Seacoast Church in South Carolina has announced that a medical examiner has ruled the death of Pastor Darrin Patrick to be a suicide.
“We are devastated by this news,” said the church in a statement posted to its website on July 2. “We do not know, and may not ever know or fully understand the reasons behind this tragedy. We are reminded that we are often unaware of the ways that those close to us are hurting and struggling. We will recommit ourselves to loving those around us and making sure that they truly know how precious their lives are.”
Darrin Patrick died at age 49 on May 7, 2020, from a bullet fired at close range while he was target shooting with a friend in rural Franklin County, Missouri. Authorities did not suspect foul play and were waiting on the autopsy report to close the case. Thursday, the Office of the Regional Medical Examiner in St. Charles released its findings that the gunshot that took the pastor’s life was indeed self-inflicted. Patrick leaves behind his wife, Amie, and their four children.
Seacoast Church: Please Reach Out for Help
Darrin Patrick was the teaching pastor at Seacoast Church and the founder of The Journey church in St. Louis, Missouri. He pastored at The Journey for 14 years before being fired in 2016 for “historical patterns of sin” and for “inappropriate meetings, conversations and phone calls with two women,” although not for adultery. Describing himself as “horrified” by his sin and the harm it had caused, Patrick pursued a path of restoration that included in-depth counseling and apologizing to those he had wronged.
Seacoast Church’s founding pastor, Greg Surratt, was involved in this process and called it “deeply flawed” and “destructive at times.” Even though Surratt voiced his concerns, Patrick told him he wanted to see his restoration plan through. Said Surratt, “The landscape was littered at that point with leaders who fell and chose not to submit to a process of restoration. And he didn’t want that.” As Patrick recovered and began sharing his story, he eventually came on staff at Seacoast. He and Surratt started a podcast called The Pastors Collective with the goal of helping church leaders with their challenges.
Seacoast Church concluded its statement by imploring people not to hide their mental health struggles: “We urge anyone who is struggling with depression, despair, or suicidal thoughts to reach out for help. We have resources available for anyone who needs them, as well as more information about Darrin and ways to support his family, at seacoast.org/darrinpatrick.”