When the doors open for the 9:30 English-language service, the lines don’t budge. It isn’t for a lack of seats inside — so few people are there that cameramen have trouble finding crowd shots for the “Hour of Power” television program, which has been broadcast from the Garden Grove megachurch since 1970.
At 11, a second English service starts, also sparsely attended. The lines outside grow longer.
By the time that service ends, each line stretches the equivalent of a city block — people of all ages dressed in their Sunday best. Just before 1, the doors reopen and, row by row, the cathedral is filled.
As the Crystal Cathedral fights to survive its descent into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this is its untold success story: a Spanish-language service led by a dynamic Argentine pastor, Dante Gebel, who inspires comparisons to the church’s founder, Robert H. Schuller.