UK evangelical leader Mike Pilavachi has been formally suspended by the trustees of Soul Survivor Watford.
Rev. Canon Mike Pilavachi is the founder of the Soul Survivor festivals, which ran across the UK from 1993 to 2019 – and expanded to the USA and other countries. Countless numbers of young people attended the evangelistic events.
Pilavachi is also the Associate Pastor at Soul Survivor Watford, a local Anglican church in Watford in Hertfordshire, England. However, he is under investigation by church authorities about safeguarding concerns following allegations about inappropriate intimate relationships involving massage sessions between Pilavachi and some young adults participating in a Christian gap year project called Soul61.
A May 20 statement from the trustees of Soul Survivor Watford confirmed that Pilavachi has now been suspended as an employee with immediate effect while the formal independent investigation conducted by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) and St Albans Diocesan Safeguarding Team continues.
“It has become clear that this more decisive action should have been made earlier, and we have acted to correct this now,” the statement asserts.
“When he stepped back from ministry in April, Mike resigned from the board of Soul Survivor Watford and all related charity boards.
“We want to reiterate that we are especially aware of the responsibility we have towards those who reported their safeguarding concerns to the Church of England and of how much they are suffering. We regret this was not clear in our initial statement made on April 2 and are sorry for the pain caused as a result,” the statement continued.
“We are continuing to cooperate fully with the investigation. We are assured that anyone affected will continue to be given the opportunity to contribute to the investigation and given the support they need. We are also committed to reviewing the culture of Soul Survivor Watford and are determined that lessons are learned to ensure a strong, healthy and supportive environment for anyone who calls this church their home.
“We recognise that there are currently many people who are feeling hurt and confused.”
The statement concludes by encouraging those with concerns of information about the investigation to contact NST on [email protected] or the Diocesan Safeguarding Team on [email protected]
Evangelical Youth Festival Founder under Investigation for Safeguarding Concerns
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brian A. Jackson
Christopher Eyte lives with his wife Céline and three children in Swansea, Wales, UK. He has worked as a journalist for many years and writes his own blog (hislovefrees.life) encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. He became a Christian in February 2002, after a friend explained God’s amazing grace!