Eddie Long’s funeral service will be held on January 25, as announced by the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, the Christian Post reports.
Elder Craig Heath announced at an early morning international prayer call that the service is set to start at 11 am, aiming to celebrate Long’s life, sacrifice, and service.
The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church announced on Sunday that Eddie Long has died “after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer.” He was 63.
The announcement of the controversial pastor’s death caused an intense reaction among the congregants at the church, prompting them to lie on the ground and burst into tears with relentless abandon.
“New Birth members fell down, cried, screamed when ministers announced the death of Bishop Eddie Long,” said Fox 5 reporter Marissa Mitchell, who was at the site when the pastor’s death was announced.
While Eddie Long’s funeral service date has been revealed already, many other details are still pending announcement. The church’s officials said that they are taking the time to reflect on the life and legacy of Long before they arrive at a final decision.
Many leaders and members of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church expressed worry about their church’s future, but insisted that their “faith is bigger than fear.”
Eddie Long revealed last September that he was facing a “health challenge” following wide speculation over the state of his health on account of the weight loss he suffered in 2016.
Long, however, declared in October that he’s healed after taking a month long sabbatical away from the church.
“I’ve been on a journey and just recalibrating myself and like I said, I had some health issues and God has healed me. The manifestation is coming through and we stand in that,” Long said to his followers in a video recording of his pastoral anniversary service on Oct 9.
“When I woke up this morning, God expressed to me that there are some of you who suffer in this congregation of chronic pain. You have to be controlled by painkillers. If I’m speaking to you jump in the aisle. There’s a healing balm in here,” the noticeably thin preacher said in the video.
Long’s reputation took a hit a few years ago after former members of his church accused him of sexual misconduct. The lawsuits were settled the year after.
Bishop Eddie Long was not a man of God. Thieves, paedophiles & rapists on the pulpit don't men of God make. Tueh. https://t.co/IIiMttFodf— Chris Ihidero (@Chrisihidero) January 17, 2017
Meanwhile, the four men — Jamal Parris, Spencer LeGrande, Maurice Robinson, and Anthony Flagg — who accused Long of sexual coercion announced Monday that they are planning to publish a book recounting how the pastor impacted their lives.
How the death of Bishop Eddie Long exposes the Black church's dangerous hypocrisy https://t.co/tDQXKkFl9e— BET (@BET) January 16, 2017
The four men refused to comment on Eddie Long’s death, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they will let their book Forsaken do the talking for them.
“As much as we’d like to make a statement about the passing of Bishop Eddie Long, we’ve all decided to remain silent, for now,” the four men said in a statement. “We’re all brothers in this. Our perspectives will be addressed in our book, ‘Foursaken,’ which we hope to release soon.”
In 1987, Long became a senior pastor at the Georgia-based New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, where he was able to build a strong following 25,000 strong, making the church one of the country’s largest megachurches.
TheAssociated Press reports that the church gained visibility using broadcast television and international ministries, with satellite churches operating in Miami, Denver, and Charlotte.
“Long was a Christian author, a gospel singer and was also known for preaching and practicing a ‘prosperity gospel’ in which the faithful would be rewarded with wealth.
“Long was also known for his flamboyant lifestyle, as he flew around the world on a private jet, drove metro Atlanta in a $350,000 Bentley and live in a $1.4 million house with six bedrooms and nine bathrooms.”
Eddie Long is survived by his wife, Vanessa Long, his children Edward, Eric, Jared, Taylor Long, and three grandchildren.
[Featured Image by John Amis-Pool/AP Images]