Bernice King 'Following God's Voice' In Leaving New Birth


ATLANTA,None - Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday after departing from her role as an elder at Bishop Eddie Long's Lithonia mega church.

"I started really praying and meditating over it," King said during an interview on Praise 102.5 FM.

King said she approached Long in April to express her desire to leave.

"I told him that I have to leave because of my assignment that God has for my life," said King. "I know that I have a pastoral calling in my life," she said.

Channel 2 Action News first reported that King would depart New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. King's last day as an elder was Sunday. King gave the alter call during Sunday's 11 a.m. service.

"When I came to New Birth, I came for a season," said King, who served at the church for 8 years and 8 months.

When asked about the timing of her decision to leave, given that it came just days after the settlement and dismissal of sexual misconduct lawsuits against Long, King said she provided Long with a timetable and that May 29 was the date she decided upon.

"When you're in leadership at a church, there's a way that you leave. You don't just leave," said King. "I have always followed what I believe to be the voice of God in my life," she said.

Long returned to the pulpit Sunday for the first time since settling the sexual misconduct lawsuits. Four young men sued Long last fall, alleging he coerced them into sexual relationships. He didn't address the settlement during his sermon Sunday.

Previous Stories: May 29, 2011: Long Looks Ahead After Settling Abuse Lawsuits May 26, 2011: Bishop Eddie Long Reaches Settlement In Sex Abuse Case May 13, 2011: Eddie Long Misconduct Case Could Be Heading To Trial April 24, 2011: Long Sends Message To Accusers During Easter Sermon April 23, 2011: Sources: Bishop Eddie Long Case Close To Resolution January 28, 2011: Eddie Long Grants Ch. 2 First Interview Since Sex Allegations November 14, 2010: Eddie Long Backs Out Of Rally November 9, 2010: New Birth Files Response To Eddie Long Lawsuit November 2, 2010: Bishop Long Files Documents Denying Sex Abuse October 31, 2010: Protesters Rally For Eddie Long's Resignation October 14, 2010: Author Says He Knew Of Bishop Long Sex Abuse Claims In '07 October 1, 2010: New Birth Minister Speaks About Eddie Long Scandal September 30, 2010: Bishop Long Accuser: 'He Knows The Truth' September 29, 2010: Long Enlists Private Investigator Amid Sex Scandal September 29, 2010: 4th Man Files Suit Against Bishop Eddie Long September 29, 2010: Bishop Long Again Speaks To New Birth Members September 27, 2010: Bishop Long: I've Been Accused, I'm Under Attack September 24, 2010: Vehicles, Security Race To Bishop Long's Home September 22, 2010: 3rd Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Long In Sex Scandal