Wife of Bishop Eddie Long discusses divorce ‘storm’ with New Birth congregation: ‘I got off the ship’

Bishop Eddie Long walks to the pulpit with his wife Vanessa Long

Bishop Eddie Long walks to the pulpit with his wife Vanessa Long to give a sermon where he addressed sex scandal allegations at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church September 26, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Bishop Eddie Long, the pastor of a Georgia megachurch was accused of luring young men into sexual relationships, has told his congregation of thousands that he denies all the allegations and that all people must face painful and distasteful situations. (Photo by John Amis-Pool/Getty Images)

Vanessa Long, wife of Bishop Eddie Long, recently spoke to congregants of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church where she and her spouse provide spiritual leadership at one of the largest megachurches near Atlanta. Addressing the church’s women’s ministry in late August, Vanessa reflected on the period in which she nearly divorced Long in the aftermath of 2010 allegations that her husband had seduced male minors in his care.

“I was in the middle of a storm, and I got off the ship,” Vanessa Long said in the videotaped presentation of her vacillation in considering a split.

After announcing her plans to divorce in December 2011, Vanessa publicly changed her mind several times. Finally, the case was dismissed in February 2012.

Ultimately, the New Birth elder saw this controversy as a test of faith that strengthened her resolve to serve her church community.

“I realized that the best thing I could do was to let you see me as a woman, just like you. A woman capable of making good decisions and a woman capable of making bad decisions,” Long said. “Instead of condemning myself, I can use what happened as an opportunity to minister myself to someone else going through a storm.”

Mrs. Long received a standing ovation for revealing her struggles almost exactly two years after her husband’s accusers originally surfaced.

“Long received immense support for speaking to the Heart to Heart ministry, with several congregants on New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s Facebook page calling her speech ‘powerful,’ ‘inspiring,’ and spiritual,” The Christian Post reports.

Bishop Eddie Long settled with four of his five accusers out of court for undisclosed sums in May 2011.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.