It’s an announcement that left members at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, stunned.
The church’s pastor, Juan McFarland, recently admitted he had AIDS and had slept with church members without revealing his condition, according to a report from WSFA-TV.
McFarland was removed as pastor last Sunday.
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The WSFA report said McFarland also admitted to drug use and mishandling church funds. McFarland told members of his church he contracted HIV in 2003, which became “full blown” AIDS in 2008.
Al.com reports that McFarland has been pastor at Shiloh since 1990. His biography page is still up on the church’s official website and describes McFarland as “steadfast, immovable [and] always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
Church deacon Nathan Williams, a member of Shiloh for some 70 years, told WSFA he is focused on getting the “church back,” not “hurting” McFarland:
Our moves are going to come directly from counsel. We want peace and we want to do things right, legally. We are not looking to hurt him. We are looking to get the church back. That’s our theme: Get the church back. We want the church back. That’s it.
McFarland himself confirmed the news of his actions and medical condition to WSFA. It is unclear how many people Pastor McFarland may have slept with.
Some unnamed church members in the station’s exclusive report said that some may be fearful of coming forward and exposing what happened.