A Montgomery, Ala. pastor blew his congregation back when he admitted that he had sex with multiple female church members while knowing that he had HIV and then AIDS — for years.
The Rev. Juan D. McFarland made the admission from the pulpit during a Sunday service this past September, said Deacon Nathan Williams Jr., a 71-year member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
“He made it public. He shared it, and I’m just saying what he said,” Williams said, adding that McFarland said the sex did not occur in the church sanctuary.
In addition to those iniquitous and abominable acts, Williams said McFarland also admitted to nonstop illicit drug use and misappropriating church funds.
“He was on marijuana, cocaine and all the drugs you can think of,” Williams said. “Those are his words.”
Williams said that McFarland also acknowledged that he had used money given to him for conventions on having “a good time.”
Despite this shocking admission of his moral turpitude and debauchery, McFarland remains the leader of the Alabama Middle District Missionary Baptist Association, for reasons that escape rationale thinking and reasoned judgement. Other leaders with the association could not immediately be reached for comment. But, then again, what could they possibly say to justify keeping McFarland in a leadership position? To many, this boggles the human imagination.
According to WSFA-TV in Montgomery, after the Sept. 14 announcement, McFarland confirmed everything he shared with the congregation, including sex with parishioners, the drug use and the mishandling of church money. WSFA reports that McFarland was removed as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday.
McFarland rebuffed efforts of the local Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser to get him to sit down for interviews. Other church leaders could not immediately be reached for comment.
In response to the pastor’s admission, a non-profit organization that helps HIV and AIDS patients issued a statement Thursday.
“‘Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama’ would like to extend our compassion to those who may have been affected by the recent announcement made by a local church pastor,” the statement reads. “We are always saddened to hear of new incidences of HIV, and our hearts go out to all of those living with the virus.”
Church leaders said McFarland was not completely forthcoming with them either. They said McFarland only made them aware McFarland was HIV positive for about five weeks before the pastor made the announcement, Williams said. The plan, he said, was to have someone talk to congregants about the disease when they announced it.
But when McFarland’s confessed during Sunday service that he also had unprotected sex with female parishioners for years, church leaders said they were shocked to their core.
According to Williams, McFarland said that he was diagnosed HIV positive in 2003 and then was tested again in 2008, which was when he was diagnosed with AIDS.
Williams said he did not know how many women McFarland might have slept with.
Church leaders initiated a vote to have McFarland removed as pastor, Williams said. The vote was 80 to two in favor of removal, he said.
In what can be termed as the apex of hypocrisy and arrogance, the sex-crazed pastor changed the locks on the church after announcing he has AIDS, and he even changed the church’s bank account, leaving other church leaders without access. Church leaders are consulting with lawyers and the bank to figure out a solution, he said.
“If it calls for a lawsuit, it calls for a lawsuit. We’re going through the process,” Williams said, adding that no church leaders have filed criminal charges “as of yet.”
Williams said he had been close with McFarland and that the pastor was like a son to him at one time.
“I was surprised. Really, I was hurt,” Williams said. “But it is not about me, it is about the church. We’re going to get the church back.”