Vanessa Long, a New Birth Missionary Baptist Church elder and wife of the late Eddie Long, was shocked by the sudden resignation of Bishop Stephen A. Davis. Davis had been handed the reins of the church after Eddie Long’s death in January 2017.
Speaking to the congregation during Wednesday night services, Vanessa Long said, “I must admit it came as a shock to me just as it did to you. I feel your pain. I feel your love. I feel your disappointment. I feel your confusion.”
Mrs. Long said she cried in the aftermath of Davis’ resignation as she thought of members who would grieve another departure in leadership.
New Birth says it will begin a nationwide search for a new pastor.
Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., chairman of the church’s board, said that the “strain on Bishop Davis from having to come back and forth from Birmingham to Atlanta weekly while maintaining his other churches — one in Birmingham and one in Tuscaloosa — became a major challenge for him.”
Bishop Dale C. Bronner of Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Austell, GA, delivered the Wednesday night sermon. He told the audience, “I’m convinced God loves New Birth. I’m convinced God has a plan for you… Every time you are broken and disappointed there is a birthing.”
In a statement, Bishop Stephen Davis said, “I love my New Birth Family both in Birmingham and Stonecrest. However, at this time, my wife, my children, and the New Birth Birmingham family need my full attention. We will remain a New Birth Church in Birmingham and maintain a relationship with the New Birth Stonecrest Congregation.”
Rumors of Davis’ resignation swirled months prior to the announcement today.