MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Christian Examiner) -- Illegal drug use, sexual affairs and long concealed AIDS diagnosis were the shocking confessions delivered in a sermon series by Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Juan McFarland, 47, over recent weeks.
The congregation was initially sympathetic to their leader of 23 years when he revealed during a sermon on Sept. 14 that he had contracted HIV in 2003 and been diagnosed with AIDS in 2008. As weeks progressed, the pastor continued to disclose from the pulpit his cocaine use, abuse of church funds and sexual relationships with female church members while knowingly having AIDS. Church leadership ultimately dismissed McFarland on Oct. 5 after deacons unanimously voted to do so, but Alabama news source AL.com, has stated that McFarland still has keys to the church and may have changed its locks the following day.
Thursday, Oct. 9, Montgomery's local news, 12WSFA, reported confirming with McFarland that he confessed to sleeping with members without revealing he had AIDS.
The news station also reported that at least one woman who engaged in a sexual relationship with the former pastor is seeking to learn if she was infected.
According to the Montgomery Police Department, "Transmitting a Sexually Transmitted Disease" is a Class C Misdemeanor. Church deacon Nathan Williams Jr. says leaders have obtained legal counsel, and are now focused on moving the church forward.
Although no criminal charges have been filed to date, some congregants are calling for justice and his prosecution.
McFarland is also the moderator of the Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association which is comprised of 34 area churches . As of this time the Association does not report any intention of removing McFarland from his position.