We have received the conclusions of the Church of England investigation conducted by the National Safeguarding Team, NST, and the diocese of St Albans, into safeguarding concerns relating to Mike Pilavachi over the past 40 years.
We are grateful to all those who have contributed to this process, who by coming forward have brought Mike’s abusive behaviour into the light. We are deeply sorry to all those people who have been victims of spiritual, emotional and psychological abuse, physical wrestling and massage under Mike’s leadership. There has been a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour. We are saddened that these behaviours happened in a context that should have provided safety and spiritual support. We are committed to learning lessons from what has happened and to put in place further practices and procedures that will seek to ensure this kind of behaviour does not happen in the future.
Now that the NST investigation has concluded, we have commissioned Fiona Scolding KC to lead a full and independent review. The terms of reference of the investigation will be published in the coming weeks and the report of Ms Scolding’s review will be published in full. The Trustees are committed to implementing her recommendations.
Senior Pastor Revd Andy Croft remains suspended under HR processes while the Church of England process, as outlined in the House of Bishops guidance, runs its course.
Safeguarding concerns raised about Assistant Pastor Ali Martin, who was also suspended, have not been substantiated and Ali’s suspension will therefore be lifted and she will be reintegrating back into her role over the coming weeks.
We are aware of the hurt many individuals have and continue to experience as a result of Mike’s abuse and are truly sorry for the part Soul Survivor has played. We have been working with the NST to provide counselling and advocacy support to the individuals they have identified as finding it most beneficial. We remain committed to ensuring our church is safe and welcoming for all.