Above: A sign at today’s funeral, depicting Kris Guglielmucci. Photo: Journalist Steve Rice, Twitter
The Christian community of Adelaide poured out their grief and tributes today at the funeral of youth pastor and musician Kris Guglielmucci – who was tragically killed by lightning on January 23.
Thousands, including some who had flown in from overseas, packed the auditorium of Adelaide’s Edge Church and lifted their hands in worship despite their grief, as they farewelled the 39-year-old.
Kris, who has left behind a wife and four children, was the much-loved youth pastor of Victory Church in Pooraka, one of Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and a former member of worship band Planetshakers.
Freak Accident During A Summer Youth Camp
Kris was killed by a lightning bolt that struck during a ferocious electrical storm, while he and 150 teenagers were in the middle of their annual four-day Summerfest youth camp at the school Cornerstone College.
He was out on a sports oval at the time of the strike.
Could Not Be Revived
According to a Seven News report, two of the youth leaders – who were paramedics – attempted to resuscitate Kris before an ambulance arrived.
Kris was rushed to a nearby hospital but attempts to revive him failed, while a young woman who had also been injured on the leg by the lightning strike, survived.
The rest of the youth camp was cancelled but the next evening a final session was held; a gathering of young people not in celebration, but in shock and mourning.
Youth leaders offered prayer and emotional support, and professional counsellors were also available to provide counselling.
Loved For His Music And Passion For Youth
Watch: A Planetshakers song written by Kris Guglielmucci (performed by Henry Seeley)
The pastor of Victory Church, Tony Rainbow, described Kris as a “fun-loving, much-loved member” of the church community.
“Most of the kids [in the church youth group] would not only have known him, but adored him and possibly seen him as a father figure,” Mr Rainbow told the Adelaide Advertiser.
Kris was known and admired not only in Adelaide but around the world through his involvement with the international Planetshakers youth movement.
He composed at least 16 Planetshakers worship songs including I Will Praise, You Are My Life, I am Home, and All That I Want, according to the Christian copyright body CCLI.
Tributes On Social Media
After his funeral today, a Facebook search showed that 55,000 people were “talking about” Kris on the social media platform.
Tributes have been flowing on social media since his death, from young people, colleagues, ministers and musicians, including evangelist Tim Hall, recording artist Roma Waterman, pastor Joel A’Bell from Hillsong Church, Chris Sebastian (brother of Guy), and UK-based speaker and author Mal Fletcher:
I’m sorry, this seems so very inadequate. Davina and I loved Kris Guglielmucci from the time he was a boy. We respected him hugely for the man of principled & creative leadership & strong family values we watched him become. Our hearts are broken for Lisa and their beautiful children & for our very dear friends Danny & Sharonne. Thank you Kris for leaving us a legacy of rock solid faith, integrity, passion and creativity. You were like a nephew to us. Thank you Lord for such an outstanding example for us all. Kris, your legacy will live on in a great many people. You were always young at heart and always focused on the prize. (@dannygug)
A Family Familiar With Hardship
Kris’s parents, Pastor Danny Guglielmucci and his wife Sharonne, are the founders of Edge Church – the church where the funeral was held – formerly known as Southside AOG, established in 1994.
The pastors have contended with much unexpected family hardship in recent years; their other son and Kris’s brother Mike Guglielmucci publicly confessed in 2008 he had been battling a long-term pornography addiction.
On Twitter, Pastor Danny yesterday wrote about Kris, “For ever in my heart and mind can’t imagine life without him . Can’t wait to see him in heaven”. Today, he expressed gratitude:
Never thought I would live this day , the funeral of my son . I’m grateful for 39 great years . Gods peace is real . See u in heaven Kris xx
— Danny Guglielmucci (@DannyGug) February 1, 2016
Lightning Strikes A Very Real Danger
Authorities have reminded the public of the important steps to take if you are stuck outside during an electrical storm: find shelter, avoid water, open spaces, trees and power poles, and if in an open space, crouch down with knees and feet together.
The lightning strike that killed Kris Guglielmucci was one of more than 100,000 strikes recorded across South Australia that day, according to Channel Nine.