Bishop Eddie Long’s successor has been announced by the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
Stephen A. Davis is taking over as pastor of the church, replacing Bishop Long, who died of cancer January 15 at the age of 63, Charisma News has reported.
Eddie Long’s widow, Vanessa Long, announced her husband’s successor at a congregation during
Sunday morning services.
Davis will begin his tenure as New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s pastor immediately.
Stephen A. Davis was the former senior pastor president and board chairman of New Birth Birmingham in Birmingham, AL. He was immediately assigned in New Birth Lithonia but will continue his leadership in New Birth Birmingham and will also take over the extended campus in New Birth Tuscaloosa.
Davis has had ties with Eddie Long since 2006.
“My wife, Darlene and I, are blessed beyond measure and thoroughly thrilled to serve New Birth Lithonia, building on the foundation that Bishop Long established for this amazing ministry,” he said.
Bishop Eddie Long’s successor had been established since 2006, as previously reported by Blasting News. He made clear in a document that he wanted Davis to succeed him should his term as pastor end. The motion was approved by the board of directors, partly on account of Davis having been regarded by many as Long’s son in the ministry. Eddie Long’s son, Edward, who had taken over his father’s place during his illness, wasn’t considered for the position. Some members of the church believe that Edward should have been named as his father’s successor so that he could carry on his legacy.
In September 2016, Bishop Eddie Long announced that he’s recovering from a “health challenge” following reports that he had been hospitalized. The megachurch pastor had faced illness rumors before his hospitalization as members of the church started noticing that he’d been losing weight. Long initially denied the rumors, saying that the drastic weight loss was the result of him trying a new vegan diet.
Founder of Obnoxioustv’s blog William McCray III, however, reported that a close friend of the bishop claimed that Long is suffering from an unspecified gastro-intestinal cancer.
“Recently, while out to dinner with some prominent minister friends a person approached our table and specifically want to speak to Sir William, (sic) in a very humble and politely asked if they could have seat. We said sure and the source went on to share they were a member of New Birth and choose to stay through the scandal. The source shared their name and shared they were very close to Bishop Long and asked if Obnoxious Media would take it easy on bishop due to his having cancer,” McCray reported.
“After a couple of phone calls and text messages it was confirmed this was a very reliable source. They explained that Bishop Long has cancer in his digestive system and it was discovered in the 4th stage and he literally has months to live.”
Bishop Eddie Long was born on May 12, 1953 in Huntsville, NC. He was named the pastor of the New Birth Church in 1987, back when it only had 300 members. At present, the church has more than 25,000 members.
Long’s reputation as pastor took a blow in 2010 when he was accused of sexual coercion by four male members of his ministry, who each filed separate lawsuits.
Each lawsuit told a similar story, in which Long became extra friendly them in their early teens while indoctrinating them as “spiritual sons” and offering them cars, money, apartments, and trips to Kenya, Honduras and the Bahamas. All complainants said that their relationship with Long became sexual when they turned 17 or 18.
All lawsuits were eventually settled.
Eddie Long addressed the scandal early this year, admitting that he briefly entertained the notion of taking his own life.
“I had a moment… I had a moment… I wanted to kill myself and was ready,” he told his New Birth congregation, referring to a time when he said he felt “condemned from the four corners of the Earth.”
“My family loved me,” Long said. “My church loved me… Regardless of what anybody said, love lifted me and carried me. And you didn’t judge me.”
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]