A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa

A Service
for the Funeral of a Child

The death of a child brings a specially devastating grief to the family. The Funeral Service may be used with appropriate options, but this shorter service will often be preferred.

Its simplicity and concern for the needs of the bereaved reveals Christ’s care for little children.

The following form may be supplemented at the discretion of the minister.

All standing, the minister may greet the people.

The minister says

NN, (Parents),
we have come here today
to commend N to our heavenly Father;
and to commit her/his body to be buried/cremated;
to assure you of God’s everlasting love,
to share in your sorrow
and to offer you comfort and support.

The Lord will tend the flock like a shepherd;
embracing the lambs together and nursing them. Isaiah 40:11

Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.’ Mark 10:14

The minister prays

Heavenly Father,
your Son took little children
into his arms and blessed them.
Grant to us now the assurance that N is encircled
by those arms of love.
In the midst of our grief
strengthen our faith and hope
in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Reading from the Scriptures may follow.

The following, or another appropriate Psalm, may be said.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd:
therefore can I lack nothing.
2 You Lord make me lie down in green pastures:
and lead me beside the waters of peace.
3 You revive my spirit:
and guide me in right pathways for your name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for you are with me,
your rod and your staff are my comfort.
5 You spread a table for me
in the sight of my enemies:
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is overflowing.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
  Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever.   Amen.

The Address

The minister may speak to the people.

The Prayers

One of the following prayers is said.

The minister says.

Let us pray

God of all compassion,
you make nothing in vain
and love all you have created.
Comfort (these) your servants (NN)
whose hearts are weighed down by grief and sorrow.
Lift them up,
and grant that they may so love and serve you in this life,
that together with N,
your child and theirs,
they may obtain the fulness of your promises
in the age to come;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Loving Father,
we thank you for the gift of N (this child),
and for the blessing s/he brought to our lives.
Help us now to entrust her/him
to your never-failing care and love,
and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

The Commendation

The minister says

Into God’s loving care and compassion,
into the arms of that infinite mercy,
we commend N (this child)
in the assurance that s/he will share
in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

The service continues with The Committal or The Lord’s Prayer.

The Committal

If The Committal takes place immediately, the minister says

The Lamb who is at the heart of the throne
will be their shepherd
and will guide them to the springs of the water of life;
and God will wipe all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:17

The minister prays

We have entrusted N to God’s merciful keeping,
and we now commit her/his body to be buried/cremated,
earth to earth,
ashes to ashes,
dust to dust;
in the sure and certain hope
of the resurrection to eternal life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The minister prays for the family.

Loving God,
be with us as we face the mystery of life and death.
Strengthen the bonds of this family
as they bear their loss.

Help them to go from here
with courage and confidence in your care and love;
through our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Prayer is said in one of the following forms,
or in the form on page 863.

With faith and hope we pray

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.    Amen.

I runga i te whakapono me te tūmanako,
ka īnoi tātou

E tō mātou Matua i te rangi
Kia tapu tōu Ingoa.
Kia tae mai tōu rangatiratanga.
Kia meatia tāu e pai ai
ki runga ki te whenua,
kia rite anō ki tō te rangi.
Hōmai ki a mātou āianei
he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.
Murua ō mātou hara,
Me mātou hoki e muru nei
i ō te hunga e hara ana ki a mātou.
Āua hoki mātou e kawea kia whakawaia;
Engari whakaorangia mātou i te kino:
Nōu hoki te rangatiratanga, te kaha,
me te korōria,
Āke ake ake.    Āmine.

The priest concludes with the following or some other appropriate blessing.

May Christ the Good Shepherd
enfold you with love,
fill you with peace,
and lead you in hope,
this day and all your days.

(A lay minister says the prayer using ‘us’ instead of ‘you’).