Whitney Houston’s family and close friends will bid their angel farewell at a private funeral and burial on Saturday afternoon in her hometown Newark, New Jersey at the church where her voice was discovered. Pastor Joe Carter of New Hope Baptist Church in Newark commented to CNN’s Jason Carroll on Tuesday stating, “We are all hurting. That voice is silenced. But she left us with so much.” The funeral service will be invite-only and the church seats a maximum of 1,500 people. Pastor Carter expects “all these empty pews to be filled with people whose hearts are broken.”
Marvin Winans, a gospel singer and pastor at Detroit’s Perfecting Church, will present the eulogy, at the request of Houston’s mother Cissy Houston. Pastor Winans officiated the marriage ceremony of Houston and Bobby Brown in 1992. On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reported that he planned to issue an executive order for flags at government buildings throughout Houston’s home state to fly at half-staff on the day of her funeral. The majestic entertainer with powerful vocals was found dead in the Beverly Hilton hotel, just hours before she was to attend a pre-Grammy celebration with her longtime mentor and record producer Clive Davis. Houston was 48-years-old and her cause of death remains unknown.