“Embattled church pastor Juan McFarland has complied with a judge’s order to turn over keys, bank accounts and a Mercedes Benz to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church officials prior to a 5 p.m. deadline, according to the church’s board of trustees chairman
Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Charles Price ruled against McFarland earlier in the day, telling him in a preliminary injunction hearing to return the property to the church’s leadership. In addition to returning the property, the judge barred McFarland from the church’s property.
The ousted pastor arrived in the Mercedes around 4 p.m., surrendered it to the church, and drove away in a different Mercedes with an unidentified woman.
The ruling against the pastor came several hours after Judge Price called a morning recess for the courtroom, packed with more than two-thirds of the church’s members. Juan McFarland sat on the very back row and had to be called to the front by the judge to join his co-defendant.
Both McFarland and his co-defendant, Marc Peacock, Sr. were being sued by church members who say they voted McFarland out of the church by an 80-1 margin after he admitted from the pulpit to having sexual relations inside the church building – with congregants – while knowingly having AIDS. McFarland has also admitted to drug abuse and misuse of church finances. Still, the pastor refused to step down.
McFarland did not say a word during the hearings, had no legal counsel and chose to represent himself. He left the courtroom and stepped onto an elevator with two men after the judge ruled against him.
Peacock was being sued for his alleged role in helping McFarland change the church’s locks, bank accounts and for threatening to shoot deacons if they returned to the church’s property. However, during Thursday’s hearing, Peacock resigned his membership with the church and was subsequently removed from the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claimed McFarland passed a new church constitution in 2013 giving himself total control of the church while only a few members were present, and it sought the termination and removal of both McFarland and Peacock from all aspects of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church’s operations.
“They all thought it was wrong and when they discovered it, they took measures a couple of weeks ago to pass resolutions that did away with that constitution. Also another resolution establishing who the board of deacons was and who is on it and then a resolution terminating Pastor McFarland,” said church attorney Julian McPhillips.
During the morning hearing, each side was allowed two witnesses to explain the situation. Head Deacon Nathan Williams, Jr. and Deacon Lee Sanders spoke on behalf of the church, while Peacock spoke on his own behalf and church member Chauncey Ballard spoke for both defendants.
The plaintiffs argued that an emergency injunction should be put into place, returning access to church bank accounts. They argued that if the court did not return access to the accounts, they would miss a $2,000 promissory note payment on the church building that is due by the end of the day.
The plaintiffs sought an immediate injunction while Peacock’s attorney, Charles Anderson, sought the termination and removal of McFarland and Peacock from all aspects of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church’s operations. Anderson attempted to have the case dismissed citing the court’s lack of jurisdiction in a matter involving a religious issue, but Judge Price immediately dismissed the request saying this wasn’t his first case involving a church and added that he does have jurisdiction if the church can’t resolve the issue on its own….”