Just days after his wife announced that she was filing for divorce and amid swirling rumors of an impending resignation, Bishop Eddie Long addressed his church Sunday and told the congregation that he will be taking time off to focus on family matters.
During Sunday service at New Birth Missionary Baptist, one of the country’s largest churches, Long assured church members that his absence would only be temporary.
“I’m still your pastor. You’ll still receive my direction,” Long said. “You’ve given me some weeks to take care of some family business.”
Even amid Long’s personal announcement, rumors persisted that the time away would precede a wholesale resignation. In light of the talk, New Birth released a statement Sunday in an attempt to extinguish doubt about Long’s long-term plans.
“Rumors that Bishop Eddie L. Long has stepped down as senior pastor of New Missionary Baptist Church are completely false. As Bishop Long stated in earlier comments, 'Vanessa and I are working together in seeking God's will in our current circumstances.' As any loving and committed husband would do, Bishop Long will take some time to focus on his family but he will continue to be the senior pastor of New Birth,” said the statement.
Long’s wife of over 20 years, Vanessa, announced on Friday that she will go through with her decision to divorce the megachurch pastor after much deliberation back and forth.
Over the past two years, Long has been involved in a series of highly publicized sex scandals and has most recently been implicated in a lawsuit by several church members that claim Long was involved in a ponzi scheme that swindled the members out of millions.
In 2010, five men spoke out and alleged that they were all sexually abused by Long when they were young men. According to the men, Long offered them gifts and money for their participation in sexual activites with Long. In September, Long negotiated an out-of-court settlement with the men in September after publicly denying all claims.
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