Church members pray for pastor after son's suicide - Apr 8th, 2013 - National

— Members of the Rev. Rick Warren's Southern California church are praying for the popular evangelical pastor, as he and his family cope with the apparent suicide of his 27-year-old son, Matthew.

Tom Holladay, teaching pastor at Saddleback Church, opened weekend worship services by saying the congregation would face the tragedy together, "as a church family." Holladay is Rick Warren's brother-in-law and was Matthew Warren's uncle.

Rick Warren was not in attendance Sunday, the day after the church announced that his son took his own life at his Mission Viejo home. The church said the younger Warren had struggled all his life with mental illness, deep depression and suicidal thoughts.

Rick Warren, the author of the multimillion-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life," said in an email to church staff that he and his wife had enjoyed a fun Friday evening with their son, but Matthew then went home and took his life in a moment of despair.

Rick Warren posted a message on Twitter Sunday saying he was "overwhelmed" by the love and support the family has received.