“The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, 88, the televangelist who drew millions of followers with his ‘Hour of Power’ broadcasts from the Crystal Cathedral, the glittering house of worship recognized around the world as the locus of his signature brand of motivational Christianity, died [today] April 2 at a care facility in Artesia, Calif.,” reports The Washington Post.
Schuller had been suffering for several years with esophageal cancer.
The Post adds: “By the time of Rev. Schuller’s death, his ministry, based in Garden Grove, Calif., had filed for bankruptcy and largely crumbled. It was the victim, by most accounts, of overexpansion, declining popular interest and internal strife precipitated by his retirement in 2006.”
Notes the Los Angeles Times: “After a working life of great success and influence, Schuller was forced to watch from retirement as much of what he built was laid to waste. In October 2010, his church, then led by his daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman, declared bankruptcy. That led to the sale of the cathedral and surrounding property to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in February 2012.”
The Times story adds: “He created the weekly “Hour of Power” television show that at its peak popularity attracted an international audience of millions, wrote dozens of books with titles such as “Turning Hurts Into Halos” and “If It’s Going to Be, It’s Up to Me,” and built a 40-acre church campus with buildings so striking that the American Institute of Architects gave him its first lifetime achievement award in 2001.”
According to the Associated Press, before Schuller started the “Hour of Power,” “He and his late wife, Arvella, an organist, started a ministry in 1955 with $500 when he began preaching from the roof of a concession stand at a drive-in movie theater southeast of Los Angeles. The church’s motto — ‘Come as you are in the family car’ — tapped into the burgeoning Southern California auto culture and the suburban boom of post-World War II America.”
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