Updated: Oct. 17, 4 p.m.: Judge Charles Price of Alabama’s 15th Judicial Circuit Court on Thursday ordered the Rev. Juan Demetrius McFarland to step down from Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, NBC News reports.
The move came after church deacon filed a lawsuit to force him from the pulpit after he confessed to drug use, the misappropriation of funds, and adultery with several church members even though he had been diagnosed with AIDS. Church membership voted to fire McFarland, but he showed up last Sunday to preach, prompting the lawsuit.
The deacons charged that McFarland had changed the locks on the church and one of his supporters threatened to shoot them if they came back, the report says. The judge on Thursday ordered McFarland to turn over the church keys and relinquish the bank accounts by the end of the day, NBC affiliate WSFA reported.
Members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., have hired lawyers in an effort to oust their longtime pastor, Juan Demetrius McFarland, who last month made a shocking pulpit confession.
Pastor McFarland told congregants in September that he had full-blown AIDS and yet had numerous sexual affairs with church members, mishandled church funds, and abused illegal drugs.
By a vote of 80-2 on Sunday, Oct. 5th, members voted to remove McFarland, who has led the church since 1990. But last weekend, he was back in the pulpit, delivering a sermon on divine healing, according to WECT-TV 6.
“The majority of the members were shocked,” Julian McPhillips, a Montgomery attorney who along with his law partner, Kenneth Shinbaum, represents the church, told the news station. “There were only about 50 people there. But why show up to a church you have been voted out of? A lot of members are intimidated. He has run that church like a dictator over the years.
“We are finalizing paperwork right now,” McPhillips continued. “We plan to file a civil lawsuit Tuesday, which will include a restraining order keeping him away from the church property.”