Eddie Long taking time off from Ga. megachurch

December 4, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Georgia Megachurch Pastor

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010 file photo, Bishop Eddie Long speaks at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga. Megachurch leader Long has announced he's taking time off to focus on his family after his wife filed for divorce. Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, said that the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church leader told his congregation Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, that he will continue to serve as senior pastor at the church in Lithonia, an Atlanta suburb. But Long said he needs a sabbatical. (AP Photo/John Amis, Pool, File)

LITHONIA, Ga. (AP) — Megachurch leader Bishop Eddie Long has announced he's taking time off to focus on his family after his wife filed for divorce.

Long's spokesman, Art Franklin, said that the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church leader told his congregation Sunday that he will continue to serve as senior pastor at the church in Lithonia, an Atlanta suburb. But Long said he needs a sabbatical.

Franklin would not say how much time Long planned to take off.

Long's wife, Vanessa Long, filed for divorce Thursday to end their 21-year marriage.

The split comes more than a year after allegations that Eddie Long used his lavish lifestyle and position of spiritual authority to lure four young men into sexual relationships. Eddie Long settled the cases but has never admitted to any wrongdoing.