Pastor Joe Carter of Whitney Houston's hometown church, New Hope Baptist in Newark, NJ, is more than honored to host the celebration of Whitney Houston's life this weekend. Earlier this week he sat down for an insightful conversation on "Out Front" with CNN's Erin Burnett.
"The family really has put together a program that is going to be musical, happy, joyful and really give the kind of feel to the congregation, and those there, that I think Whitney would want to be remembered by. I pray that we can honor her the way she deserves it on Saturday," Carter said. He also noted that there will be several celebrities
Although the Houston family has belonged to the church since Whitney was a little girl, Carter, the most recent New Hope pastor, said that he'd met Houston as a twenty-something in the late 1990s, and that she was always happy and upbeat. "It was an amazing moment," he said reflecting on his first encounter with the superstar. "I met her in church on an Easter Sunday morning singing in the sanctuary. I will never forget it. I thought she could sing before I heard her in person…the conviction and strength of her voice, I will never forget it."
Carter also noted that whenever Houston would return to church, the congregation could always look forward to her singing her favorite selection, He Would Not Come Down from the Cross.
Burnett asked how Cissy Houston, Houston's mother, was coping, and Carter informed her that she was "hurting, but that "Cissy is a woman of strength," and that she was "actually testifying about how God has been so good to her to this point and that he won't leave her now."