Saddleback Church's senior pastor and popular writer Rick Warren remembers his son on Easter Sunday. Warren's son, Matthew, who was 27 when he died, took his own life on April 5, 2013, after a long battle with depression.
"On this Easter week two years ago, my son Matthew ended his life, and his 27-year battle with mental illness. That day, April 5th, coming 5 days after Easter, was the worst day of my life," wrote Warren, 61. "On a day where everything in me wants to be quiet and low-key, be alone at home with my Lord and my wife and kids, and just get through the day without having to interact or be "on" or celebrate anything ... instead I will be leading multiple Easter services on the biggest Christian day of the year."
Although Matthew's death anniversary fell on Easter Sunday this year, the Southern California based megachurch pastor still celebrated Easter with his congregants, because as he explained, "the Resurrection IS that unmovable hope, that steadfast reality that soothes and comforts the loss in my heart." He and his wife, Kay, share two other children.
Last year, Warren and his wife launched a mental health ministry in Matthew's honor to help shed light on mental illness in the church and to help raise mental health awareness in general. The Warrens teamed up with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a day-long event, and a second summit is set to take place later this year in October.