*The Rev. Bernice King just wrapped an interview at Atlanta’s Praise 102.5, where she explained the reason for leaving her position as an elder at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church—a move she suggests has nothing to do with the accusations of sexual misconduct against Bishop Eddie Long.
First, King told host Rhodell Lewis that media reports have blown her announcement way out of proportion by using the terms “step down” and “resign.”
“I was a little confused about that, because I’ve never been on staff. I’ve never been an employee of New Birth. I didn’t step down because I didn’t step up. I was already an ordained minister when I got to New Birth,” she explained. “I’m just no longer a member of New Birth.”
Rev. King said her original plan was to attend New Birth “for a season,” and she “didn’t expect the season to be quite as long as it was.”
She said the Holy Spirit spoke to her about her next assignment about seven years ago during one of Bishop Long’s sermons. But in that time, she has also had to deal with the back-to-back loss of her mother and sister, the court drama with her brother Dexter over the family estate, and her decision in January not to accept the presidency of SCLC. Rev. King said in the past two years, she was finally able to meditate and pray over the calling that came to her that day.
Once the SCLC decision was made in January, “I was released at that point to go to Bishop [Long],” she said. “We sat down and talked, and I told him that I have to leave because [the] assignment that God has on my life, I must go and pursue – and I will be leaving at the end of May. That’s what transpired, and of course he gave me his blessings and supported me in it.”
As for what that assignment is, the youngest daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would only say, “I’m going to launch a ministry. I’ll be spending time over the next several months preparing and building a foundation for that.”
Asked to clear up the suspicious timing of her decision to leave New Birth, which comes after the lawsuits against Bishop Long were settled out-of-court, King says, “I can’t clear up the mind of God. I have always followed what I believe to be the voice of God, in my life, and I’ve sought to be obedient to that voice. Just as when I left my previous church, it was a very difficult decision – but I had to be obedient to leave and go to New Birth. In this instance it’s the same thing.
“I know that I have a pastoral calling on my life. I had to accept it, and I am in the process of pursuing that.”
Listen to the entire interview below.