Tweet Share Share Share 40 Views no discussions FaithInternationalLifestylePrint Bishop Long stepping down by: – December 7, 2011 ATLANTA – When Bishop Eddie Long was accused of sexual misconduct by former church members, his congregation rallied around him and his wife stood by his side. About a year later, the Atlanta megachurch pastor is headed for divorce and stepping away from the pulpit.Long announced Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that he needed a break from preaching to focus on his family. The hiatus leaves New Birth, which once boasted 25 000 members, at a crossroads, its reputation battered and membership dwindling. Their pasts inextricably linked for nearly a generation, both Long and his church face an uncertain future.“A church is bigger than its pastor,” said Goldie Taylor, who has attended New Birth in the past.“For too long, the New Birth family has acted as if it is smaller than its pastor. Its challenge going forward will be its ability to flip that and become a church without walls again.”For many members, Long has been the only pastor they have ever known. He became senior pastor in 1987, taking the helm of a flock of only a few hundred members. Not long after he arrived, the former Ford salesman and Honeywell executive dismissed New Birth’s board of directors and took unilateral control of the church, ensuring that he would be the one to determine the date of his departure.New Birth grew quickly under its charismatic, dynamic young leader, swelling to 8 000 members in five years. A decade later New Birth boasted 18 000 members and the church paid cash for the land and sprawling property it currently occupies in DeKalb County – including a 10 000-seat sanctuary.In addition to its Lithonia, Georgia headquarters, the church has satellites in several cities including Miami, Charlotte and Denver, and television and international ministries.Many who joined the church under Long’s tenure were attracted to the prosperity gospel that he preached and practised. It was a message that mirrored an emerging black middle class in and around Atlanta. Unlike the traditional Southern Baptist preacher, Long owned a $350 000 Bentley and private jet, lived in a $1.4 million house with six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, adorned himself with diamond jewellery and read his sermons from an iPad.Long’s spiritual swagger inspired a loyal and protective congregation. In September 2010, when accusations swirled that he used his lavish lifestyle to seduce four young men into sexual relationships in exchange for cars, clothes and trips, New Birth members supported their embattled leader, who vowed he was innocent and would fight the cases.Long settled out of court eight months later for an undisclosed amount and has never admitted any wrongdoing. After that, some changed their opinion of him.“Once the money was paid, it was like you’re hiding something,” said Donielle Marshall, who joined New Birth as a college student in 1999.“Did you lie to us? I look at him as just a common man, full of fault, but also a disgrace.” (AP)Nation News Sharing is caring!
A field of six has been declared for the Grade 2 Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle at 3.15.All eyes will be on the Willie Mullins-trained Milsean who bids to get his career back on track following a shock defeat on his last visit to Thurles in JanuaryAmong Milsean’s five rivals on this occasion is the fellow Gigginstown Stud-owned Sub Lieutenant and the Paul Nolan-trained Fine Theatre who looked the part when winning by a whopping 13 lengths at Fairyhouse last month. The first is off at 2.15 this afternoon.
Fifty-nine female workers from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), who was tossed on the breadline following the closure of Skeldon and Rose Hall Estates at the end of last year were on Friday aided with food hampers, through donations garnered by the Guyana Solidarity Movement-New York (GSM-NY).Twenty-one workers from Rose Hall benefited from the presentation at Cumberland, East Canje, Berbice, while another 38 who were employed at Skeldon Estate received their hampers at another exercise at Number 74 Village, Corentyne.GSM-NY is a group of Guyanese who mainly reside in New York, who have been heart-stricken by the callous decision to close sugar estates which has made of Guyanese jobless.Some of the dismissed female estate workersAddressing the ex-workers, President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Komal Chand, who also grew up in a sugar cultivation community, noted that though small, its aim is to in some way cushion the negative impact caused as a result of the estates’ closure.“While this gesture will not satisfy your problems and your needs, it will in a little way mitigate the kind of hardship you have experienced,” he explained.Meanwhile, former Culture, Youth and Sport Minister and now shadow Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony explained that the People’s Progressive Party as a party recognises the importance of helping those affected get through a difficult period.Another former Government Minister who also grew up in a community which depended on the sugar estate, Ganga Persaud, commended both GAWU and GSM-NY.Meanwhile, the Union’s President noted that despite what has happened, with support from the media, the workers concerns reached the ears of Government, causing them to promise some relief to the affected workers from Rose Hall.Over the past week, ex- female sugar workers of Wales and East Demerara Estates have also received hampers.The women expressed their appreciation to the Guyana Solidarity Movement and the overseas-resident Guyanese, who through their kind support, made the reality of the hampers possible. They pointed out that since they were dismissed, life has become extremely difficult. Many related they have searched nearly the entire length of the Corentyne Coast and in New Amsterdam for a job but have not been successful.Some of the women said life in the villages has become depressed since the estates were closed.(Andrew Carmichael)