Deacon: Pastor who admitted to AIDS, sex with congregants, changed locks and bank accts.
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Deacon Chair Nathan Williams Jr. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
A Montgomery church story is now a trending topic nationally after Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Reverend Juan McFarland confessed to WSFA 12 News, as well as from the pulpit a few Sundays ago, that he had AIDS and slept with church members without revealing he had AIDS.
Now, church leaders are talking about what they are doing to get help and what is happening now at the church. Deacon Chair Nathan Williams Jr. says the last few weeks have been a great challenge for the church.
Williams said McFarland's confessionals from the pulpit, which included admitting to drug use, mishandling church funds, and admitting to knowingly having AIDS and sleeping with women in the church, started on Sept. 14. Church members voted 80 to 2 on Sunday to remove and terminate McFarland as pastor, effective immediately, Williams said.
[DOCUMENT: Removing and terminating Pastor(.pdf)]
Williams says McFarland was silent after the vote. However, Montgomery police confirmed officers responded to a disturbance call of people refusing to leave the church. Officers cleared the call after the issue was resolved. Police did not have to remove anyone from the property nor was anyone arrested.
There are still some issues to be resolved at the church. Williams says McFarland has changed the locks on the church and changed the church's bank account, leaving other church leaders without access. After consulting with lawyers and the bank, church leaders determined the vote to change the by laws of the church, which placed McFarland in a dictator position, were not officially adopted.
HIV and AIDS are an epidemic – impacting millions around the world. Currently in Alabama, the African-American population is disproportionately affected.
"We were just trying to seek help. We tried to get people from the AIDS Outreach to come and talk to the church to explain what it meant. We wanted him to get well in due time but it just didn't turn out that way," Williams said.
Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama offered the church free educational workshops and testing.
The organization released a statement saying in part "we would like to extend our compassion to those who may have been affected by the recent announcement made by a local church pastor. We are always saddened to hear of new incidences of HIV, and our hearts go out to all of those living with the virus. HIV and AIDS can affect anyone from any background, and we encourage everyone to get tested."
Williams says with prayer the church can be restored as they start the healing process.
Williams and other members say they expect Sunday service to be a normal worship service without McFarland in the pulpit.