Following his suspension a few months ago, Mike Pilavachi makes a statement about his future

In a post on his social medial accounts, the 65-year-old said he had decided to leave as he recognised the “Church needs to heal” and his presence “will hinder that process”.

He wrote: “I have today resigned as Associate Pastor of Soul Survivor Watford. I have taken this step because the Church needs to heal and I have realised that my continued presence will hinder that process. I seek forgiveness from any whom I have hurt during the course of my ministry.

“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 God’s blessing on the Church. It has been a privilege and joy to serve these past 30 years.”

Pilavachi had already stepped back from all ministry earlier this year after the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST) and the Diocese of St Albans announced a non-criminal investigation was being carried out in response to safeguarding allegations.

Although the nature of the claims is unknown, the NST and the diocese have said it’s unrelated to disciplinary matters and refer to historical and recent allegations.

Since the investigation was announced, a group of concerned individuals have called for an independent inquiry because they don’t trust the Church to investigate itself.

Some well-known church leaders have acknowledged the investigation and encouraged anyone affected to come forward, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby and Matt Redman, who worked with Pilavachi for eight years.

Soul Survivor Watford’s trustees have acknowledged his resignation and said the NST and the Diocese of St Albans have also been made aware, assuring them that the investigation “will continue as planned until it reaches a conclusion”.

The statement said: “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.”