Sadly, the church has lost a beloved leader in the form of Bishop Eddie Long, who passed away last week at the age of 86. Although it’s not known exactly why he passed away, it’s believed that he died of a heart attack. The pastor had been suffering from heart problems for a long time.
Vanessa Griffin Long
During the sex scandal of Bishop Eddie Long, his wife Vanessa Long filed for divorce. She had been married to him for 27 years, but she chose to divorce him after finding out that he had been accused of sexual misconduct.
Vanessa Long is a native of Columbus, Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree in office management from Morris Brown College. She was also crowned Miss Carver High in 1975-76. She was also a member of the school choir and was a student assistant at Morris Brown.
Vanessa Long and Bishop Eddie Long married in 1990. They have three children together. The couple’s son, Eric, is still alive. They divorced soon afterward.
Bishop Eddie Long was born in Huntersville, N.C. and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business. He also attended North Carolina Central University. He then attended a non-accredited International College of Excellence. He became pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in 1987. The church had 300 members when he was hired.
After Long was hired as the pastor, the church membership rose to 25,000. He also hosted “Sexual Restoration” conferences. However, several members of the congregation accused him of sexually abusing them. Those men allegedly were offered trips to exotic locations and cars, and they claimed that they were abused and coerced. The lawsuits against Long were dismissed in June.
Eddie Long’s first wife
Among the men accusing Bishop Eddie Long of sexual misconduct are four young men who claimed that Long molested them when they were teenagers. They also alleged that Long coerced them into sexual relationships. Long has been sued by four men, and the case was settled in May.
In a statement, his lawyer said he did not authorize an interview with Parris. However, LeGrande spoke to Channel 2 Action News. LeGrande, who is a member of New Birth Charlotte, contacted B.J. Bernstein, who is representing the four men. Bernstein did not respond to a request for comment.
In late 2011, Vanessa Long filed for divorce. She said that Long had a violent temper. She said the couple had been separated for one year. However, Long had visited her every other weekend. She said he was dealing with an “undisclosed health challenge”. In late December, Long appeared thin.
Vanessa Long was born in Columbus, Georgia, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in office management from Morris Brown College. She worked as a library assistant and sang in school choirs. In 1975, she was named Miss Carver High School. She was a quiet student and kept statistics for the basketball team.
Bishop Long’s eldest child was born after the couple separated. In 1985, Houston was awarded custody of a two-year-old son. He lives in Statesville, North Carolina.
Bishop Eddie Long’s death
Earlier this year, it was reported that Bishop Eddie Long, the senior pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, died after a private battle with an aggressive form of cancer. Long had never announced his illness, but his church confirmed the news.
Bishop Eddie Long was accused of sexual misconduct with four young men, who were part of his congregation. Long denied the allegations and never admitted wrongdoing. However, a group of former members filed a lawsuit against Long, alleging that he coerced them into sexual relationships. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
When Long was pastor of New Birth, he grew the church from about 300 members to over 25,000. He also led large-scale community outreach programs in the United States and around the world. Long was famous for his clear preaching style. Long and his wife had a happy marriage. However, when the allegations against him became public, it caused a lot of marital strife.
According to the church, Long’s cancer is “aggressive” but “not fatal”. The church did not give a cause of death, but the cancer was not known.
Long was a controversial figure in the Atlanta community. In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center characterized Long as “virulently homophobic”. In 2010, Long’s accusers settled the lawsuit, dismissing it as a mistake and calling their accusations an “attack” against all Christians.