Reports are swirling on Twitter and the internet that the Bishop Long mediation case has been, or is about to be, settled. Judge Johnny Panos met with media on Friday afternoon, saying that mediation between all the parties has been “difficult” but that a settlement is close, perhaps in the next few days. Reports say that mediation sessions have lasted all day into the wee hours of the morning, even until 3 am.
If the mediation is completed during Holy Week, it would be a boon for Long. With no sign of the five smooth stones he was going to throw back in September to defend his name, and the congregation reeling from an investment scandal and layoffs, Long desperately wants to get off the cross of public derision and skepticism. If Long settles out of court avoiding a trial, and obtains confidentiality clauses Long avoids both the scandal of a trial and the “outing” of his worldwide trysts with young men.
Meanwhile, members of New Birth as evinced in this video are sticking with Long, saying that “Everybody’s moving forward in Christ. It’s about God”. Long preached the Good Friday sermon in a red leather vest and short sleeves, still sporting a muscular physique. He may look and dress the same, but the reality of a large payout, shrinking church membership, and public derision about the impending payout point to a painful resurrection process for Long and New Birth.