Mar 7, 2011



Bishop Eddie Long told members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church during his 11 a.m. Sunday service that he recently took a 40-percent pay cut.

The economy, he said, has tightened the budgets for many churches, and the Lithonia-based megachurch is no exception.

Recently, the church said it was forced to lay off two full-time staffers and cut salaries by 10 percent. Additionally, the church said it had adopted a pilot program that adjusted the work week from five days to four.

Spokesman Art Franklin confirmed that Long and his wife, Vanessa, voluntarily reduced their compensation" but I am unable to confirm the amounts at this time."

Long has been embroiled in several sexual misconduct lawsuits, filed by four men who allege he coerced them into having improper relations. The church, which has about 25,000 members, is also named in the four lawsuits and its LongFellows Youth Academy is named in three. The first mediation session in efforts to resolve the case before it goes to trial recently ended and more could be scheduled.

Long said his compensation is determined by an independent board, in accordance with IRS regulations. Additionally, the members' supplemental (love) offering goes into the general operating fund. He said the church was "not hiding anything."

Money wasn't the only thing on the pastor's mind. He spoke out against the media and said New Birth is "under attack," which brought cheers from many in the sanctuary.

The bulk of his sermon dealt with maintaining faith through adversity. He said people often ask him how he can get up and go to church on Sunday mornings when people are talking about him.

Long said, "Nothing can take away my integrity; nothing can take away my faith."

source

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