URL: http://prince.org/msg/8/151038

Date printed: Tue 21st Feb 2017 3:19pm PST

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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR RON WINANS: Celebrating a life
Thread started 06/25/05 7:05am



Thousands pack church to remember gospel legend
June 24, 2005


The only physical evidence that this was a memorial service was the casket holding Ron Winans' body.

By every other account, this was a celebration.

Winans, 48, died last week of heart complications at Harper Hospital in Detroit. The second oldest of the Winans children, he was part of Detroit's revolutionary gospel dynasty.

Thursday night at Perfecting Church on Detroit's east side, anyone who wasn't convinced of Winans' legacy left the musical service a believer. Thousands turned out to celebrate and remember the man who was a part of music history.

Ron Winans' younger sister CeCe Winans, an internationally known star in her own right, was coerced to the stage by the Perfecting choir's director to perform with a cousin and the choir. At first, she held a sheet of paper in her hands, looking down and singing the words. Eventually, she stopped looking and just sang riffs off the top of her head, delighting everyone. Even though she was grieving and this was clearly an impromptu performance, she sounded as if she'd rehearsed for weeks.

She ended her performance singing "God's been good to me," over and over again, dancing and twirling and shouting and stomping all across the stage.

"If the family can dance, we all are worth something tonight," Bishop Michael Rodgers told the crowd, encouraging people to get up and move.

Everyone -- people crowded inside the church and those who were in the chapel watching the service on a large projection screen -- tossed their hands in the air, waving them with the jubilance of a summer church revival.
Between the music, friends and those touched by Winans took the stage, recounting stories of midnight Burger King runs, of him driving back and forth to Eastern Michigan University to cart college kids to church and about his widespread generosity.

"He really had a heart for the young people," said Gwen Brown, a director at the church who first worked with Ron Winans 16 years ago when he started the church's youth choir. "He has taught me some things that I will always remember."

The entire Winans family makes up some of gospel music's biggest stars: BeBe Winans and CeCe Winans and brother-in-law producer Cedric Caldwell are among some of the most highly sought-after talents in the business. They, along with the rest of the family, sat in center pews, jumping for joy and at times wiping tears at the loss of a brother who is known for being the most put-together performer of them all.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a family friend, preached to the family and the crowd about the misfortune of having to bury a son. He recounted a touching story involving Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s father, telling his sad tale of having to bury two sons and a wife.

"How do you hold onto your faith when faith deals you such a tough blow," he asked rhetorically.

Jackson went on to talk about how to deal in tough times and the tests that life gives people daily.

"So tonight, the question is, can you serve God with a heavy heart?" he asked, pointedly making reference to one of the Winans biggest hits "The Question Is." "Can you serve God when your back is against the wall? This is a long night for the nonbelievers. But for the believers, it'll be all right in the morning. The Lord is our light and our salvation. And our God is a wonder."

Reply #1 posted 06/25/05 7:07am


Marvin Winans, pastor at Perfecting Church in Detroit, rejoices during the musical tribute to his brother Ron Winans, who died June 17 of heart complications at the age of 48. "If the family can dance, we all are worth something tonight," Bishop Michael Rodgers told the crowd.

Coerced to the stage by the choir director, CeCe Winans gives an impromptu performance during the service. She ended her performance singing "God's been good to me," over and over again.
Reply #2 posted 06/25/05 7:11am


Winans is buried to songs of praise

Stars fill church at singer's funeral
June 25, 2005


The final sendoff for Ron Winans was star-studded and spiritually laden.

As with the musical tribute held for the gospel singer Thursday, thousands gathered Friday to eulogize a man who shared the word of God with millions through song.

Celebrity family friends in attendance at the approximately four-hour funeral service at Straight Gate International Church in Detroit included singers Whitney Houston & Gladys Knight, Pauletta Washington (wife of actor Denzel), actor Wren T. Brown, Bishop T.D. Jakes and actress Kim Fields.

Friends, families and clergy alike took the podium and recounted funny and touching stories of Winans, who died last week of heart complications at Harper Hospital in Detroit. He was 48.

The second oldest of the Winans children, Winans was part of Detroit's revolutionary gospel dynasty, a family that includes three generations of recording artists. Performing as the Winans with his three brothers, Carvin Sr., Marvin and Michael, Ron Winans helped make gospel music accessible to the world, as their group was one of the first gospel acts to receive secular acclaim.

Gospel legend Andrae Crouch and gospel singer Rance Allen sang in tribute of their friend, instantly bringing the congregation leaping to its feet. Allen sang the first single off Ron Winans' most recent album, "I Shall Not Die," and left few in the audience with a dry eye.

Fields, who was listed in the funeral program under "Industry Friends," joked when she took the podium: "Industry friends? What? I'm family," she said.

The actress, who called him Uncle Ronald, composed an original poem for him, remembering trips to Northland Mall, events at Mumford High School, 2 a.m. meals at Denny's and watching the Winans get served cookies and Tang after performing concerts.

Actor Brown told the family about reading Ron Winans' obit, which said he'd died of heart complications.

"Ronald has given all of his heart away," said the actor, who has been in films such as "Waiting to Exhale" and "Hollywood Shuffle" and the TV series "Whoopi." "We all are in possession of a little piece of Ronald's heart. And that's what I'm going to hold on to."

Good friend and business partner Gladys Knight -- they have a small chain of restaurants called Gladys Knight & Ron Winans Chicken & Waffles -- sang a hymn in his memory. "I had such a peaceful existence whenever I was in Ronald's presence," Knight said.

"We were in business together and people would say: 'Who is Ronald Winans?' And I would say: 'If you only knew. He is the glue. He is the grease.' I'm so grateful. My life will never be the same since Ronald Winans passed away. I know a lot of you have that same feeling in your spirit."

Younger brother BeBe Winans sang a touching version of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," and later in the service, family friend Bishop Paul Morton sang an emotional solo.
Reply #3 posted 06/25/05 8:43am


This breaks my heart. The Winans' music plays such an important part in my life every single day. If I'm not playing it, I'm thinking about words in their songs that bring me comfort. It's times like this, that I truly want to believe there is a God in Heaven so that I know his journey is not over. Peace to his soul.
Reply #4 posted 06/25/05 8:53am



GOD is STILL good....
Ending This Last Joke, With The First Joke Ever Posted
KingBAD!!! It's All Yours, Make Me Proud priest
Reply #5 posted 06/25/05 9:10am


funkpill said:


GOD is STILL good....
All the time.
Reply #6 posted 06/25/05 9:37am


funkpill said:


GOD is STILL good....

Well! wave

URL: http://prince.org/msg/8/151038

Date printed: Tue 21st Feb 2017 3:19pm PST