‘Glory of Christmas’ pushes California megachurch to the brink of bankrupcy
THE Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, is well known for featuring live animals at its annual “Glory of Christmas” pageants.
But, after last year’s show, the church – founded by televangelist Robert H Schuller – now finds itself deep in dung, and unable to pay its suppliers.
Administrators have sent an e-mail to businesses which provided services for the pageant, informing them that the church is having “severe financial difficulties” and can’t afford to pay them now.
A meeting between suppliers and church is set for next week.
The church is in debt to the tune of a staggering $55 million. Earlier this year it ordered major layoffs, cut the number of stations airing its “Hour of Power” broadcasts, and sold property to stay afloat.
The 10,000-member church also cancelled this year’s “Glory of Easter” pageant, which, in the past, attracted thousands of visitors.
The cathedral is doing everything it can to strengthen itself financially and is not looking at bankruptcy as an option, church spokesman John Charles said.
Kristina Oliver, who provides the live animals for the “Glory of Christmas” manger scene from her Hemet-based Oliver Livestock Co., said she has been trying to collect nearly $57,000 from the church for months.
And Juliet Noriega, who has designed costumes for the annual Christmas spectacular for 25 years, said she is owed more than $10,000. She complained:
If someone is going to put forth an effort, they should be paid.