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HIV pastor suspended over relationships with church members

Fri 17 Oct 2014
By Joy Tibbs

A minister in Alabama, who refused to resign after he confessed to having sex with church members and neglecting to tell them he had HIV, has been temporarily banned from pastoring.

It comes after Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price issued a preliminary injunction against Rev Juan McFarland, instigated by deacons and trustees at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

One of the claimants, deacon Nathan Williams Jr, said that that in August and September, McFarland delivered sermons during which he confessed to having sex with church members inside the church building but not in the sanctuary; having HIV and not telling sex partners; and using illegal drugs.

According to Canadian press, claimants in the lawsuit said that the congregation voted to fire McFarland following his confessions, but that he wouldn't leave and that he had changed the church's locks and retained control of church bank accounts.

McFarland, who has been pastor of the church for 24 years, said nothing inside or outside the courtroom on Thursday morning during a hearing. He attended without an attorney.

The judge ruled that the 47-year-old must turn in his church keys and his church-owned Mercedes by the end of the work day.

The court heard members of the congregation first tried to help the pastor but when this didn't work members took a vote to fire him during a service.

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