A stunned NorthPointe Community Church congregation gathered Sunday night to remember and grieve for children’s pastor Eddie Crain, who collapsed shortly after giving his sermon for the morning’s 8 a.m. service.
He was rushed to a hospital, but died of what Senior Pastor Steve Williams called a “cardiac event.”
Crain was 39.
Crain had delivered his Sunday sermon for the 8 a.m. service and had stepped behind the stage when he collapsed. The northwest Fresno congregation canceled its 9:30 a.m. service. Then Williams announced on the church’s Facebook page and its website the sad news.
“He literally had just poured his heart out in his passion to make a difference for kids. Please pray for his family and for all who will be so deeply impacted by this loss to us all,” Williams wrote. He added: “We especially want to pray for his wife Kari and his five sons as they walk through this surreal journey.”
He literally had just poured his heart out in his passion to make a difference for kids.
NorthPointe Senior Pastor Steve Williams
Sunday evening, more than 1,100 people gathered at the church for a service to remember Crain and his impact on the church and its families. Williams explained what happened and offered parents advice on how to talk to their children about Crain’s death.
The church also offered counseling to children and parents.
Church leaders asked reporters not to talk to members of the congregation Sunday night, but many of the children and parents attending the service cried softly as pastors talked about Crain’s life and the morning’s events.
Church officials said Crain was the father of five boys, the youngest 7 and the oldest a college sophomore.
On the church’s Facebook page, more than 300 people offered condolences, prayers and comments. Many of the people commenting praised Crain’s work with their children. Some said he was one of the reasons they initially chose to attend the church at 4625 W. Palo Alto Ave., near Herndon and Milburn avenues.
Some churches also offered prayers for Crain’s family and the NorthPointe congregation.