the church, and that’s a serious conflict of interest.’’
Schuller said his mother, a board member, voted with the minority to keep the senior Schuller.
But later reports contradict that, saying the founding pastor remains on the board, but without a vote.
The move is the latest of several – some voluntary, some forced upon him – that have brought a diminished role in the California megachurch for the elder Schuller. It is not clear what role, if any, he’ll still have.
The Associated Press was unable to reach Robert A. Schuller, and Crystal Cathedral spokesman John Charles declined to confirm the move or offer comment when reached by phone.
Robert H. Schuller has been at odds about the church’s direction with his two daughters, including Sheila Schuller Coleman, who has served as senior pastor since 2008. The church has seen a host of problems since then, including succession fights, dwindling attendance and most recently bankruptcy brought on by massive debts.
The church has submitted a plan in which its campus and famous, glass-spired sanctuary will be sold to a real estate investment group for $47 million, then leased back to the church for services.On Wednesday, another plan surfaced for Chapman University to buy the campus..
Schuller got his start in Southern California in the mid-1950s preaching about the “power of positive thinking’’ from the roof of a concession stand at a drive-in theater.
He later turned his humble pulpit into one of the nation’s first megachurches, beaming his weekly Sunday service into 1 million homes worldwide through the “Hour of Power’’ TV show.
on the air in 1970.