New Birth Missionary Baptist Church

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New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is a megachurch run by senior pastor Bishop Eddie Long in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, near Lithonia.[1] It has embraced a Pentecostal theology not typically found in African-American Baptist churches.

The church was founded in 1939 in Scottdale as Travelers Rest Baptist Church. In 1983, it moved to Decatur and adopted its current name.[2] Long took over as pastor in 1987. At the time, the church had only 300 members. Since his installation, membership has grown to 25,000.[3]

In 2002, New Birth was chosen by the family of rapper and R&B superstar Lisa Left Eye Lopes to host the funeral for the rapper, who was killed in a car accident in La Ceiba, Honduras.

In 2003, New Birth planted a branch called "New Birth Charlotte" in Charlotte, North Carolina. That church has since grown to a megachurch in its own right, with 9,000 members.

On August 15, 2004 the church opened a branch called "New Birth Memphis" in Memphis, Tennessee. The church has since closed and New Birth Memphis no longer exists.[4]

In 2006, the church was chosen by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. to host and officiate the funeral for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of the late civil rights pioneer.[5] The event was attended by four Presidents (George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter).[6]

The church has also been marred by controversy, with four individuals filing separate lawsuits in DeKalb County Superior Court, Georgia alleging that Bishop Long used his pastoral influence to coerce them into a sexual relationship with him when they were teenagers.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Home." New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Retrieved on October 7, 2010. "New Birth Missionary Baptist Church – 6400 Woodrow Road – Lithonia, GA 30038"
  2. ^ Archive of New Birth history page
  3. ^ New York Times article by James C. McKinley and Robbie Brown: Sex scandal threatens a Georgia pastor’s empire
  4. ^ Holmes, Kevin (September 22, 2010). "Bishop Eddie Long Sex Scandal Has Ties To Memphis". ABC 24 News. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  5. ^ Day to Day (2006-02-07). "New Birth Missionary Church Hosts King's Funeral". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-22. 
  6. ^ McNamara, Melissa (2006-02-07). "Four Presidents Join 10,000 Mourners At Coretta Scott King's Funeral". cbsnews.com (CBS). Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  7. ^ CNN: Men allege sexual coercion by prominent Atlanta pastor

External links[edit]