Iowa pastor George DB Antrim III commits suicide; Westwind Church healing through communication
A memorial service was held for Westwind Church Pastor George "DB" Antrim III today, following his death last week.
The husband and father committed suicide on May 1. He was 40-years old.
In a May 4 sermon, Senior Pastor Brandon Barker said that Antrim's death was climactic for both himself and the congregation.
"This is kind of a defining moment for our church," Barker said. "It is a defining moment that is going to be remembered by me for as long as I live."
The church in of Johnston, Iowa, was founded five years ago, and Antrim was a member for two and a half years. He became the Family Pastor, and worked closely with the youth members. Following his death, a tip sheet was posted on the church's website to help parents discuss Antrim's death with their children.
Westwind Worship Pastor Brent Minter emphasized the importance of open communication during this difficult time.
"In true community, you have got to talk about it, and you have got to deal with it," Minter told The Des Moines Register.
Pastor Barker facilitated that communication during his Sunday sermon by reading the suicide note Antrim left for him. In his final message to his church leader, Antrim confessed that he had been hiding feelings of despair.
Barker told the congregation that no one has to carry burdens alone.
"You cannot hold on to these things," he insisted. "We have to live in the open. We have to let people know what's going on."
One church member, who worked alongside Antrim in the youth ministry, also said that communication will be the key to healing.
"I don't think it should be hidden," Ashleigh Wright told The Des Moines Register. "I think it should be talked about. We shun death away and we don't deal with it when it happens, and then all those emotions come up. I just think it's a part of life and we need to talk about it."
Antrim is survived by his wife of 17 years, Allison, and two sons, William and Graham. A memorial fund has been established for the family.