Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller is turning over the leadership of the 10,000-member megachurch to his oldest daughter.
Schuller, 82, announced on Sunday that Sheila Schuller Coleman, 58, will assume leadership of the entire ministry, effective immediately, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Coleman, a former schoolteacher, has been serving as director of family ministries at the Crystal Cathedral. According to her Ask Sheila blog, she also oversees the church’s schools as well as its children’s and youth ministries.
Coleman told the Orange County Register she never expected to lead the church. “Our church didn’t even start ordaining women until 1973,” she said. “I’m proud of my dad for doing this, and I hope I can serve as a role model for younger women who want to get things accomplished in this church.”
In a letter posted on the ministry’s Web site, Schuller said God spoke to him in the wee hours of the morning. “Give the message-cast my original vision for this ministry,” he said God told him. “Don’t worry. I have called your daughter Sheila, too. She is equipped and she will be your legs.”
Schuller said he will spend two more years “casting God’s vision” for the ministry and his daughter will “put legs to the vision.”
“Sheila has her doctorate in administration and leadership. She knows and loves this ministry and me unconditionally,” Schuller wrote.
Coleman will appear on Schuller’s weekly The Hour of Power television broadcast, but it hasn’t been determined how much she will preach, church spokesman Mike Nason told the AP.
In 2006, Schuller tapped his son, Robert A. Schuller, 54, to take over the church, but the younger Schuller left abruptly last year after a disagreement with his father. Juan Carlos Ortiz, who served as interim pastor, will remain as a teaching pastor.
The younger Schuller signed a deal last month to broadcast his own show on AmericanLife TV, which he acquired in cooperation with GodTube founder Chris Wyatt. The cable network targets baby boomers and will emphasize “family values.” Schuller’s program is to debut in September.