Family, friends and parishioners of Pastor Rick Warren are mourning the loss of his 27-year-old son, Matthew Warren.
Religion News Service's Jonathan Merrit has this message from Rick Warren to his congregation following the suicide of his son:
Pastor Rick and Kay Warren's youngest son, Matthew, has committed suicide, Saddleback Valley Community Church announced Saturday. Rachel Kim reports.
Megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren’s son, Matthew (27), committed suicide on Friday night after struggling with mental health issues for decades. Warren sent the followingemail to his Saddleback Church congregation and staff:
To my dear Saddleback Family,
Over the past 33 years we’ve been together through every kind of crisis. Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss, stand with you at gravesides, and prayed for you when ill. Today, we need your prayer for us. No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now. Our youngest son, Matthew, age 27, and a lifelong member of Saddleback, died today.
You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man. He had a brilliant intellect and a gift for sensing who was most in pain or most uncomfortable in a room. He’d then make a beeline to that person to engage and encourage them.
But only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In spite of America’s best doctors, meds, counselors, and prayers for healing, the torture of mental illness never subsided. Today, after a fun evening together with Kay and me, in a momentary wave of despair at his home, he took his life.
Kay and I often marveled at his courage to keep moving in spite of relentless pain. I’ll never forget how, many years ago, after another approach had failed to give relief, Matthew said, “Dad, I know I’m going to heaven. Why can’t I just die and end this pain?” but he kept going for another decade.
Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you back.