Thousands Farewell Youth Pastor Kris Guglielmucci – Hope 103.2

Thousands Farewell Youth Pastor Kris Guglielmucci

Thousands gathered today for the funeral in Adelaide of youth pastor and musician Kris Guglielmucci - who was tragically killed by lightning on January 23.

By Clare BruceTuesday 2 Feb 2016News

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

Youth pastor Kris Guglielmucci

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.

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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:

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:

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.