Today is my oldest sons Birthday. Thirty-one years ago, this month, the year Robert V. (Bobby) Schuller III was born, I moved to San Juan Capistrano to start a new church. It was an exciting and challenging time in my life. Only a few months earlier I had been ordained in the Crystal Cathedral. She had her grand opening and dedication on Sept. 14 and I was ordained on a Sunday evening on Sept. 21, 1980.
I thought I would be there for the rest of my life. I was given a large office in the Tower of Hope, the building with the illuminated 90-foot cross on top. I was on the Hour of Power every week reading scriptures, offering prayers and even preaching occasionally. I had started working with my father when I had returned from Hope College in Holland Michigan in 1976. That year I started attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena and we had the ground for the Crystal Cathedral.
In 1976 my father had been on TV for 6 years. He was the hottest thing going in religion in America. His church had grown to become one of the largest. People were standing in the aisles, sitting in their cars or on the lawn watching the service through the windows. So Phillip Johnson was contracted to design a new center of worship to accommodate the crowds. The Crystal Cathedral was born. It was born as an idea of an architect who built an 18-inch model and presented it to a pastor who had an eye and appreciation for beauty. When Rev. Robert H. Schuller saw the concept he knew that he had to build it.
This would be an enormous undertaking. He knew he couldn’t do it alone. So he hired a fundraiser to assist him with what he knew would be the greatest challenge, money. This man took him to see the founder of Fleetwood Enterprises, John Crean and his wife, Donna. They all met in a rundown office in a warehouse on his 90-acre ranch in San Juan Capistrano. Meeting for the first time, my father shared a model of an idea that would change the world.
To make a long story short, John and Donna Crean became the first $1,000,000 donors to the church and without them the Crystal Cathedral would not have been built. Six years later I met John and Donna in another rundown office in one of their factories and asked them to donate their Ranch in San Juan Capistrano where I spent 20 years building a church, a school, and a retreat center.
Because of their enormous generosity and love for Jesus Christ, untold millions of people and charities have flourished. John passed away in 2007 and was buried on the Cathedral Campus. This week Donna passed away and joined her husband in their special place for eternity.
Thank you Lord for John and Donna Crean and for everything they have done for so many. They were good and faithful servants.