RELIGION
10/30/2011 07:55 am ET Updated Dec 30, 2011

Crystal Cathedral Endorses Offer to End Bankruptcy Crisis

By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

(RNS) Crystal Cathedral officials have endorsed an offer from a nearby California university to purchase the glass-walled megachurch and end its bankruptcy crisis.

Despite their decision, church leaders say they are still hoping for a miracle that will prevent the sale, which could move forward in mid-November.

"Nothing is final until November 14!" said Sheila Schuller Coleman, senior pastor of Crystal Cathedral, in a Wednesday (Oct. 26) statement.

"We continue to pray... even though our board has had to reluctantly vote to accept a plan due to the deadlines required by the court."

Chapman University said the sale could be advantageous for both organizations.

"We are hopeful that the final decision will favor Chapman, because that outcome would provide the Crystal Cathedral Ministry with the opportunity to go forward using their highly distinctive campus, while providing Chapman with vital space to expand our health sciences programs," the school said.

In July, the university offered Crystal Cathedral $46 million for the 35-acre campus with a leaseback program that would allow it to continue worship services. In its statement endorsing the university's offer, the cathedral noted that it also provides the opportunity for the ministry to repurchase the buildings.

Cathedral officials had hoped to raise more than $50 million through a "miracle faith" campaign that started in July, the Los Angeles Times reported, but had raised only $172,775 by September.

If accepted, the deal with Chapman would seem to end hopes of Catholic officials to buy the iconic church to serve as a cathedral for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.