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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
July 22, 1995
Here is the text of the letter that the Rev. Timothy Brewer sent to his church before he committed suicide:
These are some of the most strange and difficult words that I have ever attempted to write. How I came to be in this emotional state, I honestly do not know. Ever since the accident, it seems that I’ve been fighting a losing battle with depression and despair. I write this letter, neither to justify my behavior nor to make anyone feel guilty for what has happened, but rather to apologize to our entire church. I know of nothing which any of you could have done to change my situation. Outof the countless sins that I have committed in this life, it is my own wretched weakness for which I am most ashamed.
In the history of this great church, my office has been held by many fine and godly men. I am deeply ashamed to know that I am the first one to fail it so miserably. I assure you, however, that this was never my intention. It seems that I am having some sort of “nervous breakdown,” and it is a terrifying feeling. Some of you even tried to warn me about the folly of trying to do too much, too soon (God bless those of you who did). But the truth of the matter is, once I had jumped back in “full steam,” it seemed that there was just no slowing down.
God forgive me for not being any stronger than I am. But when a minister becomes clinically depressed, there are very few places where he can turn for help (at least not without ruining his ministry). I did try to seek help where I could. I even went to see a local psychiatrist. Though not a believer, he is a fine man. He put me on Prozac; then he doubled the dosage; and still it feels as if I’m sinking farther and farther into a downward spiral of depression. I feel like a drowning man, tryingfrantically to lift up my head to take just one more breath. But one way or the other, I know that I am going down.
Forgive me for being such an unfaithful shepherd. But never doubt that God’s Word remains true, even if the messenger is fallen. Upon that one hope, I have staked my entire life. Whatever desperate or foolish things I have done, it does not (and cannot) nullify the Word of God. I would implore you, as the spiritual leaders of our church, to remind our members of that great truth in this time of crisis. I would also beg you not to shun my family because of my own sinful deeds. I am even more terrified for them at this moment than I am for myself. I have no right to ask this (or anything else) of you, but I would urge you, gentlemen, to recognize that my family needs your help now more than ever before.
May God have mercy upon my soul for the damage which I have caused to His church, His name, and – worst of all – to my own beloved family. It has always been true, but now, more than ever, I know that my only hope is in the blood of Christ.
Yours in the Name of Our Blessed Lord,
Our Only Hope in Life and Death,
Record Number: 9507220437