File photo of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.
TV donations down, Crystal Cathedral sees redBobby Schuller is new 'Hour of Power' pastor
Published: Jan. 25, 2013 Updated: Jan. 27, 2013 11:16 a.m.
GARDEN GROVE – Donations to the Crystal Cathedral went down and the ministry ended last year in the red.
The Crystal Cathedral is "eking by," Sheila Wiegel, the cathedral's chief financial officer, told some 150 congregants gathered for a meeting Thursday night.
Donations to the cathedral's flagship Hour of Power television ministry fell by $4 million, contributing to a 27 percent drop in the cathedral's annual revenue.
"We need large donors to make a commitment to our present and future," Wiegel said.
Expenses need to be cut further, she said.
As part of a wide-ranging presentation about the cathedral's future, its school and its finances, Wiegel gave an overview of the troubled ministry's finances. The ministry emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year, selling its landmark cathedral and campus to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to pay off debts.
During the same meeting, cathedral leaders announced that Bobby Schuller, grandson of the Rev. Robert H. Schuller who began the ministry some 50 years ago, is the new pastor of the Hour of Power television program.
Revenue during the last nine months of 2012 dropped from approximately $15 million to $11 million, compared to the same period in the previous year. But expenditures also were cut, including layoffs and unpaid furlough days for the remaining staff, by more than $3 million, Wiegel said.
The Crystal Cathedral Ministries ended the year with a net loss of $319,000, she said.
But each quarter improved throughout 2012, Wiegel told congregants. And in the last quarter, the ministry's finances were in the black, she said.
The bulk of the ministry's revenue comes from the Hour of Power television program that is telecast across the United States and 11 countries. In 2011, it accounted for 78 percent of the ministry's revenue, or about $12 million. In 2012, that amount dropped to approximately $8 million, or 72 percent of its revenue.
Donations to the church itself netted nearly $1.2 million, Wiegel reported. School fees accounted for an additional $1.3 million.
A large percentage of donations came from estates, Wiegel said. As the ministry looks ahead, it cannot rely on estate gifts for its day-to-day operations, she said. That money should be set aside for reserves, she continued.
"People are sacrificing to support this message," Wiegel said, becoming teary-eyed as she concluded her presentation. "We need donations."