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Whitney Houston Mourned at Church Where Her Singing Career Began

Area residents reflect on passing of iconic singer

Hundreds gathered at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark early Sunday to , who began her public singing career as a member of the church's junior gospel choir at age 11.

Many said they were also there to show their support for the Houston family, including her mother, Cissy, who is an active member of the congregation.

"I heard her sing in this church, many times. It was awesome," said longtime parishioner Karen Winfield of West Orange, who referred to the singer's "impetuous smile."

Parishioner Daneen Grayson said Houston's battle against drug abuse "were her struggles, that was between her and God," a sentiment heard often this morning by worshipers filing past a gaggle of reporters into the church.

Sunday's 6:45 a.m. service was an opportunity for the New Hope community to mourn one of its own and to offer support for Houston's mother and other members of the family, who remain active with the century-old congregation.

"We ask for everyone to continue to lift up the Houston family with your prayers," Pastor Joseph Carter told reporters outside the church Sunday morning. "The family shared Whitney with the world but Whitney was a mother, daughter, sister, and that is the focus we want to maintain."

Carter also said he had "no word" on funeral arrangements.

Mourners left flowers in the metal railing of the fence outside the chrurch. A large crowd of reporters and TV crews were kept at a distance from the entrance. Reporters were not allowed inside for the service.

The public address system played a medley of the singer's hit songs.

Houston was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday afternoon. She was 48.

The service at New Hope Baptist was dedicated to the Newark native, whose family later moved to East Orange after the 1967 Newark riots. Houston later owned a home in Mendham Township, where she and her family lived for many years.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker called Houston a "deep part our pride and collective heart."

"A legend has died. As the world mourns the loss of one of the all-time greats, we in Newark feel an especially deep sadness," he said in a written statement. "She will be missed. Our prayers are with her family."

