THE Christian youth charity Soul Survivor will host its last festivals next summer, after more than 25 years of events, its co-founder, Canon Mike Pilavachi, has announced.
Canon Pilavachi founded the Soul Survivor church in Watford, in 1993. He wrote in a post on the Soul Survivor website last week that the decision would come as a “shock” to fans of the events.
“We know this will come as a shock to many but we believe that God has spoken and that this is the right time for us to step aside and make space for others to rise up. This is not a decision we have taken lightly but something we have been wrestling with for a substantial amount of time.
“Our leadership team and board of trustees came to this decision unanimously and believe that, after 27 years of events, 2019 is the right time for Soul Survivor to end.”
The first Soul Survivor conference was held in 1993, and its first festival took place over two weeks in 1995. More than 1800 people attended. This grew to 25,000 in 2007, but growth has since slowed.
Canon Pilavachi explained: “Soul Survivor isn’t growing as fast as it once was, and it’s hard to balance budgets whilst running a quality event, but we are in a secure financial position. This really is a decision based on what we believe God is saying.”
Soul Survivor, a registered charity that runs the five annual festivals around the country, would not be affected by the closure, he said. Soul61, a separate charity offering “Christian gap years”, and run by some of the same trustees and staff, will also continue.
Soul Survivor events currently employs 24 staff, including part-time team members and people on short-term contracts, Canon Pilavachi said. No redundancies would be made before the autumn of next year.
“Right from the start of Soul Survivor, we always said that when God told us to stop, we would. We believe that time has come, and we want to be obedient. We’ve always been humbled by the amount of support you’ve shown us, and so we know some of you may feel sad about this decision.”