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Soul Survivor barrister commissioned by New Wine to review links with Mike Pilavachi

29 February 2024

New Wine

NEW WINE has commissioned the barrister who is conducting an independent review of the Revd Mike Pilavachi’s behaviour at Soul Survivor, to review how the allegations relate to New Wine, its trustees have announced.

The barrister Fiona Scolding KC was commissioned by Soul Survivor last year (News, 8 September 2023). Shortly afterwards, the trustees of New Wine announced that a “full and independent review” of its relationship with Mr Pilavachi and Soul Survivor would be carried out (News, 22 September 2023).

New Wine was launched at St Andrew’s, Chorleywood, in 1989. Mr Pilavachi became youth leader of St Andrew’s in 1986, and ran the youth work at the first New Wine festivals. The success of this gathering inspired the launch of the Soul Survivor festival in 1993. He continued to lead the youth work at New Wine for a number of years.

A church, Soul Survivor, Watford, was also launched in 1993, as a plant from St Andrew’s. It was at St Andrew’s that Mr Pilavachi first met Matt Redman, a member of the youth group who later served as a worship leader at Soul Survivor. Last July, Mr Redman said that he had experienced “harmful behaviours” from Mr Pilavachi (News, 14 July 2023).

On Wednesday, the trustees of New Wine said that they had commissioned Ms Scolding to “undertake an independent review into the allegations made concerning Mike Pilavachi, to explore how they relate to New Wine, and to highlight what we can learn for the future”. It would be an “addendum review” to her report on Soul Survivor, “building upon the learnings of that review”. Her review would include “a relationship audit into the nature and extent of our relationship with Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor”.

Terms of reference would be published online shortly. No information supplied to the Soul Survivor review would be shared with New Wine Trust. At the review’s conclusion, Ms Scolding would produce a separate report, which New Wine would publish in full.

Ms Scolding was lead counsel to different investigations by the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), relating to the Church of England and Church in Wales, schools in England and Wales, and other religious institutions (News, 9 March 2018). She is working alongside another barrister, Ben Fullbrook, who acted as junior counsel to IICSA, on the review.

Safe Spaces is a free and independent support service, providing a confidential space, for individuals or survivors of abuse seeking support or who have experiences related to Mike Pilavachi and Soul Survivor, or New Wine.


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