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PODCAST PILLORY: Magazine releases new podcast about disgraced Watford reverend

 Published on: 4th March 2024   |   By: Panayiota Demosthenous   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Christian magazine has released a multi-episode podcast investigating the story of Watford reverend Mike Pilavachi MBE and the allegations that led to his suspension.

In April 2023, news broke that Mr Pilavachi, founder of local charity Soul Survivor, was being investigated by the National Safeguarding Team (NST) and the St Albans Diocesan Safeguarding Team (SADST), after he was accused of using his spiritual authority to control and coerce individuals.

The investigation found that Mr Pilavachi engaged in the physical wrestling of youths and massaging of young male interns. This shocked many, as Mr Pilavachi had been considered as a pillar of the Christian community and was even awarded an MBE in 2020.

Now, the Christian magazine Premier Christianity has released an investigative podcast delving into the story, featuring first-hand accounts from those affected by the actions of Mr Pilavachi and his team.

The brains behind the new podcast are journalists Megan Cornwell and Kelly Valencia, who have been working on this project since the news first broke last year.

Kelly told WATFORDnews: “Journalists play a crucial role in revealing truth and challenging those in authority. And, as Christian reporters, we feel a responsibility to share the stories of individuals impacted by Mike Pilavachi and his ministry.

“Our goal is not to offer all the answers as to how this unfolded but rather for people’s stories to be heard and for the church to recognise its shortcomings.”

The duo used their contacts to engage with people who were part of Mr Pilavachi’s church and groups, and work out the timeline of events that led to his suspension. The episodes are integrated with clippings from Mr Pilavachi’s public appearances and speeches.

Kelly continued: “The hardest part of this project was getting people to trust us. Many of the people we spoke to had raised their concerns before and been ignored, so we had a lot of people saying no to our requests.”

A Church of England spokesperson said: “The concerns raised against Mike Pilavachi were substantiated and support continues to be offered to those survivors who came forward.”

For the Church of England’s full statement, head to www.shorturl.at/eyIS4

This comes after Fiona Scolding KC, the independent reviewer appointed by the trustees of Soul Survivor Watford, Soul Survivor and Soul61, shared a message concerning the case, asking for more people to come forward.

She said: “We recognised the trauma and difficulty that many of those contributing to the NST investigation may have faced when sharing their experiences.

“We are aware that there may be other individuals who did not come forward to the NST but who may wish to come forward now. We would be keen to hear from you too.”

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Fiona’s team directly at soulsurvivor@landmarkchambers.co.uk

Soul Survivor and SADST have been contacted for comment.

Find out more at www.premier.plus/soul-survivors/podcasts/soul-survivors

Photo credit: Southlands Brea X

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