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Christian leaders offer support for Pastor Rick Warren

April 06, 2013|By Jack Leonard and Stephen Ceasar
  • Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, released a statement saying his youngest son committed suicide. Above, Warren leads Christmas Eve services in 2008.
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, released a statement… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

Christian leaders called for prayers Saturday in an outpouring of support for Rick Warren and his family after the suicide of the Orange County evangelical pastor's youngest son.

Among those offering condolences was Harvest Christian Fellowship leader Greg Laurie, who tweeted followers to join him in a prayer for Warren and his wife, Kay.

Laurie, whose adult son Christopher was killed in a 2008 car crash, noted on his blog that he had experienced similar pain. "At times like these, there really are no words, but there is the Word," he wrote.

The Christian Post reported that Laurie was joined by a host of other religious leaders, including Will Graham, the grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham.

Warren and his wife released a statement informing his congregation at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest that Matthew Warren, 27, had committed suicide after battling depression for much of his life.

The statement described Matthew Warren as an “incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate man. He took his life “in a momentary wave of despair” after an evening spent with his parents, the statement said.

"Kay and I’ve been privileged to hold your hands as you faced a crisis or loss,” the statement said. “Today we need your prayers for us.”

Matthew Warren’s death at his home in Mission Viejo was reported to Orange County sheriff’s officials about 5:25 p.m. Friday. An Orange County coroner's official said a cause of death would be determined after an autopsy Tuesday, a routine event in cases of suspected suicides.

The elder Warren is a world-famous evangelist and bestselling author of "The Purpose Driven Life." He delivered the invocation at President Obama's inauguration in 2008.

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jack.leonard@latimes.com | Twitter: @jackfleonard

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com | Twitter: @stephenceasar

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