The extremely popular Bishop Eddie Long, who heads New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia Georgia, announced he will leave the church indefinitely. This came as a shock to his enormous congregation, and to make matters worse, it was reported after his wife filed for divorce.
Bishop Long said he will take time off to “be with his family”. It is unclear if the allegations reported last year, of sexual misconduct by four young men, contributed to their separation. While the case was settled without admission of guilt, this would have to weigh heavily on any marriage.
Even if innocent, the fact that his wife had to go through the humiliation of these damaging accounts, would put her in an impossible position. But she obviously was confused on what to do, because her attorney reportedly released a statement about the divorce filing, then took it back. Only to come back and say the divorce would take place.
Bishop Long told his mega church members during Sunday services, “I am still your pastor. You’ll still receive my direction. You’ve given me some weeks to take care of some family business. If you go out there, the news said I stepped down. I haven’t stepped down, I’ve actually stepped up”. What exactly does that mean? It certainly could have been a painful statement for his wife to hear. Stepped up?
Vanessa (his second wife) and Eddie were married back in 1990 and have three children together. While some reports suggest Bishop Long believes there is still hope for saving their marriage, her divorce papers state that the marriage was “irretrievably broken with no hope of reconciliation of the parties”. Sounds pretty final to me.
The longtime leader significantly increased the congregation; from 300 to over 25,000 members since 1987. Many of his supporter’s stuck by his side and have backed him all the way. But will they continue to support him now? What do you think?
Very sad…it seems anyone can have “issues”.