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Schuller loses vote at Crystal Cathedral

(RNS) Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller has been removed from a voting position on the board of the iconic glass megachurch he started in Southern California five decades ago.

"Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a nonvoting position," reads a Monday (July 4) news release from the church in Garden Grove, Calif.

The change will give Schuller, 84, more time for speaking engagements and a writing project, the statement said. Schuller's son, Robert A. Schuller, who left the ministry in 2008 after leadership differences surfaced, called the move "another step toward the church's demise," according to the Orange County Register.

The Crystal Cathedral statement noted that the elder Schuller will continue to speak in the church's pulpit and on its "Hour of Power" television broadcast and participate in "creative and vision-casting meetings" with staffers.

The transition comes after the cathedral, long embroiled in family and financial problems, put its campus up for sale after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's daughter and executive director of the church, said in a statement that she will still seek her father's advice.

"I have and will continue to defer to his wisdom and honor him for his unprecedented accomplishments," she said.

The church plans to sell its campus to a real estate investment group with a 15-year leaseback plan. When it filed for bankruptcy protection last October, it owed $7.5 million to creditors and had cut back staff, halted flagship holiday pageants and reduced airtime.

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