Bishop Eddie Long, long-time presiding pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, has recently decided to take “time off” from leading his flock so he can tend to pressing family issues.
During last Sunday’s service, Long announced to his followers:
“I’m going to take a little time off to work with my family. I do want you to know that this is, for me and my family, especially with me, one of the most difficult times and things I’ve had to face, and only because my strength, other than God, is in Miss Vanessa.”
His union with Mrs. Vanessa has been a veritable roller-coaster just in the last week. After Mrs. Long filed a divorce petition Thursday, less than 24 hours later she issued a statement through the church, claiming that she was withdrawing the petition and she believes in her husband and admires “his strength and courage.” But apparently that belief was short lived. Just hours after Mrs. Long’s statement was released, her attorney stepped in and said she was following through with the divorce. Whew.
Mrs. Long’s attorney went on to further state that although Vanessa hopes the issue will be resolved “expeditiously, harmoniously and fairly,” she was still fully prepared to continue with the petition–and any future comments would come solely from their camp.
Bishop Long only recently settled the sexual misconduct charges that started this barrage of condemnation and media scrutiny. Four young men claimed Long used his power and influence to unwittingly pressure them into engaging in sexual relationships. Initially, Long not only denied these allegations, he also claimed that he was totally prepared to hunker down and fight to repair his good name. Long even went so far as to compare himself to David in the biblical tale of David and Goliath, where the small and defenseless David defeats the mighty giant with one stone.
Despite Long’s vehement denials, he ultimately agreed to a financial settlement with the accusers. Although the exact amount of the settlement is undisclosed, published reports have estimated that the plaintiffs walked away with roughly two million each.
Speaking about his wife before the divorce petition, Long tried to claim that they were not fighting, nor were they upset with each other, and that Mrs. Long was simply succumbing to the pressures of being a pastor’s wife.
But Vanessa’s attorney and the 12-page divorce petition offer evidence to the contrary, stating that the couple were “living in a bona fide state of separation.” The petition went on to read:
“Vanessa Long is entitled to a divorce upon grounds that the marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken, there being no hope of reconciliation of the parties, and it being in the best interest of all parties concerned that this marriage be terminated by divorce.”
Eddie and Vanessa Long have four children together, including a child from Long’s previous marriage. Hopefully the two can indeed end things amicably in order for the family to recover from the pain and humiliation this scandal has already caused their family.