New Birth sets date for Bishop Eddie Long memorial services

Bishop Eddie Lee Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist in Lithonia, Ga. and wife Vanessa Griffin Long arrive at the 13th Annual Trumpet Awards Monday, April 25, 2005. (AJC FILE PHOTO)

by Shelia Poole Arlinda Broady Janel Davis The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New Birth has set a date for a service for Bishop Eddie L. Long, who died Sunday at age 63.

Elder Craig Heath said during an early morning international prayer call that homegoing services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 25.

The church had said on Sunday that an email would be sent to members with further details.

Heath read from the New Birth in a statement yesterday that Long ” is now spiritually healed and home with the Lord.”

“Bishop Long, Senior Pastor of New Birth, transitioned from this life early Sunday morning after a gallant private fight with an aggressive form of cancer,” the statement said.

 Leaders on the prayer call, which opened and closed with music, at times seemed emotional as they talked about how Long had always “sowed seeds” in them and in others. Heath said the service would celebrate his life, sacrifice and service.

He acknowledged that members were still is the midst of working their thoughts and feelings considering the life and legacy of Long.

Also on the call was Elder Carla Stokes and Bishop Kenneth Pearman

The controversial pastor was absent at several services during recent months but was present during Christmas and New Year’s Eve services. His last sermon was during Watch Night Services to usher in the new year.

New Birth members were told of Long’s death on Sunday. Some sobbed and cried. Others prayed and leaned on those near them in support.

“Even though we don’t know the details right now, Bishop Long wouldn’t leave us in a lurch,” said longtime member Lela Brooks, a member for 29 years. “His legacy will live on. He did a lot of good and we won’t let that fade.”

Talis Burrell hadn’t been a member as long. Having joined in 2006, she said even though the congregation held out hope that Long had won the battle with his illness, she wasn’t completely caught off guard at his passing.

“He hadn’t really come back physically, “ she said.

“I’ve been a member here for 34 years and it’s just devastating,” said Keith Crowley. “It’s sad for the world.”

Crowley, like many members of New Birth, found out about Long’s passing when it was announced during Sunday’s service.


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