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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, February 29, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Confessions’ Get Pastor Banned From Church

(CN) - An embattled pastor in Montgomery, Ala., has been temporarily barred from his church by a court order issued Thursday.

Rev. Juan D. McFarland, the controversial pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, was banned from attending the church and even "being on the premises," after Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Charles Price issued a preliminary injunction.

McFarland had reportedly stunned his congregation recently with a series of personal confessions made during his sermons. Among the reported revelations was drug use, misuse of church funds, having sex with female church members on church grounds, and having AIDS.

In the wake of the shocking admissions, church leaders attempted to force him out. At an Oct. 5 meeting, they voted 80 to 1 to dismiss McFarland as the church's pastor. McFarland, however, refused to leave.

The matter reached the courts last week as the church's board of deacons and board of trustees filed suit in the Circuit Court of Montgomery in effort to oust McFarland from the pulpit.

The Oct. 14 complaint accused the pastor of believing in "sexual ungodliness" and "engaging in such acts in the church building."

It further accused him of attempting to alter the church's bylaws in January 2013 to prevent his termination "in the event the church members discovered his debauchery, sinfulness, hedonism, sexual misconduct, dishonesty, thievery and rejection of the Ten Commandments."

The plaintiffs also accused him of changing the locks at the church and changing the names on church bank accounts.

Responding to the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction, Price said that the plaintiffs had "met their burden of showing an entitlement to a preliminary injunction."

In addition to banning him from the church premises, the court ordered McFarland to return all church keys to Lee Sanford, the chairman of the board of trustees at Shiloh Missionary. McFarland was also required to turn over a Mercedes Benz that belongs to the church and change the names on the church bank accounts back to their original state.

"The Defendant Juan D. McFarland shall immediately inform the manager of the Adams Avenue branch of Regions Bank that all bank accounts of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church shall be placed back in the names of the same individuals as they existed on October 1, 2014," Price wrote.

The ruling also indicated that defendant Marc Peacock had "resigned his membership at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and any issue concerning him is moot."

Price set a final hearing on the matter for Dec. 1 at 9 a.m.

The attorneys representing the plaintiffs are Kenneth Shinbaum and Julian McPhillips of Montgomery.

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