According to First Coast News, a Jacksonville, Florida church has separated children out from their congregation so a pastor who confessed to sexual crimes against two young girls can continue preaching.
Former Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church pastor Darrell Gilyard was just released from prison in December. He’s now delivering sermons at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church on North Davis Street.
Gilyard is now a registered sex offender and is on sex offender probation until December of 2014 according to the Department of Corrections.
While serving as pastor of Shiloh in 2008, he surrendered to police in 2008 and admitted to committing sex crimes against two girls under the age of 16.
While he was the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church Gilyard molested a 15-year-old girl and sent a lewd text message to another. Under the conditions of his plea agreement, Gilyard cannot have “unsupervised contact with children under 18 years old,” and in separating children from the congregation, “his new church has taken extraordinary steps to help Gilyard stick to the terms of his deal.”
“All these people over here are trying to do is worship, which is what you all ought to be doing,” said one church member when asked his opinion by First Coast News.
“He’s preaching the Lord’s word and he can be wherever he wants to,” said Lindy Brown.
Another parishoner said “it’s proof of how passionate the congregation is about Gilyard returning to leadership.”
“I’m passionate about doing the right thing and the right thing is giving another person another chance,” said Smith.
This chance also helps Christ Tabernacle out financially. Attendance was down, but with Gilyard it has increased.
Church members say it was the best decision, based on their beliefs.
“That’s what God would have us do. He would have us to appreciate everybody for who they are because none of us are without sin,” said one parishoner.
According to parishoners, Gilyard is not on the payroll at the church, so he’s not being paid for his services, but “will most likely get donations for his services.” Gilyard did not give any comments to First Coast News for this story.