Crystal Cathedral Sold

November 18, 2011 by staff 

Crystal Cathedral Sold, The Crystal Cathedral will sell its iconic, gleaming glass building to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in an effort to get back on solid financial footing after declaring bankruptcy last year.

The move was approved Thursday by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan after a bidding war between the diocese and Orange County’s Chapman University for the sprawling 40-acre property — and was opposed by many Crystal Cathedral congregants who fear it will be the end of their church

The diocese will pay $57.5 million to use the building in Garden Grove made of 10,000 panes of glass as a long-sought countywide cathedral.

“It will become a true center for our Catholic community in Orange County,” Bishop Tod D. Brown told reporters after Thursday’s packed hearing in federal bankruptcy court.

The decision will force congregants of the Crystal Cathedral to find a new home after three years — possibly in a Catholic church up the street that the diocese will vacate.

But some fear the ministry won’t survive the move as congregants — and possibly “Hour of Power” television viewers — feel dismayed after pouring their hearts, and pocketbooks, into the elaborate campus.

Rather, churchgoers threw their support behind a proposal by Chapman University for the site to expand its health sciences offerings and possibly start a medical school — a plan that would have paid up to $59 million for the site allowed the church to continue to use the famous building designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson.

For the last two weeks, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries had supported Chapman as the preferred buyer. But the board did an about-face Wednesday and voted to back the diocese instead to preserve the church as a religious institution, citing church bylaws and a wish to respect the spirit of donors who footed the bill for the building.

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