A Jacksonville pastor who confessed to sexual crimes against two young girls is once again preaching. Former Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church pastor Darrell Gilyard was just released from prison in December. He’s now delivering sermons at another Jacksonville church.
“All these people over here are trying to do is worship, which is what you all ought to be doing,” said one church member.
MEMBERS OF PASTOR GILYARD CONGREGATION DEFEND THEIR PASTOR HERE
At Christ Tabernacle, some church members questioned why First Coast News was outside their doors. We wanted to know more about the man they’ve allowed to preach inside.
“He’s preaching the Lord’s word and he can be wherever he wants to,” said Lindy Brown.
This is file video of Darrell Gilyard preaching during his former position as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
There were no more sermons at Shiloh after he surrendered to police in 2008, and admitted to committing sex crimes against two girls. He’s now a registered sex offender.
“He’s done his time. He’s in counseling and we should give him another opportunity because God can use anybody at any given time,” said Rebecca Smith.
Gilyard is now back on the pulpit, preaching at Christ Tabernacle. Rebecca Smith, Gilyard’s assistant, said she’s been in communication with him over the past three years and he expressed interest in leading a weekly bible study.
“We’ve been in prayer and I shared with him that God didn’t call you to lead bible study. God called you to preach,” said Smith. He’s now preaching on Sundays indefinitely, “until they tell him he can’t come back again.”
And because of that, and his legal requirements, children are sent to a separate building and service. Smith says it’s proof of how passionate they are about Gilyard returning to leadership.
“I’m passionate about doing the right thing and the right thing is giving another person another chance,” said Smith.
This chance also helps Christ Tabernacle out financially. Attendance was down but with Gilyard, it’s increased.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Brown.
Church members say it was the best decision, based on their beliefs.
“That’s what God would have us do. He would have us to appreciate everybody for who they are because none of us are without sin,” said Brown.
According to the Department of Corrections website, Gilyard is on probation until December of 2014. His assistant said he is not on payroll at the church, so he’s not being paid for his services. She does say he will most likely receive donations.