Archbishop of Canterbury responds to Mike Pilavachi investigation

An investigation is currently being carried out into Soul Survivor founder Mike Pilavachi.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called the investigation into Mike Pilavachi "profoundly painful" and said that he is praying for all affected.

The statement from Archbishop Justin Welby follows calls from alleged victims for an independent investigation into the allegations against Pilavachi.

The Soul Survivor founder stands accused of spiritual abuse and inappropriate behaviour with young men, including massages and wrestling.

He has stepped back from ministry while an investigation is conducted by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team (NST) and the Diocese of St Albans.

In a statement, Welby said, "I am deeply conscious of the impact that reports concerning Soul Survivor and Mike Pilavachi continue to have on many people.

"The investigation, which is being led by safeguarding professionals from the National Safeguarding Team and the Diocese of St Albans, is independent from Soul Survivor and has my full support.

"The investigation is prioritising the wellbeing of everyone concerned, and I am confident they are treating all who are involved in the investigation and everything that has been shared with the utmost care and sensitivity. Access to counselling is available and support is being offered to all concerned.

"I cannot comment any further at this stage while the investigation is ongoing, but I know how profoundly painful this is. I would like to assure anyone who has been affected by this situation of my ongoing prayers.

"For some that will be from their direct involvement, for others this is bringing to the surface past experiences from their own lives. Please continue to support and pray for one another, as we remind each other of the love of Christ which never fails."

A statement from alleged victims through their solicitor, Richard Scorer, of law firm Slater and Gordon, calls for an independent body to be established and charged with overseeing the investigation.

"The days when churches could plausibly investigate themselves and mark their own homework are long gone," said Scorer.

"The allegations against Mike Pilavachi are extremely serious. They clearly require comprehensive, independent and transparent investigation, covering both the allegations themselves and, crucially, the institutional response to those allegations, both within Soul Survivor and across the wider Church of England.

"Given the network of connections between Soul Survivor and the Church of England, we do not believe that any Church of England body, whether the Diocese of St Albans or the NST, can plausibly conduct an independent, objective and transparent investigation at this time.

"There are simply too many connections between the Church of England and Soul Survivor, both at diocesan and national level, and too many potential conflicts of interest, for survivors to have confidence in the independence and transparency of any church-run investigation."

A Church of England spokesperson said that the investigation was "entirely independent" of Soul Survivor.

Individuals with safeguarding concerns relating to this investigation are being advised to contact Jeremy Hirst at the Diocesan Safeguarding Team at or Ian Bowles or Anthony Clarke at the National Safeguarding Team at