More problems for the scandal-plagued "Bishop" Eddie Long and the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Citing low enrollment and a poor "economy", the church has announced plans to close its Christian Academy at the end of the school year, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV.
Enrollment reportedly has dropped by almost 80 percent at the Faith Community Christian Academy K-12. The academy is located on the New Birth campus in Lithonia,
The academy closed in January 2012 due to economic troubles, but reopened shortly [later]. According to New Birth's website, the school opened in 1993 as New Birth Christian Academy, and at one time boasted an enrollment of more than 200 students. But a church spokesperson said the current enrollment is at about 40, not nearly enough to be able to keep the school economically viable. He said this is a growing trend among private Christian academies as more and more of them are hit with economic hardships.
The school closure is just the latest bad news for the megachurch that once boasted up to 25,000 members. Twelve former church members announced in January that they were suing Long and New Birth for "encouraging" them to invest millions in a Ponzi scheme.
The anti-gay televangelist was accused of luring at least five young men into sexual relationships in late 2010. Long was accused of using church funds to give the young men cash, gifts and cars. The sexual relationships reportedly began when each of the plaintiffs were around 16 years old. Long reached an out-of-court settlement with the young men in May 2011. Read the complaints HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
Long's wife Vanessa publicly announced her plans to divorce in December 2011. The case was withdrawn in February 2012. Mrs. Long received a standing ovation from church members in September 2012 when she discussed why she remained in the marriage.
New Birth MBC maintains the school's financial problems are "not" related "to the controversy surrounding church founder Bishop Eddie Long and allegations of sexual abuse."
Keep telling yourself that, hon.