The investigation into possible safeguarding failures by church leader Mike Pilavachi will now include “recent allegations”.
Soul Survivor has released an update on the national Church investigation after further testimonies came to light following an announcement four weeks ago.
Initially, the Church of England National Safeguarding Team said the allegations were purely historic.
In the wake of the investigation, Pilavachi has stepped back from leading the Watford church, renowned for hosting an annual youth conference of the same name up until 2019.
It emphasised that the investigation was not of a “criminal” nature.
In the latest statement, read by senior pastor Andy Croft yesterday, the church acknowledged that the news had been “painful” for the church family and reiterated a commitment to ensuring Soul Survivor was “a safe place for all”.
The statement said: “We want you to know that we are especially aware of how much those who have come forward have been affected and of how much they are suffering, as are all who are directly involved in this investigation.
“I want to say, on behalf of the leadership of the church, how much this grieves us.
“I also want to acknowledge that for our church family, this is painful.
“The trustees and the staff of the church have been cooperating fully and completely with this investigation and will continue to do so.
“We strongly encourage you that if you know anything that you think might be relevant to share it with the national safeguarding team, all the contact details can be found below.
“We cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, though we can say that more recent allegations have come to light.
“We want to underline our commitment to excellence in our present safeguarding practice and culture.”
Following the announcement, multiple prominent leaders have signposted potential victims of church safeguarding failures to the independent Christian safeguarding organisation Thirtyone:eight.
As part of its statement, Soul Survivor urged those with concerns to get in contact with the relevant authorities.
It said: “If you have any safeguarding concerns, please contact Jeremy Hirst at the Diocesan Safeguarding Team at email@example.com or Judith Renton, Ian Bowles or Anthony Clarke at the National Safeguarding Team at firstname.lastname@example.org who will listen to what you have to say. Please be assured that any safeguarding concerns raised will be treated with the utmost sensitivity.
“If this news has raised concerns for you that are outside of the remit of this investigation, Thirtyone:eight has an independent safeguarding helpline where someone will listen to what you have to say, and can provide compassionate and clear advice.
“They can be contacted on 0303 003 1111. They have written this blog which has some helpful content to consider.
“You can also contact the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056, which is a free and independent support service for anyone who has been abused by someone in the Church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England, the Catholic Church in England and Wales or the Church in Wales.”