After more than eight years as a member of the Lithonia, Ga., church led by Bishop Eddie Long, Bernice King announced Tuesday that she is leaving to start her own ministry.
King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., revealed her departure from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church just days after Long reached a settlement in four sexual misconduct lawsuits filed against him.
In an interview with Praise 102.5, she assured her decision was not related to the case, and that she knew her time at New Birth was only for "a season."
"I know there's been a lot of speculation, many comments about my departure from New Birth," King said. "But I want you, I'm asking you... to take my word."
She said she met with Long in April to discuss her decision.
"We sat and talked and I told him that I have to leave because my assignment that God has in my life, I must go and pursue. That I would be leaving at the end of May," King recalled.
"He gave me his blessings and supported me," she added.
King didn't give specifics on her upcoming ministry -- only saying that God has told her to "raise kings for the Kingdom."
"I'm going to launch a ministry. I'm not calling it a church right now," she told the Atlanta radio station. "What God is showing me doesn't look like what people are accustomed to."
King thanked Long and the New Birth congregation for being with her through several difficult times in her life, including the deaths of her mother and sister, and a legal conflict with her brother.
King's last day as an elder was Sunday, May 29 -- a date she said the Holy Spirit placed in her heart.