Memorial and Thanksgiving Service after the Death of a Young Person

Here are resources for a service to celebrate and give thanks for the life of a young person. The service is suitable for use after a sudden and unexpected death – maybe after an accident, suicide or sudden illness. At the heart and centre of this service are the siblings and young friends of the deceased.  This is a service which allows young people to celebrate the life of their friend in a dignified but contemporary way.  Because it is not a funeral service there can be some time before the service to plan what will happen.  Some of these plans might well involve a large number of people.

See Ideas for a Service of Thanksgiving for a Young Person.          


Opening Responses        

When understanding is gone, and confusion overwhelms
remember we are not alone.

When nothing makes sense and pain seems all around
remember we are not alone.

When life feels fragile and not so secure
remember we are not alone.

Remember we are all together
and together we will get through.                                                                       

Bible Readings                  

John 11.33-36 Jesus wept
John 13.34 Love one another
Romans 12.15-21 Live in peace with everyone
Romans 8.38-39 Nothing can separate us from the love of God

Other Readings – see Readings and Reflections for Funerals                


Everyone speaks the words in bold and then each person, or people, stand up and say the relevant line and then sit down again.

Thank you, God, for N’s life
Thank you for N being our/my son/daughter
Thank you for N being our/my grandchild
Thank you for N being my/our brother/sister
Thank you for N being my/our friend

Continue with suitable lines

Thank you for N being in our football team
Thank you for N being our colleague
Thank you for N being…

We all knew N and our lives were enriched by that knowing.
Thank you,God, for N’s life and the way it touched our lives. May his/her memory live on in all of us forever.

When a young person dies we may want to scream and shout, ‘Why God? Why now? Why him/her? When there is so much evil in the world, when there are so many bad people, why did he/she have to die?’ And God looks on and knows our pain, and sadness, and anger, and sorrow. God’s son Jesus also died young, and all he ever wanted was to help people love each other and be happy. And yet he died in a most terrible way.  So God does understand. God reaches out and loves us, and holds us in our sadness, and walks beside us in our journey of grief. In time God helps us to make sense of what has happened and leads us to healing. 

Hymns and Songs – see Hymns and Songs for Funerals

Recorded Music – see Recorded Music for Funerals

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