Eddie Long's wife withdraws divorce petition

December 2, 2011

c. 2011 Religion News Service
(RNS) The wife of Bishop Eddie Long, a Georgia megachurch pastor who was
accused of sexual misconduct by four young men, has reconsidered her plans
to divorce him.

"Upon prayerful reflection, I have reconsidered and plan to withdraw
my petition for divorce from my husband," said Vanessa Long, in a
statement released Friday (Dec. 2) by New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
in Lithonia, Ga.

Eddie Long is senior pastor of the Atlanta-area megachurch and Vanessa
Long is an elder there.

"I love my husband. I believe in him and admire his strength, and
courage," Long said.

Earlier on Friday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that she
had authorized her lawyers to file for divorce. But the newer statement
attributed her previous decision to her frustration with "attacks in the
media" that she said overwhelmed her.

"I love my family and church family, New Birth Missionary Baptist
Church," she wrote. "Therefore, my husband and I have mutually agreed to
find healing from these attacks."
In May, Eddie Long reached out-of-court settlements with the men who
were once considered his "spiritual sons." They alleged he used money and
gifts to coerce them into sexual relationships.

The Longs were married in 1990 and have four children.