New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Christian Academy Reopening

By: Fran Jeffries |The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New Birth Missionary Baptist Church plans to reopen its New Birth Academy on Thursday, according to Channel 2 Action News.

New Birth’s announcement in late December that the school would close after 18 years sent hundreds of students scrambling to find a new school. The church said then it would have to close the school due to the sluggish economy and low enrollment.

New Birth spokesman Art Franklin confirmed to Channel 2 that it was announced at Sunday’s worship services that the academy will reopen through a cooperative agreement with Aurora Day School. Franklin declined to release details on what role Aurora Day School will play in New Birth Academy operations, saying the details would likely be released during a news conference later this week. Aurora has campuses in Tucker and Roswell.

Franklin told Channel 2 that all students, including those previously enrolled at New Birth, will need to enroll this Wednesday at New Birth between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. He said New Birth Academy plans to reopen its doors this Thursday.

The pre-K-12 school, founded by new Birth’s senior pastor Bishop Eddie Long, had an enrollment of 221, according to the Georgia Independent School Association, and employed 20 teachers. Just a few years ago, the Lithonia academy boasted of having one teacher for every eight students.

The news that it would close capped a tumultuous year for Long, who was back in the pulpit Sunday after a brief leave in December to take some time off from pastoral duties to tend to “family business,” he said. In May, he settled a sexual coercion suit filed against him by four former New Birth members. Earlier in December, his wife of 21 years, Vanessa, filed for divorce. Long returned New Year’s Eve and has continued to do so at weekly services.