Crystal Cathedral Ministries announces plans to file for bankruptcy protection

19 Oct Crystal Cathedral Ministries announces plans to file for bankruptcy protection

Crystal Cathedral Ministries in California (best known for its “Hour of Power“)announcedyesterday that it is seeking the protection of Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect it from its creditors. The Ministry had been struggling to pay its debt for awhile. The move came becauseseveral of its creditors were unwilling to work with theMinistry and had filedlawsuits who had obtained writs of attachment.

The Ministry’s press release quotes Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman, Senior Paster of the Crystal Cathedral: “We are pleased to report that the current Ministry outreach and operations will continue while we address the past due expenses that were incurred in 2009, when budgets cold not be cut fast enough to keep up with the unprecedented rapid decline in revenue due to the recession.”

The press release further states: “The Ministry is extremely grateful for the time and effort expended by the Creditors Committe to date, and looks forward to working with them to finalize a payment plan that is fair to all vendors and consistent with our belief as a Ministry and emerge from Chapter 11 as quickly as possible.”

The Ministry announced in January that it was laying off 50 workers and selling surplus property, including their 20-acre campus in Rancho Capistano. The inability to pay vendors is due to an abrupt drop in contributions. The Church also canceled its “Glory of Easter” pageant this year.

The Old Testament of the Bible talks about the cancellation of debt at legislated intervals – “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed.” Old Testament lenders were admonished to be merciful, debts were canceled every seven years whether they liked it or not. I believe this holds true for Crystal Cathedral Ministries as well.

AsDr. Coleman stated: “We’ve believed in a big God…a God Who is greater than any problem or challenge we could ever face. Our announcement today to file for the protection of Chapter 11 is just one more chapter in the book that He is continuing to write – and we know that God’s plans are good – we have no doubt His chapter will be good!”

The founder of the Ministry, Dr. Robert Schuller, has written a number of books that I have found to be inspirational as well as encouraging at times when I found myself down. My favorite is Tough Times Never last, but Tough People DO! I often recommend this book to clients who come to see me and are beating themselves up for not being able to pay their bills. In most cases, the client hastried so hard to pay his or hercreditors – only to have the creditor refuse to work with him. That person is then left with little choice but to considerbankruptcy asthe onlyalternative to get a “fresh start”.

I wish the best to Crystal Cathedral Ministries. Knowingthe Ministrybackground, I am certain that with God’s help and our prayers,it will survive this challenging situation, and will be able to continue sending out positive messages of hope.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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