Inland Hills Church members in Chino mourn loss of pastor to suicide

CHINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Members of a church in Chino have taken to Facebook in an outpouring of grief as they learned about their lead pastor's suicide.

The suicide of Andrew Stoecklein, the lead pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino, is touching thousands through the church's Facebook page, including Shakella Washington.

"Andrew was an amazing pastor and even better father, husband and friend," Washington said. "He adored his wife and his boys. He loved his church family."

"Inland Hills Church grieves with heavy hearts as our Lead Pastor Andrew Stoecklein was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday night after battling depression and anxiety," the church posted to Facebook.

"It's tragic, it's sad, but pastor Andrew was open with us a couple of weeks ago about his depression, his anxiety," Washington said.

Last week, the church shared through Facebook that the pastor was on life support, after trying to take his own life Friday morning.

"When you go to someone for guidance, you me, the baby, we're putting all of our worries and stress on that person also, and who does that person have to go to?" Washington said. "So, just imagine carrying the weight of so many people."

On Facebook, the church said:

"In his time leading Inland Hills, Andrew reached so many with his warm wit, passionate heart for God, and teaching that always, always pointed others to Jesus."

Stoecklein leaves behind his wife and three sons. He was 30 years old.

We reached out to the church, but so far have not heard back.

It's unclear how long the pastor had been battling depression and anxiety. He took over the church after his father David died in 2015 after battling leukemia.

Through its Facebook page, the church encourages anyone hurting emotionally to ask for help, providing the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

If you need someone to talk to about suicide, you can find several helpful resources here at the website for California mental health resources.
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