The Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy has sparked a bidding war over the building famous for it’s “Hour of Power” broadcasts that helped launch televangelist broadcasts throughout the United States.
Bidding for the 31-year-old church heated up when the church filed for Chapter 11 protection in October due to $50 million in debt and among the top bidders at the moment are the Roman Catholic diocese and a local university.
The church, which contains 10,000 separate panes of glass was built by Reverend Robert Schuller and his wife after they started their congregation in 1955 and found themselves with a large following, Schuller retired as the senior pastor in 2006.
Located in the city of Garden Grove, just southeast of Los Angeles, the church had hoped to pay off their debts without a sale, relying on “faith” to fuel their need for $50 million.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has bid $53.6 million and they have offered to temporarily rent space to the original ministry, however they would eventually use the building for a congregation of their own, requiring the current ministry to find a new home within three years.
The Diocese had planned a new home for their nearly 1.2 million followers, however the Crystal cathedral would cost half their original building cost.
Chapman University, has also offered $50 million, the minimum amount currently being accepted.
One advantage to the Chapman University deal is that they would allow the church ministry to repurchase the cathedral and other buildings for $27.5 million if they can regain their financial footing.
If neither one of those bids are accepted retail hobby chain Hobby Lobby has also made a bid in the $50 million range.