Ex-Crystal Cathedral Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman Moves New Church to Hotel

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  • Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman
    (Photo: Facebook via The Christian Post)
    Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman of the new Hope Center of Christ is seen in this undated file photo.
  • Crystal Cathedral
    (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn)
    Worshippers gather for a church service at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove, California, March 18, 2012. The megachurch has been undergoing a crisis of leadership succession and financial problems.
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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
March 23, 2012|2:19 pm

Sheila Schuller Coleman, the former senior pastor of Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., has announced that services for her new breakaway church, the Hope Center of Christ, will be taking place at a local hotel as opposed to the movie theater that was the setting for the congregation's first service.

Hope Center OC's worship service is scheduled to take place this Sunday at the Anaheim Marriott Suites at 10 a.m. in Garden Grove, the ministry announced on its Facebook page. Media reports indicate that Sunday services will be held at the Marriott Suites for the next month.

Pastor Harold Shaw will be leading the service and Grammy Award-winning producer Scott Smith will be on hand for the service along with his wife, gospel singer Debbie McClendon-Smith. A children's program will also be provided at the service, according to the Hope Center of Christ Facebook page.

Just two weeks ago, Schuller Coleman announced that she would be splitting from Crystal Cathedral church and moving the ministry her father started decades ago from its Garden Grove campaus to a new location and under a new name.

Schuller Coleman's split with Crystal Cathedral Ministries came as a highly public dispute between the Schuller family and the church board saw every last remaining member of the church's founding family depart the institution.

Last Sunday, Schuller Coleman captured headlines and praise for the ad hoc Hope Center of Christ services she held at an Orange County movie theater.

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Pastor Schuller Coleman reportedly told the congregation of around 200 last Sunday, "We are going to learn how to be a strong church. We are not about a church building. We are about building a church."

The service received praise from those who followed Schuller Coleman and brother-in-law Jim Penner to the new church, which has declared that "Hope Center OC is paving the way to the new era of ministry."

"It was an amazing morning and praise the message that stirred my heart and drew me closer to Jesus," Michelle Frazier Cavinder wrote on the wall of the Hope Center of Christ's Facebook page after the premiere service.

"We were all blessed by an awesome service, that only God could have pulled together with such short notice," another worshiper named Debbie Lips wrote.

Schuller Coleman was only four years old when her father began his ministry in a drive-in movie theater. The Rev. Robert H. Schuller's ministry eventually became one of America's most noteable megachurches with a congregation that had up to 10,000 members at the height of its popularity.

The megachurch became riddled with problems following the retirement of the elder Schuller, which included a highly public family split and bankruptcy wranglings in court. The Schuller's only son, Robert A. Schuller, recently said in an interview that he believes the ministry's downfall was brought on by sibling rivalry.

Robert A. Schuller served as senior pastor to the ministry following his father's retirement in 2006. His position was short lived though, as he was allegedy ousted by his older sisters in their bid to maintain "job security."

Nevertheless, the former pastor turned chairman of a family-centered media fund said that he does not harbor resentment toward his siblings despite believing that the rivalry led to the "demise of the ministry."

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