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Posted at 2:32 PM ET, 10/22/2010

Thousands turn out for Peebles funeral

By Washington Post editors

The main sanctuary of Jericho City of Praise became a spirited crossroad of faith and politics Friday as lawmakers joined preachers to pay tribute to Apostle Betty Peebles who died Oct. 12 of cancer.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Maryland senators Ben Cardin (D) and Barbara Mikulski (D), and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) joined a crowd of thousands as Peebles' son, Elder Joel Peebles, led those in attendance in a hand-clapping, foot-stomping "war cry" for his mother. At moments the service felt more like a pep rally than a funeral.

Gospel standards were played. Praise dancers in colorful clothing leaped and raced through the aisles.

"We have a lot of dignitaries here and we really should control ourselves," said Jericho Associate Minister Bobby Henry, who tried to calm the crowd.

-- Hamil R. Harris


Thousands expected at Peebles funeral
8:55 a.m.

Thousands of mourners are expected to attend the Friday funeral service for Apostle Betty Peebles, co-founder of Jericho City of Praise, one of the largest megachurches in the country.

Peebles, along with her husband Bishop James R. Peebles Sr., founded Jericho Road Baptist Church in a District basement in 1964. She later spearheaded the church's transformation into Jericho City of Praise, a 19,000-congregation set on a sprawling suburban campus in Landover.

She died Oct. 12 of cancer.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and his opponent in the upcoming election, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich (R), postponed a debate to attend the funeral. They are among the politicians and other dignitaries expected to attend the 11 a.m. service.

Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) and Maryland State Senator C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's) led tributes to Peebles Thursday evening during a spirited wake that brought out more 6,000 people.

"You would see the glory of God in her," Johnson said of Peebles. "She was a great community leader, she was a great minister of the gospel."

Muse, who is also a minister, stirred up the gathering when he said that Peebles reach went far beyond the church.

"We are honoring a great woman of God who was not just the pastor of this church, she was pastor of a community, pastor of a state and this state is better off for her."

The public willl have a chance to attend a viewing Friday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Among those expected to deliver the eulogy include Bishop Noel Jones of the 17,000 member City of Refuge Church in Gardena, Calif., Creflo Dollar, founder of the World Changers Church International in Atlanta and Peeble's son Elder Joel Peebles.

-- Hamil R. Harris

By Washington Post editors  | October 22, 2010; 2:32 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland  
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Comments

With "Marty, the hottie" O"Malley there how will the congregants focus on the service? I hope Ehrlich sits in the back under a paper bag and Kendel doesn't show up in the bag.

Posted by: SoCali | October 22, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

With "Marty, the hottie" O"Malley there how will the congregants focus on the service? I hope Ehrlich sits in the back under a paper bag and Kendel doesn't show up in the bag.

Posted by: SoCali | October 22, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

With "Marty, the hottie" O"Malley there how will the congregants focus on the service? I hope Ehrlich sits in the back under a paper bag and Kendel doesn't show up in the bag.

Posted by: SoCali | October 22, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if they are taking collection today, because that alone would net at least $15,000. Especially if they have it twice, LOL!

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | October 22, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Gotta laugh at the idea of someone naming themselves "Apostle"... presumptuous a little?

Posted by: B-rod | October 22, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The first question they ask potenial members is 'What is the amount of your yearly income'. All bling, no substance of this church.

Posted by: endirr | October 22, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Pastor Betty had a tranquil spirit about her...and that laugh...had the power to pick you up, no matter how down you might have felt.

I'll miss her presence here on earth.

Posted by: vscribe | October 22, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

In many instances, ignorance does not deserve response, but in the cases of endirr, b-rod, and publicenemy1 whose comments are very misguided, inartful, and ill-timed, there are exceptions. Can any of you show the work that you have done to uplift your communities? To understand that Jericho Church was started with a $13 offering in the early 1960s and grow to where it is today is a demonstration of how some Higher Power has presided over that flock of worshippers from the very beginning. The church and its associated properties are fully paid off, and not many houses of worship can say that today. Many have been helped by Jericho.

There will never be a perfect church anywhere, but as a spiritual intecessor, if you do the best that you can to pray and provide hope in a community, you have been of great service to hurting people.

Instead of spitting out negativity, be positive and encourage someone around you, you may be suprised at how you might save someone's life.

Posted by: smj612 | October 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Just a blog. Not a news story.

Posted by: cutie7 | October 22, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Of all the times I worshipped at the Jericho City of Praise as a visitor with my children, I enjoyed the service, atmosphere and people. Dr. Peebles was especially enlightening and her sermons were very uplifting. As I leaned more towards joining a smaller church, I have very fond memories of Jericho and Dr. Peebles.

I was amazed at the how the church began and grew so wonderfully thoughout the years. Elder Peebles had a dream and he saw many facets of it come to fruition before his passing many years ago. As Dr. Peebles continued the dream with her sons, she has fostered a lot of good in the community. I will continue to send prayers up for the family and congretation. To God Be All The Glory was her closing and it is so fitting for her life story.

Posted by: Ross65 | October 22, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

To endirr:

I was a member of Jericho at one point (left when I left town), went through the entire membership classes, etc., and never once was I asked my yearly income.

Those of us who interacted with Pastor Betty as a congregant know that she was compassionate, and all about building the kingdom of God here on earth.

Get over yourself...but mostly importantly, stop spreading the lies.

Posted by: vscribe | October 23, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

To endirr:

I was a member of Jericho at one point (left when I left town), went through the entire membership classes, etc., and never once was I asked my yearly income.

Those of us who interacted with Pastor Betty as a congregant know that she was compassionate, and all about building the kingdom of God here on earth.

Get over yourself...but most importantly, stop spreading the lies.

Posted by: vscribe | October 23, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

To endirr:

I was a member of Jericho at one point (left when I left town), went through the entire membership classes, etc., and never once was I asked my yearly income.

Those of us who interacted with Pastor Betty as congregants know that she was compassionate, and all about building the kingdom of God here on earth.

Get over yourself...but most importantly, stop spreading the lies.

Posted by: vscribe | October 23, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks smj612
Sometimes when people open their mouths, ignorance just comes out! If you don't have any knowledge about people or what they are about, then just shut up and keep your comments to yourself. Our Pastor/ Apostle was truly a women of God which you apparently know nothing about. If you did, you would not have allowed such trash to come out of your mouth. She left behind a wonder family and church family to continue the works that she gave her life to accomplish. What have you done to make a difference in anyone's life?

Posted by: oneofherbabies | October 23, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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