Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy | More than $43 million owed

Crystal Cathedral

The Crystal Cathedral church intends to continue operating during bankruptcy. Image: Flickr / Paul!!! / CC-BY-ND

One of the original megachurches, the Crystal Cathedral, has filed for bankruptcy. Founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller built the Crystal Cathedral and “Hour of Power” telecast. The Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy owes more than $43 million to various creditors.

Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy

The Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy has been a possibility for several months. In April of this year, a committee of creditors agreed to a moratorium. This was intended to give the creditors and Crystal Cathedral church a chance to negotiate repayment plans. The moratorium, however, fell apart. The Crystal Cathedral owes $7.5 million to vendors and $36 million in mortgage payments.

Crystal Cathedral’s creditors

The chapter 11 bankruptcy that the Crystal Cathedral is filing for allows reorganization. If chapter 11 is granted, the Crystal Cathedral would be allowed to continue operations while attempting to pay off creditors. There are currently several lawsuits and writs on the Crystal Cathedral, including one $50,000 debt owed to a woman who rents out camels for the Crystal Cathedral’s yearly nativity pageant. The Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy would provide a modicum of protection for the church while it attempts to re-organize and pay off debt.

Crystal Cathedral’s bankruptcy plan

While attempting to pay off creditors and file for bankruptcy, Crystal Cathedral is taking on a new financial plan. The church is paying cash for all expenses, out of the nearly $2 million it receives each month in donations. The church has slashed 50 employees and several stations from the “Hour of Power” broadcast. The church and its leaders say that they have every intention of paying off all creditors, eventually. The courts would be the overseer of the debt repayment while Crystal Cathedral is in bankruptcy. For a megachurch that encourages financial responsibility, this will be the ultimate test of whether Crystal Cathedral can practice what it preaches.


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