...By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
Christian Festival Founder Steps Back from Church of England amid Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior
Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi, the founder of the Soul Survivor series of summer festivals, has stepped back from the Church of England following allegations of “inappropriate massages” and “inappropriate intimate relationships” with young people linked to the Soul61 gap year project, which trains young adults as disciples.
Ministry bosses are investigating the allegations made against Pilavachi, and while the claims relate to “non-recent” matters, there is no suggestion of a criminal investigation or a clergy disciplinary matter.
The Soul Survivor festival, which Pilavachi hosted for over 25 years from 1993, saw around 30,000 teenagers attend each summer.
In 2019, Pilavachi was made an MBE for his services to young people, and the following year, he was awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace for his “outstanding contribution to evangelism and discipleship amongst young people in the United Kingdom.”
Investigations into Non-Recent Safeguarding Concerns
In a statement read to the congregation in Watford, where Pilavachi is senior pastor, it was confirmed that non-recent safeguarding concerns relating to Pilavachi had been reported to the national Church, and that the allegations were being looked into according to the CofE’s House of Bishops guidelines.
While the investigation is being carried out, Pilavachi has agreed to step back from all ministry.
However, the statement stressed that the police are not involved, and there is no criminal investigation or suspension.
Offering Support to All Those Involved
The statement also stated that support is being offered to all those involved in the investigation.
The allegations are a blow to the Church of England, which has been working to improve safeguarding measures and protect young people from abuse.
While the investigation is ongoing, it is essential to ensure that all parties receive the necessary support and that the investigation is conducted according to the CofE’s guidelines. Pilavachi has not commented on the allegations.
The allegations against Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi are distressing and worrying, particularly given his significant role in evangelism and discipleship amongst young people in the United Kingdom.
The allegations have come to light at a time when the Church of England is working to improve safeguarding measures and protect young people from abuse.
It is essential that the investigation is carried out according to the CofE’s guidelines and that support is provided to all those involved.
While the allegations are not subject to a criminal investigation or a clergy disciplinary matter, they are nonetheless concerning and highlight the need for ongoing vigilance and care in safeguarding young people.