An Illinois pastor who was recently charged with sexually violating a church member continues to preach from the pulpit.
Pastor Antwon M. Funches Sr., who leads the historic St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Freeport, Illinois, was accused of violating the church member after going to their home to fix a refrigerator for them on June 18.
"He was my pastor that I trusted dearly," the alleged victim, who remains anonymous for privacy reasons, said in an order of protection filed against the pastor. "I didn't deserve to be violated."
According to Freeport Police records, Funches was arrested on July 8 and posted a $750 bond the next day. As reported by The Roys Report, the order of protection against Funches orders him to cease contacting the church member's family and "to stop spreading rumors in the church."
The pastor would resume preaching at his church on July 11 and July 18, with no mention of his arrest. Instead, Funches opted to share messages from inspirational Scriptures, such as Romans 8:28.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose," the verse states.
According to the website of The St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Funches "formerly served as a board member of the FSD 145 School District and currently serves as vice president of the Freeport Fellowship and Ministers' Alliance. He is also a board member of Amity Daycare & Learning Center and the Community Liaison to the City Manager of Freeport."
A spokesperson from the office of Freeport City Manager Randy Bukas, however, distanced the office from Funches.
Oh, I would say that's taking it a little far," the spokesperson told The Christian Post in response to the description from the church's website. "That is definitely not the case. We were not aware that that was up there. That might be his thinking, but that's definitely not the position of the city or the city manager."
Regarding the allegations and arrest, the spokesperson said that was a "police issue" and not "our issue."
Funches, a father of three and grandfather of three, was appointed the 115th pastor of the 110-year-old church nearly five years ago before the allegations were made.
He also served as an officer at the Cook County Sheriff's Office from 2002 to 2009. In 2011, the pastor pleaded guilty for plotting to commit and provide security for major drug dealings for cocaine and heroin right before he left the sheriff's office.
Pastor Funches is expected for a court hearing on August 12.
Photo courtesy: ©GettyImages/Stephen Barnes
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.