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Whitney Houston funeral notable moments and celebrities

Candles are placed outside the New Hope Baptist

Candles are placed outside the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark on Saturday during Whitney Houston's funeral. (Feb. 18, 2012) Credit: AP

3:39 pm -- After a lengthy sermon on priorities, the Rev. Marvin Winans leads the final procession out.

2:51 pm -- CeCe Winans sings her own "Don't Cry for Me."

2:48 pm -- Dionne Warwick reads the traditional bereavement poem, "I'm Free"

2:45 pm -- R. Kelly was emotional as he sang the hit he wrote for Houston “I Look to You,” which includes the lines, “After all my strength is gone, in you I can be strong.”

2:14 pm -- Stevie Wonder rewrites "Ribbon in the Sky" to tell Houston's story, changing the chorus to "An angel of God's choir of love."

1:58 pm – Davis said Houston was getting ready for a comeback, that she was getting in shape and had given up smoking in order to “get her high notes back.” “Clive,” she told him, “I'm gonna be ready by August.”

1:46 pm -- Houston's mentor Clive Davis said of Houston, "You wait for a voice like that for a lifetime. You wait for a face like that, a smile like that, a presence like that, for a lifetime. When one person embodies it all, it takes your breath away."

1:38 pm -- Alicia Keys said Houston inspired her and other young singers, including Brandy, Monica and Jordin Sparks. "She made us feel strong and capable and loved," she said. "She's an angel to us." She then delivers her song "Send Me an Angel." Keys has moved up to the position in the service originally reserved for Aretha Franklin, who was too ill to sing.

1:33 pm -- Costner: "There's a lady in heaven who is making God himself wonder how he created something so perfect.”

1:24 pm -- The Associated Press is reporting that Bobby Brown left his ex-wife's funeral before it started. He walked to the casket, touched it and walked out, visibly upset.

1:19 pm -- Kevin Costner urges everyone to "suspend our sorrow, perhaps our anger, just long enough to remember the sweet miracle of Whitney."

1:13 pm -- Kim Burrell rewrites Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" to suit Whitney Houston. "The change from mortal to immortal... a change has come."

1 pm -- BeBe Winans tells a lovely story about "Crazy Whitney" who bought him and his sister CeCe Winans tour outfits. "She decided at the height of her career she was gonna come sing background with BeBe and CeCe," he said, laughing, adding how he didn't want her to foot the bill for their clothes. "Y'all broke, right?" she told him. "And, she said, I'm rich, right? So I can buy what I want to for you, right?"

12:53 pm -- Tyler Perry takes on Houston's critics, saying, "Say whatever you want, God was for her and she is resting, singing with the angels."

12:44 pm -- "We don't know why God does what God does," Pastor McClurkin ad-libs during "Stand." "But everything God does, he does it well." His emotional performance brings those gathered to its feet and tears to many, including Houston's cousin Dionne Warwick, who thanks McClurkin.

12:40 pm – Pastor Donnie McClurkin of Freeport's Perfecting Faith Church singing his hit “Stand,” which he said was one of the Houston family's favorite songs. The gospel anthem includes the lines, “When there's nothing left to do, you just stand, watch the Lord see you through. . . . Yes, after you done all you can, you just stand.”

12:34 pm -- “We are here today, hearts broken, but yet with God's strength, we celebrate the life of Whitney Houston,” said Pastor Joe A. Carter of New Hope Baptist Church. “Whitney, you are the only one who could bring us all together. Whitney, today is your day.”

12:19 pm – Newark Mayor Cory Booker welcomes the mourners. “We are here to mourn our loss, but to celebrate her life.”

12:09 pm -- Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, as well as Greenlawn native Mariah Carey now taking their seats inside the church.

12:03 pm -- The combined choirs sound mighty on Hezekiah Walker's "Grateful," drawing cheers from those gathered in the church.

11:54 am -- The combined New Hope Baptist Church Mass Choir and New Jersey Mass Choir, standing 70 strong and all dressed in white and cream, have already begun singing, as the invited guests for Whitney Houston's funeral continue to file into the church. Bobby Brown, the late singer's ex-husband, has arrived, as have Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Brandy and her brother, Ray J. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has also arrived.

11:15 am -- Aretha Franklin, who was expected to deliver "The Greatest Love of All" at today's service for Whitney Houston, is no longer expected to sing because of illness, according to the AP.

It is not clear whether the Queen of Soul will still attend the service. Franklin performed last night at Radio CIty Music Hall and is scheduled to give another concert tonight.

10:45 am -- Long Island Pastor Donnie McClurkin of the Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport will deliver the first solo tribute at Whitney Houston's funeral, according to the service's program.

Houston's family asked McClurkin to perform his hit “Stand,” a personal favorite of Houston, which includes the lines, “When there's nothing left to do, you just stand, watch the Lord see you through. . . . Yes, after you done all you can, you just stand.”

According to the program, Aretha Franklin will sing “The Greatest Love of All,” Stevie Wonder will deliver “Ribbon in the Sky,” and R. Kelly will perform “I Look to You,” the hit he wrote for her. Alicia Keys will sing a medley of Houston's hits, BeBe Winans will perform “Home,” and Kim Burrell will sing “I Believe in You and Me.”

Expected to speak during the service are her cousin Dionne Warwick, her “Bodyguard” co-star Kevin Costner, her longtime mentor Clive Davis, movie magnate Tyler Perry, and Bishop T.D. Jakes, who produced Houston's upcoming movie “Sparkle.”

According to CNN, the service is expected to run three hours.

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