Belongings of Crystal Cathedral founder Robert Schuller being auctioned off

2017-08-12 | The Orange County Register

Aug. 12--Nearly 400 belongings of the late Rev. Robert H. Schuller, famed televangelist and founder of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, are being auctioned off online through Wednesday, Aug. 16.

Items include letters written to the reverend by presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan; an autographed copy of Johnny Cash's 1975 memoir "Man in Black"; Schuller's Bible from the 1950s, signed by evangelist Billy Graham; and knickknacks the "Hour of Power" TV show's founder kept around his estate.

Schuller, who started his ministry at the Orange Drive-In in 1955, died of cancer in 2015. He was 88.

Money made from the auction will go toward paying off debt the Ministries accumulated after the economic downturn.

The Garden Grove megachurch in 2009 experienced a significant drop in revenue, prompting the sale of property in south Orange County, and the cancellation of its "Glory of Easter" pageant for the first time.

Budget woes also forced the Cathedral to lay off 140 people in a little over a year. In 2010, the church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Jim Penner, then a church board member and Schuller's son-in-law, told the Register at the time that the debt was at about $44 million.

Crystal Cathedral, the reverend's beloved, glass church, was sold off to the Roman Catholic Church, which renamed it Christ Cathedral.

On Friday, Aug. 11, Carol Schuller Milner, a daughter and the trustee of the estate, did not disclose how much debt the Ministries still has, only that it is "significantly more than our assets."

Thus, the liquidation and auctioning off of her parents' personal things.

Though difficult to see those belongings go to auction, Milner said she is "very excited that a lot of wonderful people will have won memories of my parents and can hopefully enjoy these items. Hopefully, those items can be an inspiration to them as my folks were in their lifetime."

Representatives from Everything But The House, an auctioning website, recently collected Schuller's belongings and took them to Ohio, where they will be shipped to the highest bidder.

The auction started Monday, Aug. 7. As of Friday afternoon, 69 bids had pushed the sale price of a Michael Maiden bronze sculpture of a bald eagle, called "The American Dream," to $2,250.

Other memorabilia fetching more than $1,000 included a sterling silver flatware set and individual oil paintings.

"I know many people will love having a chance to own some history important to Orange County," Milner said, "important to faith, important to uplifting humanity and the beauty of my parents' ability to love so many different people types."

To bid on items, visit and enter "The Dr. Robert H. Schuller Sale."