Time to Remember - Water Bugs and Dragonflies

This service is based on the book Water Bugs and Dragonflies - explaining death to children by Doris Stickney published by the Pilgrim Press 2004.  The service takes that theme and develops it into a complete service of remembrance. At the front of the gathering there is a table or altar.  On the altar is a blue cloth and placed on the cloth paper water lilies and water lily leaves (see Gallery photos and templates in How to Make). On the centre of each water lily place a lit votive candle.  In the days leading up to the service ask people for names of people who have died so that they may be read out. 

The Gathering

On arrival everyone is given a pencil and a brightly-coloured paper dragonfly wrapped up in a piece of brown paper (see template of dragonfly in How to Make).


We have gathered here today to remember and give thanks for those we have known and loved and who have now died.  Our theme will be based on a small
book called Water Bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney which is a beautiful, gentle exploration about death and resurrection.            

Opening Responses        

Life has many mysteries.
We do not have all the answers. 

Jesus told us he was going ahead to prepare a place for us.
Let us live as people of hope and expectation. 

Hymn – Lord, we pray be near us (see Hymns for Funerals)                                

Water Bugs and Dragonflies
The story is now read out loud. 

Bible Readings 
Choose one of the following:

John 14.1-3 There are many rooms in my Father’s house
1 Corinthians 15.42-43 The body is buried mortal and raised immortal
1 Corinthians 15.51-54 We shall be changed and shall reign for ever and ever

Other Readings – see Readings and Reflections for Funerals                 

From Water Bug to Dragonfly 

The bottom of the pond is muddy and dark
There is fear of the unknown
There is loneliness as things change
There is the desperation of being left behind
Not knowing, not understand
Watching and waiting                                            
Then the journey comes
Up the stem
What waits beyond?
Dancing together in joy with those who went before
And who will come after
© Tessa Wilkinson.

Hymn – Abide with me                             


We have heard the story read to us of the way in which the water bug becomes the dragonfly and then flies free into the sky.  Now we are going to re-enact this symbolically. First, by taking the dragonfly from the paper wrapping we are being reminded of our transformation from this earthly life to a new heavenly life. Then, we may name the dragonfly as the one we have loved and are remembering; we do this by writing their name on the dragonfly’s wings. Finally, we may take the dragonfly and place it amongst the water lilies to remind ourselves that our loved ones have broken through the surface of the water to fly free with God.

After this the names of those being remembered tonight are read out in alphabetical order.



All through the New Testament Jesus used parables to teach those around him. He told stories about everyday life events to illustrate his Good News message. The same is being done in the story of Water Bugs and Dragonflies; it carries a message of delight, for life after death, freedom, light and hope. Let us pray that we will understand that message, take it into our hearts and rejoice in the wonderful freedom and new life that awaits us after we die.  Free from illness, disability and pain. Washed in the light of love.

God, we feel the pain of loss and separation.   
Help to heal that pain. 

God, we want to believe.
Help our unbelief. 

God, we want so much for our loved ones to return and tell us that all is well.
Help us to believe the message of hope that Jesus gave us.       

God, we thank you for all we were given by those who have died.
Let us journey on with those memories and use them well in our lives.

God, we pray we will live our lives as if each day were a precious gift.
May we know that at our end we shall be reunited with those we have loved and who have loved us.

God, we pray that your message of new life and new hope will be one we can believe in and celebrate.
In your love, Lord, we shall have new life, new birth, and new freedom. 

We offer these prayers to God our Father, in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer


The Dismissal                     

Dear God, may we look backwards with gratitude, forwards with courage and upwards with confidence.

Go out with your life renewed in the hope of all the good things to come.

Live well and believe that all shall be well.

The blessing of God…

Hymns and Songs – see Hymns and Songs for Funerals

Recorded Music – see Recorded Music for Funerals 

Log In