Helene Vondettii February 13, 2012 at 12:10 AM
I was saddened to hear of Whitney's passing. I have always loved her music. The world is a better place because of her music. Her music moves my soul. I'm sure that a lot of others feel the same way. My prayers are with her family.
Yolanda Bennett February 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM
RIP Whitney. My condolences are with the Houston family. Psalm 120:1-2. I will up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the lord, which made heaven and earth. God bless you in your time of sorrow.
Princess Christine Forbes February 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Whitney Houston You had your moment in time and left your love on us all, a person and friend, a mother, a wife, and a voice. You have completed your destiny, and left us peacefully as a seraph should. Your smile, your music and your legacy will live for eternity. Good bye sweet angel, you have found peace at last.
Bernard Mckenzie February 13, 2012 at 01:05 AM
The news of Whitney's death is difficult. I was traveling back home and put a wow gospel 2010 cd in when the first song I heard was Whitney singing " I look to you" What I heard was a beautiful song crying out to God in repentance and comfort. She realized that in her stardom that amidst all of the glamor and fame that none should forsake the love of God, and that her on-going battle only He could remove. Surely the "Voice" as she is call will be missed and though we wrestle with how she died is irrevelant at this time... Let he that is without sin cast the first stone..Whitney no doubt will always be loved and adored by millions.... May the peace of God and His love cover the family and us as well.
German Sanchez February 13, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Marine42247, My condolences to Whitney Houston mother and daughter she is angel in heaven her voice touched my heart many times during the 80's ,90's and 2000 made my heart fell of joy and many others as she will be greatly missed her God given voice touched many hearts and God called you to come and you are in better place in heaven you did your job and was too pass God's message . May your mother and daughter have peace there hearts as you will greatly missed by them both God Bless you all and you safe and remember Whitney Houston in your Hearts forever God Bless and may Whitney Houston ............RIP Peace you are God 's Angel RIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Semper Fi US Marine !! G.Sanchez,JR.
nannette February 13, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Sissy, our father above will give you the strength you need. He will never fail you nor leave you. Hang in there we love you all. nannette
Serita Michelle February 13, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Hello Paul, I need to know did God give you the keys to a HEAVEN OR HELL to put anyone in? Who are you to say who's in the presence of God and who's not? Did Whitney Houstone tell you she was not saved? Or is this God speaking using the name Paul Stolpinski?......I didn't think so because God is a man a wisdom, He speaks at the right time all the time and He deals with people where they are and not where outsiders think they are!!! Unless you have combated all your demons and God told you your perfect you should not be talking with such conviction!!! Just Saying.....
Donna Barto February 13, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Yes, God help her family and friends through this horrible tradgedy. Her voice was one of a kind, I saw her perform in the 80s in Ft. Lauderdale, my son remembers the concert and remembers it and he was only 6 years old. We were truly shocked and sad she died at such a young age. God take care of her - I know you will.
daniel harrington February 13, 2012 at 04:12 AM
to whitney, i love you i have played your music for years, as a dj, i will continue to share your music with the world, i love you and i thank you for sharing your soul with us, rest in peace dear, thank you.
A. Williams February 13, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Paul Stolpinski you amaze me! I had forgiven your earlier comments, but this goes over and beyond the epitome of stupidity. You need psychological help (and if that is not apparent or available to you), I suggest you go live in a cave with an entrance door but no exit. In this way the world will be spared at least one dangerously bigoted ignorant ass of a fool. I remember reading a person like you was responsible for WW11. . . .damn it is scary to believe people like you still exist.
Gayle February 13, 2012 at 05:03 AM
That beautiful voice is now a member of the Heavenly Choir. I'm glad God shared it with us for a little while. Whitney is at peace now and what a beautiful sounding place Heaven must be now. RIP whitney. My heart and my prayers go out to your mother, your daughter, and all your family. You left your mark on this world and I personally will cherish your memory abd beautiful forever. Gayle
Kurt Johnson February 13, 2012 at 08:54 AM
She had demons that she could not kick to the curb. Perhaps now she can rest peacefully. Her congregation will givd her and her family an her little girl much love. Be kind to those whose soulls are more troubled and tortured than your own.
Kurt Johnson February 13, 2012 at 08:57 AM
I DJ'd Karaoke Saturday night and a couple of girls sang Whitney songs and some of the people in the crowd were weeping. (and dont try to make the cruel crack that it was because the persons singing sucked----because they sang them pretty well)
Wild Flower February 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM
My opinion only, Whitney has throughout the years touched a part of my soul with her music,Her voice was outstanding,And Yes Whitney Jesus does love us all, So keep the heavens Glowing with your wonderful songs along with Michael J.,Aaliyah,Selena and all those other wonderful Celebrities that were taken away from this earth way too early when you all had so much more to give, May you Rest In Peace. My condolences to the Houston Family my you all be strong and unite together during this time. God Bless you All!
SANTOSCLEARWATER February 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
R.I.P GODS ANGEL OF SOUL AND AND YOUR HEAVENLY CHURCH SONGS , GOD WILL BE WAITING FOR YOU AT HIS GATES OF HEAVEN . YOU WILL BE MISSED VERY MUCH. FOR ANY BIODY WHO NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT HER DONT POST AT ALKL SHE WAS A PERSON OF LOVE NOT MEAN NESS JUST JOY SO ON THAT NOTE R.I.P WHITNEY I YOUR MUSIC FOR EVER
Carolyn Murdock February 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Everything has already been said about Whitney Houston. Her talent was truly God-given. Anyone who heard her sing, knows this. Whitney was LOVED by so many people. NO one thought of her as either black or white. She was beauty and talent, personified. I've personally never heard anyone with such a glorious voice. Surely, today she is singing in Heaven in the presence of The Lord !!! Can you imagine her voice with a chorus of angels? I can't even begin to. Thank God we had her for as long as we did. My heart breaks for her daughter, and friends. I hope God's peace will give them strength.
