Remembering Maria Sue Chapman

Yesterday I wrote about the tragic news out of Nashville of the death of Maria, the five year old daughter of US Christian Singer, Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife MaryBeth.

This morning I spoke to pastor, musician and broadcaster, Mike Rayson, who lives in Nashville and is walking a similar journey after losing his eldest son in an accident just over a year ago. Mike joined me live on the phone during my morning radio programme on 98.5 Sonshine FM in Perth, Western Australia. The interview is a touching discussion on the accident which took Maria’s life and the heartbreak of losing a child.

You can hear the interview and get a glimpse into the road ahead for the Chapman family by clicking play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

A statement has been released on Steven Curtis Chapman’s official website.

NASHVILLE, TN…5/21/08… At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.

More than five years ago, Chapman and his wife MaryBeth founded The Shaohannah’s Hope Ministry after bringing their first adopted daughter, Shaohannah, home from China. The ministry’s goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans from around the world. Chapman is a five-time GRAMMY ® winner and 54-time Dove Award-winning artist who has sold over 10 million albums and garnered 44 No. 1 singles.

For those in the Nashville area who would like to remember Maria at her funeral or at a memorial service, details have been posted at Steven Curtis Chapman’s website.

Funeral Arrangements for Maria Sue Chapman

Friday May 23rd Visitation 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday May 24th Memorial service 11:00 a.m.

Christ Presbyterian Church
2323 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN
(615) 373-2311

A website has been set up in memory of Maria. You can visit In Memory of Maria to leave your condolences for the family.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Rodney, thank you so much for your message which was sent to my personal email account and thanks for setting up this web page in remembrance of Maria Sue Chapman.

    We will continue to lift up the Chapmans in prayer – we pray that God will give them His strength to cope with this loss in the weeks and months ahead. This journey called ‘life’ is no easy one…but at least we know that God is with us in this journey, along with some of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The journey is a temporary one…we are passing through. Our final destination is heaven…where we spend an eternity with God, our heavenly Father….however, some like Maria Sue get there sooner.

    Today I listened to the song ‘ Cinderella’…could not hold back the tears…just reading the words made me think of the sweet and lovely Maria Sue, who is gone to be with her heavenly Dad.

    With all our love and prayers from Beijing, China
    Winsome Peter
    The Beijing International Christian Fellowship (BICF)

  • Thank you for the email, Rodney. Our family continues to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Christ for the Chapmans. They have been on our prayer lists for years… as we’ve been listening to Steven’s music from the beginning… for the Lord to help them and give them strength and wisdom as they continue sharing about Christ with others through their lives and songs… but now we are lifting up much deeper prayers on their behalf. Especially for their dear son.

    Their family has blessed us with anthems for our heart’s cries during our times of tribulation, suffering and heartache. Their songs have given us the ability to be comforted and to comfort others. Now, we mourn and grieve, in hope, with them. They have become part of our family and we love them very much.

    In Christ’s love, Sara and Family

  • We will continue to pray for the each of Chapmans to heal and be renewed and encouraged after this tragedy. We pray God’s Holy hands come down on them and lift them up to bring God’s showering love and comfort and peace in this time of sorrow. May all gentleness, mercies and compassion be on the children one to another and the parents to the children. And may they hold on to Jesus as they have in times past and grow increasingly blessed a millionfold to show God’s great healing and love in exchange for their sorrows – for all the days of their lives until we see Maria again.

    In Christ,

    Deb D.

  • Rodney-
    Thank you so much for the amended information. As I said in my note, I have been thru this with an adopted sibling and the tremendous strain and stress this puts on a family is inundating. Each member has to deal with their grief in their own way and remember to “be there” for eachother and to rally to the defense of the member that is “having a bad day”. It is only in the complete faith and trust in our father to lead us to the understanding of his larger plan. Being as we are only human, it takes complete belief in the father, son and holy spirit to allow this understanding to be accepted. My prayers and thoughts are with the whole family and may they feel the loving arms of their extended “family” surrounding them during this time of grief.

    Most Sincerely,

    Loree Larsen

  • Great interview, Rodney! My heart is also burdened for the Chapmans and I’ve been praying that God will get the glory from this incident. Blessings also to the Mike Rayson family who lost their son and almost lost another son.

  • Dear Steven and Mary Beth,

    I am so sorry for your loss. God is a mighty and gracious God, and He will comfort your hearts at this time. Know that He cries with you, and that you have many many prayers that are being said for you and your entire family.

  • Hi Rodney. How are Mike and Amy going? I went to school with Amy and my mum looked after their kids. I was shocked when my mum called about Sam, and then when Mike confirmed it, it was heartbreaking.

  • I’m so sorry to hear of your tragedy, Steven, Beth & Family. We here in Canada have been so blessed by your music. So we want to share in your grief to help to alleviate a pain that we can’t really share in reality. But Jesus can. Our Father gave Him, His only Son for us. So He knows your tears and we along with the Lord, are sharing these also.

  • Dear Chapman family,

    I am so saddend to hear of the trajic death of your dear daughter, Maria. I, too, am the adoptive mother of a precious 5 year old daugher from China and I just cannot imagine the anguish of this loss to your family. May you experience the comfort of God’s loving embrace in a deep and profound way.

    I read some unkind and unnecessary comments regarding the death of your daughter and I pray you will not take them to heart and am sure you have taken every reasonable precaution to protect your daughter. The reality is it is not in our control to protect our children from every possible danger in life. Only God can do that and, while I cannot understand why He would allow this, I cannot question His lovingkindness. I pray that you will experience His grace and forgiveness at a time when I can imagine torturing yourself. He brought your little Maria into your lives (and you into hers) for a good reason. You have shown her the love of Jesus Christ and now she can now know Him for all eternity in Heaven.

    I will continue to pray that you will cherish the memories of the time you had with your “Cinderella” and be comforted by the hope that one day you will see her again in Heaven.

    With love in Christ,

    Jill Horton

  • How sad it is to lose a child through any means. I know, because I lost the only son I had many years ago. And how hard it must be for the son who caused this accidental death – this will be a very difficult time for him and my heart goes out to him. My prayers are with this family and I really feel for them. I haven’t followed the Chapman’s lives at all but your post caught my attention Rodney and it seems as the years pass my passion for children and their families grows stronger – something I feel that God is doing within.

  • We can all learn from it. You may wish to read my new essay on the Steven Curtis Chapman tragedy, ‘From Grief to Grace’ –

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