We Value Diversity. We Value Education. We Value History.
Home / Beyond the Bay / Ousted HIV pastor still has church keys to Alabama church, preached Sunday
Ousted HIV pastor still has church keys to Alabama church, preached Sunday
An Alabama pastor made a sermon on Sunday despite being ousted by church leaders following revelations he was HIV positive, used illegal drugs, and misspent church funds.
Pastor Juan McFarland led Sunday morning’s worship at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery for a congregation of 50 who encouraged him during his sermon.
The Montgomery Advertiser reports that on Wednesday retired Shiloh deacon Nathan Williams Jr. said McFarland admitted in a church sermon that he has been HIV positive since 2008 and even engaged in sexual acts with church members while knowingly having then disease.
Church members were surprised to see McFarland on Sunday after church leaders voted 80-2 to oust him from the church following news of his misdoings.
Only 50 members showed up on Sunday for a service that usually hosts about 160.
AL.com reports that Nathan Williams is suing to remove McFarland but that McFarland will stay in the pulpit for now.
McFarland has been Shiloh’s pastor for 24 years and in Sunday’s sermon referenced biblical stories that referenced the power of prayer and sudden healing.
He spoke about a story in the book of Matthew in which a faithful old man calls upon Jesus to heal his servant with leprosy.
The church’s missionary president Annette Russell spoke to the congregation about McFarland’s confessions and reminded them that they must have compassion.
‘He’s a man of God, but he’s a human being,’ she said of McFarland.
‘It’s not that we condone what our pastor has done, but we need to have compassion. We’re not supposed to assassinate our brothers and sisters. We’re not supposed to judge. We do our business at Shiloh. It didn’t have to be expressed in the papers or on television.’
Julian McPhillips who is one of the lawyers representing the church has said that McFarland is having trouble facing the reality that he’s been voted out of the church.
‘He is a bit of a strong-willed guy,’ said McPhillips, who on Friday met with major elders of the church.
‘He’s refusing to face the reality of what the congregation has voted.’
‘He’s trying to exercise dictatorial powers,’ said McPhillips of McFarland.
‘He’s living in a dream world.’
At the end of Sunday’s sermon McFarland broke out in song singing The Lord is My Sovereign as crying members of the congregation embraced him.
McFarland first revealed to worshipers in mid-September that he had contracted HIV in 2003 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 2008.
Whether or not he told all of his sexual partners that he had HIV or AIDS is yet to be determined, but one church-goer said she would be undergoing tests to see if she had the disease, WSFA reported.
‘My heart goes out to her because she’s been a wonderful church member, and then for something like this to happen,’ the church member said. ‘The fact that he didn’t tell them at all. That’s a crime in itself.’
A former Shiloh deacon who heard his sermons told AL.com that McFarland is not taking medicine to treat his illness.
After his most recent sermons, deacons voted on October 5 to remove him as pastor.