AFRICANGLOBE – An Alabama pastor is being sued by members of his congregation after he admitted to sleeping with worshippers at his church despite knowing of his AIDS status, reports WECT 6.
Juan Demetrius McFarland, who served as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of Montgomery, Ala., told his congregation on Sept. 14 that he had contracted HIV in 2003 and learned in 2008 that he had AIDS. One church member said that the congregation was very accepting of McFarland when he made the announcement, according to WSFA 12.
However, McFarland’s next several sermons led the congregation to push him to step down. In a resolution read aloud at church, McFarland, pastor of the church for 29 years, admitted to drug use and mishandling church funds, church deacon Nathan Williams Jr. said. But that wasn’t the worst part.
“He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS,” Williams said.
McFarland refused to step down after admitting his behavior. The church responded by overwhelmingly voting him out on Sunday, Oct. 5 in an 80-2 vote. But that hasn’t stopped McFarland from appearing at the church. He delivered a sermon this past Sunday on divine healing.
The church has obtained legal counsel to sue McFarland.
“The majority of the members were shocked,” Montgomery attorney Julian McPhillips, a lawyer hired by the church, said. “There were only about 50 people there. But why show up to a church you have been voted out of? A lot of members are intimidated. He has run that church like a dictator over the years.”
Deacon Chair Nathan Williams, Jr. said the congregation just wants to move on. “We want peace. We are not trying to hurt him. We want to move forward the right way and start healing,” Williams said.
McFarland doesn’t have a lifetime contract with the church.
“Even if he did, you have to remain in good standing when you sign any contract and he has proven with his own confessions that he has not. So it would be void anyway, but the fact is he does not have a contract with the church,” McPhillips says.
By: Terrell Jermaine Starr