Belfast Telegraph

Houston's funeral to be 'grand celebration'

Whitney Houston will be "honoured in a grand fashion" at her funeral this weekend.

The iconic singer passed away in a Beverly Hills hotel room last Saturday at the age of 48.

Whitney's memorial service will take place on Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where the I Will Always Love you star first sang in the choir.

Reverend Joe Carter, who will lead the services, assures that everything is being done to give the legend a proper goodbye.

"There's going to be a grand celebration of life and a strong musical presence. And so however, whoever, I'm not exactly sure what the end result will be, just that we'll honour and remember Whitney Houston in a grand fashion as the way she lived," Reverend Carter told Extra.

The reverend has been working with numerous people to ensure the service goes down seamlessly.

"It's taken a lot to definitely honour her in a way that she deserves," Reverend Carter told Extra! "It's taken a lot of cooperation, from a global scale to a local scale, including law enforcement. Our church family and family of Whitney, we've all been working together in every step to cover all bases so that this will be done decently and in order."

Reverend Carter is blown away by the way Whitney's family has united in their time of grief.

"[Whitney's daughter] Bobbi Kristina, [her mother] Cissy, the brothers and the entire family, they are grieving and it's been tough," Reverend Carter said. "But I'll tell you that Cissy Houston has shown remarkable strength, and she's going to need our prayers and support to help her get through this - not just this weekend but in the days, weeks and months and years to come."

The memorial service will take place this Saturday at noon.

Around 1,500 people have been invited - with Kevin Costner, Stevie Wonder, producer Clive Davis and Whitney's godmother Aretha Franklin all set to take part in the service.

It has been reported that Whitney's private funeral will be broadcast live on television and the internet so fans can also watch the service.

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