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Calif. evangelist names daughter as his successor

Sheila Schuller Coleman and her husband, Jim, shared applause with congregants at the Crystal Cathedral, as her father Robert H. Schuller, named her senior pastor yesterday. Sheila Schuller Coleman and her husband, Jim, shared applause with congregants at the Crystal Cathedral, as her father Robert H. Schuller, named her senior pastor yesterday. (Associated Press via Joshua Sudock/The Orange County Register)
Associated Press / July 12, 2010

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GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, founder of Southern California’s Crystal Cathedral megachurch and host of the “Hour of Power’’ televangelism broadcast, said yesterday that he will retire after 55 years in the pulpit and his daughter will take over.

The 83-year-old Schuller told his congregation that Sheila Schuller Coleman will become sole lead pastor, after sharing that role with her father for the past year.

Coleman previously served as principal of a private Christian school run by the cathedral and head of the Orange County church’s family ministries division.

She was ordained just a month before she was appointed to head Crystal Cathedral Ministries.

“I’m very proud that Sheila has earned her doctorate at the University of California, Irvine, and that this university has declared her to [have earned] a distinguished alumnus award,’’ Schuller told his congregation during the 9:30 a.m. service.

The elder Schuller will assume the newly created position of chairman of Crystal Cathedral’s consistory, which is the church’s board of directors, The Orange County Register reported.

Coleman’s appointment comes two years after Schuller’s son, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, split from the church during a family rift that made headlines. The younger Schuller had been groomed to take over for his father.

Robert A. Schuller is now part of Dallas-based American Life Network, a cable channel aiming to produce family-oriented programming.

Coleman, 59, lives in Orange with her husband, Jim, and has four grown children.

“That was emotional for me, and I’m humbled and honored to be asked to take this responsibility,’’ she said after being commissioned, wiping away tears as she spoke to congregants.

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