Reverend Robert Schuller has passed away at the age of 88. Known worldwide as an evangelist, author, and founder of the famed Crystal Cathedral, his messages were all based on redemption and faith. His sermons were heard around the globe by millions of people. In a formal statement from his daughter Carol Schuller, he passed away at a care facility in Artesia.
Schuller was known for his grounded yet charismatic presence, and wearing a long flowing purple robe and large aviator type glasses, Schuller had a heart attack in 1997 but after recuperating, he returned to the pulpit. Then again in 2013, he took a bad fall at his Orange home, which resulted in hospitalization.
Schuller built a solid evangelical Protestant ministry. As part of the Reformed Church in America, he, along with his wife Arvella, worked hard to create a place where everyone could come to worship. The quest began in 1955 with just $500 and then in 1970, “Hour of Power” broadcasting started, catapulting the ministry into a multi-million dollar success.
The impressive Crystal Cathedral was built in 1980, capable of seating 2,800 members of the congregation. By the 1990s, Schuller’s sermons were being heard in 180 countries by more than 20 million viewers. All of his messages were heartfelt with some focusing on his daughter Carol who in 1978 lost a leg in a motorcycle accident but became a champion skier.
Schuller’s only son, Robert A. Schuller took over as senior pastor in 2006. The 51-year-old was cautious in how the transition took place and as a result, it was well-received. However, after the transition was complete, a horrible family feud erupted in 2008 that resulted in Robert A. Schuller being removed from “Hour of Power” by his father. Only weeks later, the senior pastor position was open. From that point on, the church was never able to get back on track.
Ultimately, the church filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with a debt of more than $43 million. Over questions about how the Schullers and family members were receiving royalties, although legal, he and his wife stepped down from the board of directors based on breach of contract and copyright infringement. That same year, a legal battle to recoup over $5 million from the former ministry was lost.
After watching the Crystal Cathedral on the decline, he pulled out of public eye. Then in 2013, he was diagnosed with a tumor in the esophagus that ultimately spread to the lymph nodes. Even with the various legal troubles, Schuller remained loved by millions. His passing will definitely leave a huge void but as his daughter explains, he can now be reunited with his wife who passed away in 2014.