Tim and Pete Hughes talk about 'psychological and spiritual abuse' under Mike Pilavachi

Tim Hughes(Photo: Instagram/Tim Hughes)

Worship leader Tim Hughes and his brother Pete, lead pastor at King's X Church in London, have said they experienced wrestling and massages under the leadership of Mike Pilavachi.

The brothers joined the Soul Survivor movement founded by Pilavachi while still in their teens and Tim later became one of its worship pastors.

Pilavachi was investigated by the Church of England's National Safeguarding Team and forced to step down after a number of people came forward last year to allege inappropriate behaviour. The NST later concluded that concerns were substantiated.

The brothers confirmed that they had spoken to the NST and an independent review being led by Fiona Scolding KC, and felt that it was now the right time to share their experiences more widely.

They said that Pilavachi had been a mentor and "spiritual father figure" to them, and that the journey to healing had been "extremely painful".

"His influence, investment and teaching in our lives were significant," they said.

"However, much like others, we also both experienced what we now know to be psychological and spiritual abuse at the hands of Mike Pilavachi.

"Whilst under his leadership we also experienced the wrestling and massages that have been well documented.

"These events have caused years of pain and confusion. Over the last 20 years, we've both been on journeys of healing from the abuse we experienced, through counselling, prayer ministry and a process of acknowledging the abuse and choosing to forgive."

The brothers said they confronted Pilavachi in 2004 and reported their concerns to the Soul Survivor leadership but they were "not taken seriously". They left the movement soon after.

They concluded their statement by saying they hoped for "a moment of healing and restoration", and that the Church would "learn from the mistakes made in order for the Church to be a safe environment where everyone can flourish and thrive".

Their joint statement was prompted by the release this week of 'Let There Be Light', a documentary by worship leader Matt Redman in which he says that under Pilavachi, he "was subjected to significant emotional, spiritual and physical abuse in a situation that I didn't know how to get out of".

"I've spent years trying to heal from that time. I've forgiven Mike, but I still feel the impact today," said Redman.