Lines of mourners — and those simply curious — began arriving at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Tuesday morning for a public viewing for Bishop Eddie L. Long.

The influential and controversial megachurch pastor died Jan. 15 of cancer at age 63.

Inside, two lines formed as people signed guestbooks before being ushered inside to view the body of Long, who lay in repose in the front of the cavernous Lithonia sanctuary. A human chain of ushers kept the line moving quickly — like a well-oiled machine.

Florist vans pulled up to the entrance as delivery drivers brought in plants and mostly white and off-white floral arrangements that were placed next to dozens more on display in the vestibule.

Nestled between two rows of flowers rested a coffin with carvings on the top and at its head, more flowers arranged in the shape of New Birth’s emblem.

Inside, Long lay dressed in red shoes and wore red and white clerical robes and a cape with gold trim. Around his neck rested a large gold cross, and there were several rings on his fingers.

Gregory B. Levett and Sons Funeral Home & Crematory was in charge of arrangements. The funeral program starts at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at New Birth. Long will lie in repose 8 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. prior to the funeral.

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source: AJC/Sheila M. Poole


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