Whitney Houston’s Childhood Pastor: ‘Our Hearts Are Broken’

Whitney Houston

Lester Cohen/WireImage

updated 02/12/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET

originally published 02/13/2012 AT 8:30 AM ET

At the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., where Whitney Houston wowed parishioners with her voice as a young girl, Pastor Joe A. Carter remembered the superstar in his Sunday sermon.

“Our hearts are broken,” Carter told the crowd. “How saddened we are at the death of one of the greatest voices of the modern age.”

“I’ll never forget her right here standing at the New Hope Church, hearing her sing, ‘He Would Not Come Down,’ ” recalled Carter, “hearing her sing the praises of Jesus Christ.”

Churchgoers crowded the wooden pews of the house of worship to pay their respects to Houston, who died Saturday at 48.

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