It’s an announcement that continues to rock a Montgomery church and the surrounding community.
WSFA 12 News confirmed with church leaders, including the now former pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Juan Demetrius McFarland himself, that McFarland confessed from the pulpit a few Sundays ago that he had full blown AIDS and had slept with church members without revealing he had AIDS.
Shocked and stunned, church members contacted the 12 NEWS DEFENDERS and reaction is coming in from the congregation that is still in disbelief.
McFarland didn’t hold back when he revealed to worshipers at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church on Sept. 14, that he contracted HIV in 2003 and discovered in 2008 he had AIDS.
“The church was very accepting of Reverend McFarland and was willing to help him in any way possible,” a church member, who wanted to remain unnamed, explained.
Once the pastor, with 23 years of leadership, started revealing more and more on the following Sundays, members and leaders say they realized he had crossed the line.
In a resolution read aloud at the church, leaders shared, and Pastor McFarland confirmed to WSFA 12 News, that he admitted to drug use and mishandling of church funds. And there was what members say was the ultimate shocker, described by church deacon Nathan Williams Jr.
“He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS,” Williams said.
McFarland was removed as church pastor on Oct. 5. Still, church members say some congregation members are afraid to come forward and many others are concerned.
“Who does this to people, and you are the leader? Who does this?” another unnamed church member asked.
“I know a young lady who is a member of the church who says she has slept with him and that she didn’t want this to go public, and she running out now trying to find out if there is anything wrong with her,” the member explained. “And my heart goes out to her because she’s been a wonderful church member, and then for something like this to happen. The fact that he didn’t tell them at all. That’s a crime in itself.”
The unnamed church member went on, “And I’m hoping by doing this interview that she will see that she can come and talk to someone and her name or whatever will not be revealed. And maybe she can have some peace by coming forward and not the shame that goes along with it.”
Deacon Williams says he’s been a member of the church for 70 years, and this is the biggest scandal the church has ever experienced.
“He confessed to the entire membership and then to the City of Montgomery, because as soon as he got done confessing, it went all over Montgomery anyway,” Williams said. “So it’s nothing we [are] making up. It’s coming out of his mouth.”
WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.