Beloved 53-Year-Old Pastor Dies Suddenly on Ski Trip

(Venture Christian Church/Facebook)

A Northern California church was shocked to learn Sunday that its pastor had suddenly died during a skiing trip just a few days earlier.

Craig Jutila, 53, of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, suffered a major heart attack while taking his family skiing in Lake Tahoe on Dec. 26.

"We are grieving the loss of our family ministry pastor, teaching pastor, Craig Jutila," Tim Lundy, senior pastor at the church, told the congregation Sunday morning. The announcement was live-streamed on Facebook.

"We found out that Craig passed away from a heart attack on the slopes," Lundy said.

A press release from the ski resort, Sierra-at-Tahoe, said he Jutila was found unconscious and paramedics tried to resuscitate him but he was later pronounced dead by the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

"This sudden and terrible news has stunned us all, and we are grieving with Craig's family. Please keep his wife, Mary, as well as their kids, Alec, Cameron, and Karimy in your prayers. Their loss is immeasurable and we want to surround them with love and prayer," Lundy wrote in a statement on Facebook.

"Craig's leadership as pastor of Family Ministries has made such a difference in our church. His writing and speaking ministry to families has helped countless homes and lives around the world. He will be missed as a pastor, leader, and teacher, but most of all, as our friend. This news is so hard to believe, as just a couple of days ago he was hosting all our Christmas services. Now he is gone," Lundy added.

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