Pop star Whitney Houston's funeral service will be held Saturday in the New Jersey church where she first showcased her singing talents as a child, her family choosing to remember her in a private service rather than in a large event at an arena.
The owner of the Whigham Funeral Home in Newark said Tuesday that the funeral will be held at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. Gospel singer Marvin Winans, a Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend, has been chosen to give the eulogy, his son said.
The funeral home said that no wake would be held and that there would be no public memorial at Newark's Prudential Center, the sports arena that the family had discussed as a possible venue. The funeral service will be by invitation only, Carolyn Whigham said, reflecting the family's desire to keep the memorial more personal.
"They have shared her for 30-some years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell," she said.
"The family thanks all the fans, the friends and the media, but this time is their private time," she said.
A hearse arrived late Monday at the funeral home under heavy police escort from Teterboro Airport, where Houston's body was transported from the Los Angeles area.
The New Hope Baptist Church was where Houston began singing as a child, where her mother — Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston — led the music program for many years and where her cousin, singer Dionne Warwick, sang in its choir.