WAYLAND (CBS) – There was an overflow of tears, and an overflow of friends and acquaintances at the First Parish church in Wayland as the community gathered to celebrate the life of 18 year old Lauren Astley.
The Wayland teenager’s body was found in a marshy area of the town on July 4th, the accused killer her on-again, off-again boyfriend 18 year old Nate Fujita.
After days of mourning the devastating loss, the two-hour program was filled with remembrances, prayer and songs that reflected the young woman’s life.
“Lauren was a wonderful, sweet girl,” said her former Sunday school teacher Peeky Abbott. “Such potential and such a bright future.”
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports
There were tributes by some of her best friends, songs by The Muses, the acapella group in which she was a member. Her voice could be heard in a recording of the song “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie”, in which Lauren once played the starring role.
Her father Malcolm Astley called her a butterfly they had to let go and honored her talent and zest for life. But he also used the moment to address the concern of teen dating violence.
“We can better inform our young people about the challenge of love’s powerful influence on our lives,” he said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Kim Tunnicliffe reports
It was a backdrop to the service that was powerful for many.
“I’m hoping more people are moved as I am to remedy the communication gap between boys and girls,” said Nikki Davis who attended the service, but never met Lauren Astley.
Others hoped the family would find comfort by the community outpouring.
“I hope they know there’s always new life in ways we don’t understand, and I hope they know the community does care,” said Rev. Stephen Voysey of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in the neighboring town of Weston.
On the program Lauren Astley’s family encouraged donations to a fund in her name that promotes educational programs, including the development of healthy teen relationships.