logo
Featured on 40:     Schilling Cancer     Foley Parents     Gas Prices     Live Well Springfield     Weather Discussion    
Watch ABC40 News Live!   (View)

Church: Pastor Rick Warren's son commits suicide

This undated photo provided by the Saddleback Valley Community Church shows Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren. Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said in a statement Saturday, April 6, 2013, that Warren’s 27-year-old son, Matthew Warren, has committed suicide after struggling with mental illness and deep depression. (AP Photo/Saddleback Valley Community Church)

This undated photo provided by the Saddleback Valley Community Church shows Matthew Warren, the son of Pastor Rick Warren. Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said in a statement Saturday, April 6, 2013, that Warren’s 27-year-old son, Matthew Warren, has committed suicide after struggling with mental illness and deep depression. (AP Photo/Saddleback Valley Community Church)

FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2010, file photo, Pastor Rick Warren acknowledges audience members during the Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Service in Lake Forest, Calif. Saddleback Valley Community Church said in a statement Saturday, April 6, 2013, that Warren’s 27-year-old son, Matthew Warren, has committed suicide after struggling with mental illness and deep depression. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (AP) — The 27-year-old son of popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren has committed suicide at his Southern California home, Warren’s church said in a statement on Saturday.

Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts throughout his life. Saddleback Valley Community Church spokeswoman Kristin Cole said he died Friday night.

“Despite the best health care available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life,” the church statement said.

Rick Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life,” said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son. But their son then returned home to take his life in “a momentary wave of despair.”

Over the years, Matthew Warren had been treated by America’s best doctors, had received counseling and medication and been the recipient of numerous prayers from others, his father said.

“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?’” Warren recalled.

Despite that, he said, his son lived for another decade, during which he often reached out to help others.

“You who watched Matthew grow up knew he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man,” Warren wrote. “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 bee-line to that person to engage and encourage them.”

The elder Warren founded Saddleback Church in 1980, according to his biography on the church website, and over the years watched it grow to 20,000 members. He and his wife, Kay, began by holding Bible studies for people who weren’t regular churchgoers.

As Saddleback grew over the years, it spread out from its Lake Forest headquarters, 65 miles southeast of Los Angeles, adding several other campuses and ministries around Southern California.

The church says it now offers more than 200 community ministries and support groups for parents, families, children, couples, prisoners, addicts, and people living with HIV, depression and other illnesses.

In 2008, the church sponsored a presidential forum with Barack Obama and John McCain. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney were invited to a similar forum last fall, but Warren canceled it several days beforehand, saying the campaign had become too uncivil.

Warren was named the top newsmaker of the year for 2009 by the Religion Newswriters Association. He gained attention that year with his invocation at Obama’s inauguration, as well as with comments he made in the aftermath of California’s Proposition 8, which overturned gay marriage.

Associated Press

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

Comments

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
blog comments powered by Disqus