Crystal Cathedral plans to end bankruptcy by selling the famous glass-walled church building

The Crystal Cathedral is a Protestant Christian megachurch in the city of Garden Grove, in Orange County. The prominent architect Philip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass and its sanctuary seats 2,736 people.
The Crystal Cathedral is a Protestant Christian megachurch in the city of Garden Grove, in Orange County. The prominent architect Philip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass and its sanctuary seats 2,736 people. Thierry/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Officials with the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County submitted a plan Friday to bankruptcy court. The congregation must dig itself out of a financial hole.

The Crystal Cathedral operates under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It’s about $35 million in debt. It owes its vendors $7.5 million.

The megachurch drafted a plan to recover from bankruptcy. In it, the Garden Grove institution would sell its 40-acre campus – including the famous glass-walled cathedral – to a real estate investment group.

The deal would allow the Crystal Cathedral to lease back the land for at least 15 years. The church would also maintain an option to buy back the property at a fixed price after four years.

The idea is to pump some money into the Crystal Cathedral coffers, so the church can repay its debts and return to sound financial footing.

It’ll be up to the bankruptcy court to decide whether the plan makes sense. A church spokesman says the proposed sale of the property would not disrupt worship services or the Crystal Cathedral’s weekly “Hour of Power” TV program.

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