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Grand Rapids, Michigan — Thousands of mourners including renowned pastors, local officials and Gospel artists from across the country were on hand, amidst tears, shouts, songs, and tender tributes during the “Homegoing Service” for MaLinda Sapp on Thursday, September 16th at Resurrection Life Church.

MaLinda Sapp, 43, wife of Gospel recording artist and Pastor Marvin Sapp, died last week after an 18-month struggle with colon cancer.


“This is a test of our faith,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was one of more than a dozen pastors and evangelists who spoke during the nearly 4-hour service. “We are pained in the transition, but we rejoice in the destination,” he told more than 2,000 mourners.


Several community leaders also spoke, including Grand Rapids Police Chief Kevin Belt and Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra music director David Lockington. Marvin Sapp also performed part of his hit song “Here I Am,” which MaLinda, on her death bed, called “her song.”

Among Gospel music artists who performed in tributes were Israel Houghton, Lucinda Moore, Rance Allen, Darryll Hines, Karen Clark Sheard and Donnie McClurkin.


Two of the Sapp’s three children, Mikaila, 13, and Madison, 11, read a poem “Footprints in the Sand.”


The main eulogy was given by Bishop I.V. Hilliard, of New Light Christian Center of Houston, TX.   “God is able to bring comfort through the prayers of his people,” he noted in his nearly half-hour address.   “She (MaLinda) has got a promotion, and we’re not going to deny her.”


Presiding at the Homegoing service was the Rev. Marvin L. Winans, a longtime Sapp family friend and pastor of Perfecting Church in Detroit.  “We’ve learned that over a hundred thousand people are watching this service online,” Winans told the crowd of the streamed presentation.


He concluded the service by singing the gospel chorus “Trust In God” before walking out the church leading the procession.”


Also in attendance was Grammy-winning gospel singer Kirk Franklin, although he did not perform, Ray Bady, Jazzy Jordan, Pastor Paul Morton and Magic Johnson.   Hundreds of members of the Sapps Lighthouse Full Life Center Church were witness to the service as well.

“MaLinda made every one feel so loved, and so welcome,” recalled Lighthouse member Sharon Hill, who attended the service with her husband, Jeffrey, and daughter Joi. “That is truly a God-given gift.”


The family has designated memorial contributions to: Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology c/o Mercantile Bank of Michigan 4860 Broadmoor Ave. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49512.

-The Belle Report

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