After watching this all play out over these last few days…I realized that I couldnt act as a bystander. This situation is very personal and close to me on a few levels.
My family and I were members of New Birth for over 7 years; Bishop Long served and continues to serve as one of my spiritual mentors and influencers; outside of my Dad and Mom.
But more than that I was and am still a “LONGFELLOW”. I along with my oldest brother; as well as the mentioned “PLAINTIFFs” were apart of the 1st class of Longfellows – Bishop’s Young Men’s Mentoring program together. So unlike many in the many Gospel/ministry community I have knowledge of ALL parties involved. And having that makes this entire ordeal so hard and hurtful. I entered the gospel industry community at a very young age – 12 and I will be 21 in March. Over these years unfortunately, I have seen, heard and been subjected to alot of pain, hurt and not so good news of Gospel; but this is beyond anything I have ever experienced. Over the years I have encountered people who have said one thing in public and demonstrated another in backrooms and behind stage. Bishop Long has been a CONSISTENT force of realness and just a straight up dude. He has always been real, honest, caring and giving to many; but to me and my family specifically and personally.
My point is this simply, I am in the unique position to know ALL parties involved and I have to say MY PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE of Bishop Long as a Pastor, Leader, Mentor, Father-like figure and Friend; these allegations completely contradict not a public image but the man that I know and trust personally. I hate the shadow or cloud that is being cast over something as meaningful as LONGFELLOWs; like it was some secret society of sin. Young dudes from all walks of life and family situations need these types of programs; we need the influence and direction of Godly men; and LONGFELLOWs, Bishop Long and the staff reached out and provided that w/ love, discipline, direction, vision, scholarship assistance and fundamentals of becoming a REAL man. Longfellows as an organization and Bishop Long as a Leader and Mentor; were instrumental in my growth as a teenager, now as a man and as a public and platformed representative of Christ.
My heart’s prayer is for resolution and reconciliation. I have been praying and will continue to pray for ALL of my fellow LONGFELLOWS and for Bishop Long and his family. My family scripture and motto has always been ROMANS 8:28 – “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” and over these past few days I have reassured myself with the promise that scripture holds.