New Hope Baptist Church in Newark is mourning the death of one of their own, the megastar Whitney Houston, who spent her childhood there rehearsing for the career that would amaze and please so many. According to the Religion News Service, Houston’s mother, Emily Cissy Houston, served as the music minister at New Hope Baptist for more than 50 years. During a service focused on the life of Houston, Rev. Joe Carter prayed fervently for Houston’s mother and family and for themselves in their loss.
“One of the greatest voices of our time has been silenced, but she has left so much for us to live on,” Carter said. “She left enough and so much for us to remember her for the rest of our lives, not only our lives but for generations that didn’t even know her.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson was on hand to speak of the importance of the church in Houston’s life, how it was “where she found her joy” and was “the source of Whitney’s soul.” Houston would regularly visit New Hope Baptist even after she became a superstar, never forgetting her roots. She would sit and worship just like the others, with no one clamoring for autographs.
Houston’s friend Jackie Kimble remembers singing in the alto section of the choir with Houston: “She had a voice that would just make you smile, because you knew the songs she was singing were uplifting to the glory of God and she’s left an indelible mark here at the New Hope Baptist Church and around the world,” Kimble said.
Officials are still determining the cause of Houston’s death. She was 48.