King's daughter leaves Ga. church after scandal

June 1, 2011

(RNS) The Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the late Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr., announced Tuesday (May 31) that she is leaving an Atlanta-area
megachurch whose leader has been embroiled in scandal.

"When I came to New Birth I came for a season and I expected that
season not to be quite as long as it was," King said in an interview on
Atlanta gospel music station WPZE-FM, two days after her last Sunday at
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.

Her announcement follows a settlement between the church's senior
pastor, Bishop Eddie Long, and four young men who accused him of sexual
misconduct.

King, who did not tie her departure to the scandal, said she had
told Long in April that she would be leaving at the end of May. After
declining the presidency of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
in January, King said she feels called to a new assignment.

"I'm not calling it a church right now," she said. "What God is
showing me doesn't look like what people are accustomed to."

In a statement, Long said he had discussed how King could continue
the legacy of her father and mother, Coretta Scott King, whose 2006
funeral was at held at New Birth.

"I am in full support of her decision to leave New Birth in pursuit
of this worthy endeavor," he said.