A minister who confessed to having sex with church members and neglecting to tell them he had AIDS was temporarily banned from acting as pastor on Thursday.
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price issued a preliminary injunction, as sought by deacons and trustees of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church. Price ruled that the Rev. Juan McFarland, 47, must turn in his church keys and his church Mercedes vehicle and then stay away from the church he led for 24 years.
Church members hugged and prayed after the ruling. “Now we’ve got the church back, and the healing can begin,” said Lois Caffey, a member for 21 years.
The judge scheduled a hearing Dec. 1 to decide whether to issue a permanent injunction.
Lee Sanford, chairman of the board of trustees, said the challenge now is to reunite the 170 active members of the congregation. “I’m confident with God’s help we will be able to do that,” he said.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit said that the congregation voted to fire McFarland after his confessions but that he refused to leave and changed the church’s locks and control of church bank accounts.
McFarland said nothing inside or outside the courtroom Thursday during two hearings. He attended without an attorney.
The boards of deacons and trustees sued both McFarland and church parliamentarian Marc Anthoni Peacock, who was involved in changing the locks and bank accounts. Peacock resigned from the church after testifying in court Thursday and was dropped from the suit.