Bishop Long has begun his forty days of reflection and penance early by taking a pay cut and beginning mediation.
Eddie Long announced yesterday at his 11am service he would be talking a 40% pay cut. Art Franklin confirmed that Long and his wife, Vanessa, voluntarily reduced their compensation” but I am unable to confirm the amounts at this time.” Long has been embroiled in several sexual misconduct lawsuits, filed by four men who allege he coerced them into having improper relations. The church, which has about 25,000 members, is also named in the four lawsuits and its Long Fellows Youth Academy is named in three. The first mediation session in efforts to resolve the case before it goes to trial recently ended and more could be scheduled.Finances have been a key issue lately at the churched as evidenced by our story a few weeks back in our story Bishop Eddie Long Makes An Appeal Via YouTube
Long said his compensation is determined by an independent board, in accordance with IRS regulations. Additionally, the members’ supplemental (love) offering goes into the general operating fund. He said the church was “not hiding anything.”
Money wasn’t the only thing on the pastor’s mind. He spoke out against the media and said New Birth is “under attack,” which brought cheers from many in the sanctuary.
The bulk of his sermon dealt with maintaining faith through adversity. He said people often ask him how he can get up and go to church on Sunday mornings when people are talking about him.
Long said, “Nothing can take away my integrity; nothing can take away my faith.”
The first mediation session in the sexual misconduct lawsuits against Bishop Eddie Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has ended, a church lawyer said.
Barbara Marschalk, who represents the Lithonia-based church and its LongFellows Youth Academy mentoring program, said additional mediation sessions, in which all parties attempt to reach a settlement, could be held. She declined to discuss details.
Thomas Arthur, a professor in Emory University’s School of Law, said it is not unusual to have more than one mediation session. “It depends how much is at stake,” he said.
The idea, he said, “is to keep going if they might actually reach an agreement.”
B.J. Bernstein, who represents the four men who have accused the popular pastor of coercing them into having sexual relations, declined to comment on the proceedings.