More than half a year ago, I commented on the unceremonious dumping of Robert A. Schuller (son of Crystal Cathedral founding pastor Robert H. Schuller) as the preacher on the "Hour of Power" television program. Robert A. was not technically removed as head pastor of the Crystal Cathedral at that time, but since the "Hour of Power" program is just the edited broadcast of the regular worship gatherings there, it's no surprise that he resigned from that position by the end of the year. The July 14, 2009 edition of Christian Century reports that the elder Schuller has now turned over "the administrative duties" of the Crystal Cathedral ministry to his daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman.
While I am certainly glad to see a woman given such authority in such a stereotypically patriarchal environment, it's pretty much impossible for me to believe that no non-family member could have been found who was more qualified. I'm reminded of a comment a friend made on this blog back when Robert A. was named the new pastor in the first place suggesting that such nepotism was questionable, and here we see it all over again.
Although the article does indicate that officials of the Reformed Church of America (the denomination to which the Crystal Cathedral belongs) supported the elder Schuller in the ouster of the younger, I'm guessing that it wasn't because they had an issue with nepotism (frankly, I'd like to know what the reason for their support was). In any event, the continued use of Robert H.'s children as Crystal Cathedral leadership makes me wonder what Schuller family reunions look like.
I'm also quick to note that Ms. Coleman hasn't been named the new senior pastor, although she will "be preaching occasionally," and I'm curious as to what's up with that, as we're also told that the current interim senior pastor (who seems to be oddly not family-connected) "will continue at the church as a teaching pastor," implying that the interim's days as "senior pastor" are numbered. Maybe I'm just the suspicious type when it comes to issues of women in ministry, but this sounds a lot to me like they'll stop using the "senior pastor" title altogether, rather than give it to a woman. I hope that I'm wrong about that.