The on-again, off-again divorce between a famed megachurch pastor -- who has a popular following in many states, including Texas -- and his wife is off again.
Vanessa Long, who filed paperwork to divorce Bishop Eddie Long, asked that the petition be dismissed. It is not clear if the couple has reunited. But what's important is that the couple has decided to make the choice that is best for them. Sometimes divorce is not the answer.
Eddie Long is pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, which has approximately 25,000 members. His wife of 21 years announced on Dec. 2, 2011, that after much thought and prayer, she had decided to divorce her husband.
Later that day, she issued another statement saying that after more consideration, she would withdraw her divorce filing. She said she loved her husband and that they had decided to work together on their marriage but that she had sought a divorce because she was tired of media "attacks."
Yet on that same day, Vanessa Long's attorneys said she would still seek to divorce her husband.
In filing the divorce petition, the 53-year-old woman said the couple had been separated and that their marriage was broken and couldn't be saved. In a statement, Eddie Long said he loved his wife and wanted to work on their marriage.
The divorce proceeded until the day before Valentine's Day, when online court records showed that the case of Long vs. Long had been dismissed without prejudice. Attorneys for Eddie Long said the court records were accurate. The circumstances for the petition's withdrawal are unknown.
Eddie Long has previously faced accusations of engaging improper sexual conduct with male congregation members. In September 2010, four former church members sued him, stating that the religious leader had lured them into sexual relationships by finding them jobs and offering gifts and travel. The bishop agreed to settle lawsuits in May 2011, even though he continues to say the allegations are untrue.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Vanessa Long calls off divorcing New Birth pastor Bishop Eddie Long," Christopher Seward, Feb. 17, 2012