(RNS) — A fund has been set up to benefit the family of the late Darrin Patrick, a megachurch pastor and author who died Thursday (May 7).
Patrick, 49, left behind his wife, Amie, and four children.
“All the funds collected will go to the family,” said Greg Surratt, founding pastor of Seacoast and a longtime friend of Patrick and his family. Surrat, the founding pastor of Seacoast and longtime friend, had just returned from St. Louis, where he spent time comforting Patrick’s family.
Since the news broke of Patrick’s death, Surratt said, churches and church members have been rallying around the family.
Amie Patrick posted a message on her late husband’s Twitter account, expressing thanks to friends and supporters.
“Your kind remembrances of him, photos, stories and encouraging words are healing to our souls,” she wrote.
In the days after getting the call about Patrick’s passing, Surratt said he has been through a range of emotions — grief and anger, sadness and guilt.
“I have cried more in the last 24 hours than I have in the last 24 years,” he said.
When Patrick was fired in 2016 from the Journey Church in St. Louis, Surratt helped lead him through a restoration process that lasted for several years. That led eventually to Patrick becoming a teaching pastor at Seacoast Church.
The two had started a podcast together called The Pastors Collective, where they talked about the struggles and challenges of the ministry.
Surratt said that details of Patrick’s passing remain unclear. Surratt said that Patrick had gone target shooting with a friend on some private property outside of St. Louis. There he suffered a gunshot wound and died.
A police investigation is ongoing, he said.
“What we do know is that he took his own life,” Surratt said. “We don’t know if it was intentional or unintentional.”
Whatever the circumstances of his death, Surratt said that he finds comfort in knowing that his friend is “with Jesus.”
“We look forward to that day when we will all be together again,” he said. “We grieve, but we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.”
For now, however, Patrick’s friends will have to grieve in isolation, due to the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, said Surratt.
A private burial service will be held for the family, but no public service will be held for the time being until after restrictions are lifted. A livestreamed memorial service will be held for Patrick at that time.
Surratt said that grief is part of the cost of friendship. When you love someone, he said, someday you have to say goodbye.
“We consider the years we spent with Darrin and his family and the years he spent at Seacoast to be a gift,” he said. “We want to hold on to those gifts forever, but that is up to God.”