Richmond, VA — It was a moment being played out through churches around the world Sunday, “Let’s keep the family of Whitney Houston in prayer. Her daughter Bobbi and mother and her entire family…they need our prayers.”
At Morning Star Baptist Church where Pastor Terrell Brown is the pastor, a special prayer was delivered over the Houston family.
Dr. Lance D. Watson, senior pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Richmond, VA also asked his 8am and 11am congregations to keep Houston’s family, her daughter Bobbi, and her mother in prayer as he also reminded them that Houston comes from the church which explains her powerful and explosive voice.
Just up the road and just moments before the crowd at Faith Baptist Church in Hempstead erupted into a rendition of “Greatest Love Of All,” the Rev. Joe L. Brown asked the crowd to remember the contributions Whitney Houston made to their lives.
“The world is missing a great singer, a great personality,” Brown said. “The music that Whitney brought forth will live for eternity.”
The congregation of about 250 people met Brown’s sentiment with a loud “Amen.
Needless to say, but remembering Houston played out all day Sunday in houses of worship, lunch tables and street corners where there was movement and around the country as mourners and fans remembered Houston, 48, who Saturday afternoon.
The Grammy-winning singer was pronounced dead after she was found in her room on the fourth floor of the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills police Lt. Mark Rosen said. “There were no obvious signs of any criminal intent,” he said.
The cause of death was unknown, said Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster.
Houston‘s death came on the night before music’s biggest showcase, the Grammys. She will be remembered Sunday in a tribute by Jennifer Hudson, organizers said.
At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists.
At New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, the hometown church where Houston sang in the choir before becoming a star, parishioners at Sunday morning services remembered her. Up to 200 people attended the Newark church’s three scheduled services, portions of which were devoted to Houston and her family. Cards and flowers were tied to the railings of the church, and congregants hugged and cried at the entrance.
At the Hempstead service Sunday, the Rev. Brown expressed empathy for Houston’s mother, gospel singer Cissy Houston, and reminded parishioners at the church, where music plays a major role in services, that “we can all identify with being a soul singer.”
Brown also asked the crowd to find forgiveness for singer Bobby Brown, with whom Houston had a tumultuous 14-year marriage. “Bless even Bobby,” he said.
Earlier in the service, Pat Murphy of Freeport addressed the crowd and said it “broke my heart to see that news last night” – and parishioners applauded in agreement.
“What a beautiful girl and what a nightmare for everybody,” said Murphy.
After the service, memories of Whitney Houston dominated conversation at the church’s social hour.
Herman Patterson of Hempstead cited Houston’s legendary performance of the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 as the singer’s brightest moment.
“Nobody came close to her. She sang that National Anthem with grace and professionalism,” Patterson said. “It was like everyone came to a standstill.”
Gloria Simmons of Hempstead said one of Houston’s signature performances was her role in the movie “The Bodyguard.”
“I sat there with tears running down,” she said.
Chivon Deans of Hempstead said Houston will be remembered as a skilled actress as well as an iconic singer.
“There will probably never be another one like her,” he said.
May we continue to keep the Houston family in prayer, her daughter Bobbi, her mother Cissy Houston, her aunt Dionne Warwick and her Godmother Aretha Franklin, those who knew her in the industry, her friends and her many fans.