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Monday, December 5, 2011 - 7:18am

Eddie Long Takes Time Off

Updated: 3 years ago.
Bishop Eddie Long's wife filed a petition for divorce Thursday in DeKalb County Superior Court to end her 21-year marriage to the embattled minister. Long is taking time off from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, but will remain as senior pastor. (Photo Courtesy of Ian Britton via FreeFoto.com.)

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

Long's wife, Vanessa Long, filed a petition for divorce Thursday in DeKalb County Superior Court to end her 21-year marriage to the embattled minister.

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.

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