MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The long-time pastor of a South Alabama church shocked his congregation last month when he told them he had contracted HIV in 2003 and five years later discovered he had full-blown AIDS. Church members understood pastor Juan McFarland's decision to keep his health a secret and even offered to help him anyway they could.
That support ended, however, when McFarland continued to reveal more secrets about himself.
This month he admitted to having sex with women at church and not telling them about his positive HIV status.
"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," Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Deacon Nathan Williams Jr. told church members during this past Sunday's service.
McFarland was removed as pastor, a job he held for 23 years, after his congregation learned the truth.
"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," one church member said. "My heart goes out to her because she's been a wonderful church member."
Deacon Williams said the church has retained a lawyer and is focused on moving forward.
"Our moves are going to come directly from counsel," he said. "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."
Other church members want to see their former pastor go to court.
"I believe that he should be put on trial," one church member said. "Go to court and let the judge decide if he should go to jail or not."