Sad news to report.
According to CBS News:
The Southern California church headed by popular evangelical Pastor Rick Warren says his 27-year-old son has committed suicide. Warren’s Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said in a statement to CBS News and other outlets Saturday that Matthew Warren had struggled with mental illness and deep depression.
“Despite the best healthcare available, this was an illness that was never fully controlled and the emotional pain resulted in his decision to take his life,” the statement said. “We ask everyone to join us in praying for the entire Warren family,” the statement continued, “and that God’s comfort and peace will be with them as they deal with this difficult situation.” Warren, the author of “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 Matthew Warren took his life Saturday after “a momentary wave of despair at his home.”
Church spokeswoman Kristin Cole said he died Friday night. Over the years, Matthew Warren had been treated by Americas best doctors, had received counseling and medication and been the recipient of numerous prayers from others, his father said. Still, he struggled over the years.
“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. Warren is the author of numerous books and was named the top newsmaker of the year for 2009 by the Religion Newswriters Association, gaining attention with his invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration that year.
In 2008, the church sponsored a presidential forum with Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney had been invited to a similar forum last fall, but Warren canceled it, saying the campaign had become too uncivil.
As Saddleback has grown over the years, it has 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.