Juan McFarland, the pastor at a Montgomery, Alabama, church who confessed to having sex with members of his congregation when he knew he was infected with AIDS, is refusing to leave the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church -- and has changed the locks on the building, as well as the church's bank account information, as he holes up in his office, TV station WFSA reported Thursday night.
McFarland had the locks changed on Monday. On Tuesday, McFarland entered the church, locked the doors behind him, and has apparently been inside ever since. At one point, police were called to a disturbance at the church, including a report of people refusing to leave the premises.
But no arrests were made. Now the church's chief deacon, 80 year-old Nathan Williams -- who has attended services at Shiloh regularly for the past 71 years and says that under normal circumstances he would go to the church every day -- is at home trying to find a legal way to get McFarland out of there, and out of the church's life.
But Williams says that lawyers have advised him to avoid direct confrontations with Juan McFarland, who presided over the Shiloh congregation for 23 years.
"The congregation took a vote on Sunday about whether McFarland should be fired. The final count came down 80-2 in favor of removing the pastor. But now McFarland simply refuses to leave and appears to be holding the church itself, and the church's funds, hostage."
As The Inquisitr reported Thursday, McFarland delivered a series of sermons in September, in which he confessed first to having been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Williams said that, at that time, the Shiloh congregation rallied around their leader, trying to give him support and help.
But the confessions just kept coming -- illegal drug use; taking church funds for his own use; lying. And then the most damaging admission of all: McFarland admitted that he had conducted adulterous sexual relationships with women in his congregation -- even though he knew he had AIDS.
McFarland himself earlier this week admitted to WFSA that he made the startling confessions from the very pulpit of his church, during Sunday sermons. But since then, the disgraced pastor has refused all requests for media interviews.
"Williams told the news site AL.com that even before McFarland delivered his confessional sermons, there were signs that something was very wrong. McFarland didn't show up at church one Sunday in August, and also skipped a regional Alabama Baptist event at which he was supposed to give a talk. Both times, his absences went unexplained."
Williams told AL.com that even today, it remains a mystery where Juan McFarland disappeared to when he failed to show at those events.