Rick Warren Leads Mental Health Effort After Son's Suicide

Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 04:15 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A year after his son's suicide, popular evangelical pastor Rick Warren is taking on a new mental health ministry inspired by his personal tragedy.
 
Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and a best-selling author, will team with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a daylong event next month focused on helping church leaders reach parishioners who are struggling with mental illness.

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church grew out of private conversations Warren had with the local Catholic bishop, Bishop Kevin Vann, after his son's death and his own writings in his journal as he processed his grief. Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide last April after struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts for years.

"I'm certainly not going to waste this pain. One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain," Warren said Monday as he met with Vann to discuss the March 28 event. "I remember writing in my journal that in God's garden of grace even broken trees bear fruit."

After Matthew's suicide, more than 10,000 people wrote to Warren and his wife, Kay, to share their own struggles with mental illness, he said. The conference will address a range of mental health issues, from bipolar disorder to suicide to more easily hidden issues such as anxiety, eating disorders and addiction. Attendees can choose from among 20 interactive workshops within the conference.

"When Kay and I began ministering to people with HIV/AIDS about a dozen years ago, I thought AIDS was the greatest taboo. But actually, I think mental illness is," he said. "And we want to remove the stigma."

The focus on mental health is a natural outgrowth for churches, which have long been the first stop for the faithful who are suffering and need guidance, Vann said.

As a newly ordained deacon in 1980, Vann said, his first funeral Mass was for a man who had committed suicide. Later, a man hearing voices knocked on the parish door seeking relief.

Vann didn't feel equipped to handle either situation properly, he recalled.

The conference will put an emphasis on providing resources to churches so that people in need can get the help they need immediately - and so faith workers can get insight into the challenges confronting the mentally ill and their families.

"Our goal is, as we say, we crack the door open and then churches go, `OK. If the diocese is doing this, if Saddleback's doing this, we can do this,'" Warren said. "And we'd love to see a movement started where people actually begin to say, `We need to see this element added to our local ministry.'"

Warren founded Saddleback Church in 1980 in his house. The megachurch now claims more than 20,000 members and has multiple satellite campuses around Southern California.

Warren is also author of "The Purpose Driven Life," which has sold more than 50 million copies, and gave the invocation at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Low-Carb Diet Beats Low-Fat for Weight Loss: Study

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 21:26 PM

Alow-carbohydrate diet is better for losing weight and may also be better for lowering the risk of heart disease than a  . . .

Eating Pistachios Can Prevent Diabetes: Study

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 13:04 PM

For people who may be headed for Type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a n . . .

Medicare May Cover End-of-Life 'Death Panel' Talks

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 10:56 AM

Five years after the political firestorm over 'death panels,' the issue of paying doctors to talk to patients about end- . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved