|15: The Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, California|
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Mystery Worshipper: Big Softie.
The church: The Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, California.
Denomination: Crystal Cathedral Ministries (Reformed Church in America).
The building: The Crystal Cathedral is a magnificent glass structure, looking like a major modern office block or conference centre, set in its own campus-style grounds. The building boasts more than 10,000 windows of silver-colored glass, a 52-bell carillon housed in a stainless steel bell tower, and has seating for 2,890 people, who can watch the services on a giant indoor Sony Jumbotron television screen (drive-in worshippers can also watch on a giant Nit-Star screen outside). The cathedral is home to the
The neighbourhood: I'm not really qualified to say, having only driven from the freeway to the cathedral, but Garden Grove looked like a prosperous, business-oriented suburb of Los Angeles.
The cast: The pastor: Dr Robert H. Schuller (the cathedral's senior and founding pastor); the preacher: General Eva Burrows (ex-leader of the Salvation Army); the choir: Salvation Army Choir, plus an orchestra and two gospel soloists.
What was the name of the service?
Sunday Morning prayer for the Hour of Power TV transmission.
How full was the building?
Probably only 50 per cent full, but it was the 11am reprise of the 9.30am service. Our service was immediately followed by a service for the local Hispanic community for which the cathedral was full.
Did anyone welcome you personally?
Everything is well organised from car park attendants to uniformed ushers leading you to a seat but it didn't really seem personal. More like the professional greeting you'd get at a cinema or from an airline steward.
Was your pew comfortable?
Yes. Individual, padded seats.
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Businesslike, but eventually quite chatty. When someone sat next to me, she turned out to have a daughter living in Harrogate. I had to laugh when they announced that next week's visiting choir would be a 'Welsh male voice choir from South Wales, England.'