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Atlanta pastor’s wife withdraws divorce petition

The wife of the embattled pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has reportedly withdrawn her petition for divorce from her husband, according to DeKalb County court filings and the pastor’s family law attorney.

Neither Bishop Eddie Long nor his wife, Vanessa, has publicly commented on the reasons for the dismissal of the divorce petition. However, her initial hesitance in filing may have alluded to the fact that she would not see the divorce all the way through.

Vanessa Long filed for divorce in early December after 21 years of marriage. She released a public statement announcing that she had decided to end her marriage after “a great deal of deliberation and prayer.” In her petition, she stated that her marriage was “irretrievably broken” and that she and her husband had been living in a “state of separation” prior to the time at which she made the divorce filing.

However, she withdrew her divorce petition later that day, stating that upon further “prayerful reflection,” she had decided not to go through with the split. But that evening, Vanessa once again decided to proceed with the divorce from Bishop Eddie Long.

A little more than two months after filing for divorce, however, Vanessa has reportedly once again withdrawn her divorce petition. An online posting regarding the case states that it has been dismissed without prejudice.

In September 2010, four former members of the church filed a civil lawsuit against Bishop Long, alleging that he used his influence in the church and the community to coerce them into engaging in sexual relationships with him. Long denied the allegations, but it was only after several months of mediation that the lawsuit ended in settlement and a reported payout for the plaintiffs.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Vanessa Long calls off divorcing New Birth pastor Bishop Eddie Long,” Christopher Seward, Feb. 17, 2012