Family, friends, fans and people around the World said goodbye to singing superstar Whitney Houston who died last weekend. Held in the Newark, New Jersey church, where Whitney had sung as a child, the funeral was ll that is great about gospel. Barring the what may have seemed excessive to people in other countries,"God be praised" the funeral service was a celebration f her life.
A choir dressed in white lifted the sombre day. Their tuneful voices rang out with gusto. In the UK SkyNews and BBC News 24 showed the funeral in full. Online streaming also brought the events in Newark to many countries. A single camera it was said had been placed in the church caught the day's events.
Gospel church followers believe that Whitney is already in heaven with the Holy Father. That will be a comfort to her bereaved family. The fact that she is already in paradise singing in a heavenly choir. Such is also this faith that today was all about Whitney and celebrating her life with no place for recriminations and negative attitudes. What perhaps all funerals should be about.
Mayor of Newark Cory Booker said early in the service. "God is in heaven and with him is one of our angels, Whitney Houston," Veteran soul diva Aretha Franklin was unable to sing or attend today's funeral due to ill health. Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was one of those who put in a heart felt performance singing with the choir in support. As he reached the pinnacle of his song the congregation stood as one to his "Stand, Stand, Stand"
The service continued in what was a lengthy private funeral service. Other stars performed and Jessie Jackson was present. It did feel like a media intrusion but at least it was done tactfully. In the end former husband Bobby Brown attended with Whitney's 18-year-old daughter.
The funeral lasted around 41/2 hours and finished with a beautiful song, "God has spoken let the Church say Amen" Whitney's coffin under a mountain of pastel coloured flowers was seen briefly. The congregation were given instructions for leaving the church. Whitney was then heard belting out her most famous song from the Bodyguard," I will always love you". The Gold coffin stripped of its flowers was carried high out of the church as her voice rang out. Whitney will now be taken out for the journey to her final resting place,
Whitney died a week ago aged just 48. The invitations to this private funeral were to a "Home Going" Yes for Whitney it was full circle back to her roots. Homecoming.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog