Bernice King Leaving Eddie Long's Megachurch to Start New Ministry

Bernice King confirmed during a radio program Tuesday that she is leaving Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after more than eight years as a member. King said her decision to leave comes as she pursues a new assignment from God.

Speaking to Praise 102.5, King said she served her last day as an elder and member of Long's Atlanta megachurch this past Sunday. She also clarified that she didn't "resign" from any position since she was never employed by New Birth.

"I'm just no longer a member of New Birth," King told Praise 102.5 FM.

King, the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said she has spent the past two years praying about her next assignment. At the time, she couldn't reconcile her plans to step into ministry with an offer to be the president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference. But after turning down the position in January, she felt it was time to take the next step in following God's calling.

In April 2011, she discussed her decision to leave New Birth with Eddie Long and received his blessing.

"We sat and talked and I told him that I have to leave because my assignment that God has in my life, I must go and pursue, that I would be leaving at the end of May," said King to radio host Rhodell Lewis.

"He gave me his blessings and supported me in it."

King's departure from New Birth on Sunday came just days after a settlement had been reached in a sexual misconduct case between Long and four young men. Long was accused in the lawsuits of using his position and lavish gifts to coerce the men into sexual relationships.

Radio host Lewis addressed speculation that her leaving had something to do with Long's settlement in the case. Although he didn't directly mention the case, Lewis asked King to respond to people who ask why all these "things" were happening at the same time.

"I've always followed what I believed to be the voice of God and I've sought to be obedient to that voice," responded King. "I know that I have a pastoral calling on my life and I have to accept it. I'm in the process of pursuing that."

She added, "I did what I felt what was appropriate in leadership, which was sit down and talk with him and gave him the timetable of when I would leaving. I didn't just leave."

"That was the decision the Holy Spirit placed in my heart, which was Sunday, May 29. I have never wavered from that."

What is the calling that King will pursue?

"I'm going to launch a ministry ... I'm going to spend the next several months preparing and building a foundation for that," she said.

King didn't give any further information on her ministry but did say that God has told her to raise "kings for the Kingdom."

In her final words on the program, King expressed her gratitude to Long and the New Birth congregation for being with her through several difficult seasons in her life, including the deaths of her mother and sister, a legal battle with her brother, and her consideration to head SCLC.

"I want to thank him and all the New Birth family for all their love and support for all the time I was at New Birth and for all of their prayers."

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