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Crystal Cathedral

Main Service Times: Main - 9:30 & 11:00 AM | Evening - 7:00 PM | Arabic - 1:15 PM

Founding Pastor

Dr. Robert H. Schuller

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Dr. Robert H. Schuller

Dr. Robert H. Schuller's positive messages are a source of strength and hope, motivating and encouraging people of all nationalities, races, creeds and faiths. He is a pastor, speaker, motivator and author appreciated by countless millions worldwide for his ability to encourage and inspire.

As the Crystal Cathedral's Founding Pastor, Dr. Schuller is seen and heard internationally every Sunday from the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral on the world's first and most widely watched hour-long church service, the "Hour of Power" -now the fourth longest-running weekly program in television history. With a worldwide audience estimated at 20 million persons, Dr. Schuller is among the most widely heard orators on global television.

As a speaker and motivator, Dr. Schuller is sought for his goal-setting ideas for business conventions and conferences at locations around the world: Africa, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, The Netherlands, Canada, and throughout the United States.

Dr. Schuller has authored 37 hardcover books, six of which have made the prestigious New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

Early Years

Robert Harold Schuller was born in Alton, Iowa, on September 16, 1926. From the age of 4, young Schuller knew that he wanted to be a minister. In 1950, after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Hope College and a Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary, he fulfilled his dream when he was ordained by the Reformed Church in America, the oldest Protestant denomination in the United States.

After ordination, Dr. Schuller pastored the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Chicago for five years. During his ministry there, the congregation grew from 38 to more than 400.


In 1955, Dr. Schuller was called by the Reformed Church in America to begin a new church in Garden Grove, Calif. With his wife Arvella as organist and $500 in assets, he rented the Orange Drive-In Theatre and conducted Sunday services from the tarpapered roof of its snack bar. One hundred persons attended that first Sunday, all in their cars. Dr. Schuller, who believes this outdoor ministry experience helped inspire him to later build the all-glass Crystal Cathedral, often states, "It was there I fell in love with the sky!"

Under Dr. Schuller's leadership, the world's first "walk-in-drive-in" church building was designed by Richard Neutra and built in 1961. In 1970, with the encouragement of Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. Schuller began broadcasting services from the Neutra sanctuary on the "Hour of Power." By 1975, the "Hour of Power" was airing in all 50 states, and the unprecedented growth of the local congregation dictated the decision to build the internationally acclaimed Crystal Cathedral. Designed by award-winning architect Philip Johnson, the first-ever all-glass church was dedicated on September 14, 2020 "To the Glory of Man for the Greater Glory of God." At its dedication, Johnson called the Crystal Cathedral his "capo lavoro," or "crowning achievement."

Today, the Crystal Cathedral's ministry is all-encompassing. Each year, almost one million persons attend events that include worship services, Christmas Eve candlelight services, Easter morning services, weddings, memorial services, The Glory of Christmas and Easter productions, conferences, seminars and workshops, interchurch rallies, civic events, and baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies.

Ministry Milestones

In 1968, Dr. Schuller founded New Hope, the world's first live, church-sponsored, Christian 24-hour telephone suicide prevention and counseling center "hot line." Since the beginning of New Hope, it is estimated that over one million people have dialed (714) NEW-HOPE for help, any hour of the day or night. Since its origination, New Hope has been a light that never goes out, an eye that never closes, an ear that is never shut and a heart that never grows cold. New Hope marked its 40th anniversary in 2008.

In 1970, Dr. Schuller founded the Robert H. Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership, which has more than 20,000 graduates from various Protestant and Catholic denominations. The New Yorker said in 2008 that Dr. Schuller's ministry is the "phenomenon" behind today's mega-church movement.

Honors & Affiliations

Dr. Schuller has been honored with numerous awards, a few of which include: the Freedom Award, presented at the America's Freedom Festival at Provo, Utah; the Horatio Alger Award, presented by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; Freedom Foundation Awards; Clergyman of the Year, presented by Religious Heritage of America; Awards of Excellence for Religion in Media; the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal Award for Literary Achievement; The Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement; the Outstanding American Award, presented by The Los Angeles Philanthropic Foundation; the 20th Annual Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the National Conference of Christians and Jews; honorary membership to American Institute of Architects; both Dr. and Mrs. Schuller were honored with The Edith Munger Leadership Award presented by the Munger Center for Psychological Services. Dr. Schuller's affiliations include: Member of the Guild of Architects of the American Institute of Architects; Board of Counselors of the Y.M.C.A. of the USA; Advisory Board Member, Church Growth International, Seoul, Korea; Honorary Member, National Association of Christian Psychotherapists and Counselors, Inc.; Advisory Board of the Highpoint Cancer Education Center; Advisory Board of the Salvation Army; Board of Director, Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; Member of the American Academy of Achievement; Founder and Honorary Chairman, Churches Uniting in Global Mission.

His honorary doctorate degrees include those from Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California; Hope College, Holland, Michigan (his Alma Mater); Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa; Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; Barrington College, Barrington, Rhode Island; Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio; and Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.

Husband, Father, Grandfather

Robert and Arvella Schuller have five children, all of whom are active in Christian ministry. To date there are eighteen grandchildren.

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