Church Celebrates Life of Apostle Betty Peebles

Friday, Oct 22, 2010  |  Updated 9:31 PM EDT
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Mourners gathered at Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover, Md., to say goodbye to a woman who helped build a ministry from a few dozen worshipers to thousands.

Darcy Spencer

Mourners gathered at Jericho City of Praise Church in Landover, Md., to say goodbye to a woman who helped build a ministry from a few dozen worshipers to thousands.

Jericho City of Praise celebrated the life of Apostle Betty Peebles Friday.

The congregation's spiritual leader died Oct. 12 at the age of 76.

Peebles founded Jericho City of Praise with her husband, the Rev. James Peebles Jr., who died in 1996. They grew from a congregation of 31 to thousands. Many of them sang and danced in the aisles Friday to honor "Mom Betty," News4's Darcy Spencer reported.

"We certainly salute her for her tremendous effort, and only heaven can reward her," said Susie Owens, of Local Ministries.

Peebles was so respected in the area that Maryland gubernatorial candidates Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich canceled a WTOP debate in order to attend and speak at Friday's funeral.

Originally located in D.C., Jericho City of Praise moved to Landover, Md., where the main sanctuary holds up to 11,000 parishioners. The church later added Jericho Residences with apartments for seniors and a business development center where companies are creating jobs. There's also Jericho Christian Academy, which serves children from the age of 2 through the eighth grade.

Apostle Peebles' son, Joel Peebles, will take over as senior pastor of the church.

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