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Canon Pilavachi resigns as Associate Pastor of Soul Survivor, Watford

11 July 2023

Soul Survivor

Canon Pilavachi speaks at the Big Top at the Soul Survivor Festival, which ended in 2019

Canon Pilavachi speaks at the Big Top at the Soul Survivor Festival, which ended in 2019

CANON Mike Pilavachi has resigned as Associate Pastor of Soul Survivor, Watford, with immediate effect.

Canon Pilavachi, who founded Soul Survivor, was formally suspended in May (News, 26 May). Since the church first announced that he would “step back” from ministry while a safeguarding investigation was carried out, allegations have been published in national newspapers, including accounts of wrestling and full-body massages (News, 5 May; 19 May).

Canon Pilavachi announced on Facebook on Tuesday that he had resigned. “I have taken this step because the Church needs to heal and I have realised that my continued presence will hinder that process,” he wrote. “I seek forgiveness from any whom I have hurt during the course of my ministry.”

He continued: “I have, on advice, made no comment on the allegations and will not make any further public comment as I do not believe it would be good for anyone if I took part in a trial by media or social media. I pray for God’s blessing on the Church it has been a privilege and joy to serve these past 30 years.”

The trustees of Soul Survivor issued a statement on Tuesday, which said: “We have informed the NST [National Safeguarding Team] of Mike’s resignation and they have assured us that the investigation will continue as planned until it reaches a conclusion.

“We remain committed to seeking a just, truthful and transparent outcome to the investigation for all those who have bravely stepped forward to share their concerns and experiences with the NST and the St Albans Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

“As trustees, we are committed to a robust and wide-ranging review of the culture, leadership and governance of Soul Survivor Watford with external, independent support. We know that this is an essential step in building a strong, healthy and supportive environment for anyone who attends or visits our church. More details of this review will be shared in due course.”

A joint statement from St Albans diocese and the NST said: “We have been informed of the resignation of Mike Pilavachi from his employment at Soul Survivor and want to stress that the safeguarding investigation will continue in line with House of Bishops guidance and we will continue to listen to and offer support to those who come forward. The joint investigation is being run by the diocese of St Albans and the National Safeguarding Team, independently of Soul Survivor.”

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