The Rev. Jesse Jackson attended a service Sunday at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where Whitney Houston grew up and church members gathered to honor her.
"You can't stop fate, and fate can't stop faith," he told reporters outside the church. "... You cannot explain the mysteries of death, but you can say that you look at the box score of life. Life is not judged by the home run hit in one inning, nor by the error in another inning, but the box score. When you look at the box score, Whitney is a winner. Her singing, her inspiring people around the world, it's been a great source of joy and uplift. And so we grieve, and yet we rejoice even in our grieving."
Jackson said he spoke to Cissy Houston on Saturday night and Sunday morning and was heading to her home after the service.
"They're having to process this," he said of Houston's family. "This was not some long, debilitating sickness. This was sudden. And so when this happens, there's no rational explanation, just you have to cling to your faith and hold on until the morning comes."
At another service, in Los Angeles, Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking Sunday at Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, said of Houston, "You could feel her as well as you could hear her. Lots of artists can hit notes, but they don't hit us ... (there was) something about Whitney that would reach in you and make you feel."
He cautioned churchgoers not to judge Houston. "Before you condemn Whitney Houston, realize that all of us have been through ups and downs," he said. "But great people are different than just good people. Good people are people who can go up. Great people are people who can go up and fall down and get back up again."