Marco February 13, 2012 at 01:42 PM
A time for everything not only are fellow Christians bashing the dead which she can not hear your words,, but all of you continue to bash one another and your alive but not alive in the spirit...Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked
Marco February 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. forbearance = tolerant of others. we all fall short of the glory so no one can boast only by grace are we saved Jesus blood covers a multitude of sin. No sin is greater than the next,,,,next time you tell someone to answer the phone and you tell them to say your not there!!! think is that a lie ????1 Timothy 1:10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
Marco February 13, 2012 at 02:04 PM
May God have mercy on us all R.I.P Whitney,, Our deepest condolences to Whitney's Mother and Daughter to her extended family and friends may you find comfort at this very difficult time your in my family prayers and your in our thoughts may God bless you and keep you. Selah
Marco February 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Romans 10:6-7 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b] (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
Marco February 13, 2012 at 03:39 PM
What is natural to "the flesh" (the carnal nature) when we have been hurt or abused or insulted is to strike back, to plot revenge, or to simmer in bitterness. This is "only human". But God requires forgiveness, else He will NOT forgive us. If we are unwilling--or unable--to forgive, then there is no use asking God for what He has told us He will not give. For believers, dealing with the sin of unforgiveness is first priority. Mark 11:25 (NIV) "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
CB February 13, 2012 at 03:42 PM
What a load of BS.
greengirl February 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Stop screaming you are giving me a headache!
Deborah olson February 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM
RIP YOU WILL BE MISSED
Yecenia February 14, 2012 at 08:57 AM
U know what....where Whitney is is between her and God at this point. My best hope is that becuase she was saved that that decision to accept her Lord and Savior was not in vain. I just don't believe that the word of God is ever in vain and we know that Whitney knew the Word. If you listen to "I Look To You" Whitney sings...."As I lay me down, heaven hear my cry...I am lost without a cause after giving it my all and every road that was taken lead to my regret and I don't know if I am going to make it....who on earth can I turn to....I look to You." That is just chilling to me it is as if she was singing her own eulogy. It is exactly her life and she speaks of God. God is good even when we don't deserve it. Because I serve a loving God, I have to believe that he would have reached out to his daughter, Whitney, even if she was on drugs. He told her he loved her even in her very imperfect state. Seven days before Whitney died, I was watching The Preachers Wife and scenes of her singing in church...something came over me to pray for Whitney for some odd reason. My prayer was that God would touch her where ever she was and deliver her from darkness. Seven days later to the day, she was gone. People, we serve a merciful and loving God who is not like man. Whitney is with the angels, not because she was a saint but because she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. Love & Peace to her family especially Bobbi Chris who I think should now change her last name 2 Houston.
Marco February 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM
The Narrow and Wide Gates 13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:21-23 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but --only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! Luke 13:25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Lord, open the door for us!' But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from."
Marco February 14, 2012 at 12:26 PM
No one can strip us from God's hand As a christian you wanting her daughter to strip her name from her earthly father is not accurate. That would be dishonoring her father,,,he did nothing more wrong to deserve his daughter to do that to him she is his daughter forever and you cant take that from him even by removing his last name,,,,God gave that man his daughter and he gave her that name and so did Whitney respect Whitney as the mother and Bobby as the father Bobby and Bobby Christina learn from this grow stronger together as father and Daughter live life according to God's will not your own or according to other people Whitney is in God's hands now have faith in that.. know we serve a merciful god a wonderful God,,,God does not respect what people say,,,,and neither should you,,,,you cling to one another protect nurture love one another that is what God wants you to do,,,,not separate, dishonor you father or mother or even you self, let this be a message to grow closer together and closer to GOD.....
Robin Bartee February 14, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Although we would like to choose every step someone we love makes, please be sure that it's impossible. To her family, I wish you love and my sincere condolence during your time of lost. Whitney Houston's songs will live forever!
rosebud February 16, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Why can't she be remembered and appreciated for the music she gave to us. She was a song bird, she inspired us with her gift of song even praising his name. Why do we have to harp on her weaknesses, how did that affect me or you? That affected the people who were around her, her family and loved ones, so its not our business to comment of it. We got the best of her...and she should be remembered for that...Whitney girl...you were my girl...I loved your music and will continue to listen to it and enjoy it...to the end of my time...
sabrina January 08, 2013 at 07:07 AM
I love whitney houston I meet her greatest love of all concert I took a photo with my girl who I also o got a chance to hug her and kiss her and autograph photo and kiss her and took s photo holding hands with I will always love you whitney houston the voice my icon my legend I grew up her music she is my favorite female singer of all female singer yes that's right thadiva speaks highly of the one and only whitney houston her spirit dwells inside of me she even talks to me I also talk to whitney houston face to face after the concert I said whitney I love Nd she said I love you to baby it feel good to have your favorite singer tell you that that love you as much S you love them my girl I got nothing but love for you whitney houston I truly do adore and love a whole lot love you whitney houston baby.

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