Thinking Anglicans

Soul Survivor: more updates

See previous reports, here and earlier here.

The following website is very useful for keeping track of developments: The Soul Survivor Situation – A Timeline. I recommend checking it daily…

Here is the Diocesan Synod Notice Paper that contains the most recent public statement from St Albans Diocese.

The Telegraph has a report on this here:Bishop cannot call for Soul Survivor independent inquiry over threat of ‘disciplinary action’.

The General Synod Private Member’s Motion mentioned in the above can be found here (scroll down). It reads as follows

The Revd Robert Thompson (London) to move:

‘That this Synod, being deeply disquieted at the continued controversies over the actual independence of Safeguarding structures within the Church of England, does not accept that an internal Church inquiry into the allegations of abuse and cover-up within the Soul Survivor network is either sufficient or right in principle.

It accordingly calls upon the Archbishop’s Council to commission, on agreed terms of reference with survivors, a report into those allegations from an independent King’s Counsel without delay.’

22 May 2023

52 signatures as at 14 June 2023

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Susannah Clark
11 months ago

Well as the Bishop effectively discloses, the allegations of improper conduct, and processes followed as this conduct came to light, are currently being addressed by an organisation within the Church… which is to say, the Church wants to be trusted to ‘mark its own homework’. Is there trust in the Church’s safeguarding arrangements? As a parent whose three children used to attend Soul Survivor Watford in the first half of the ‘noughties’ things that concern me include: 1.When were any of these clearly inappropriate behaviours (in my opinion) first made known to other members of the Soul Survivor organisation? 2.Were… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Susannah Clark
11 months ago

1 & 2) Define “Soul Survivor”. If you mean the church “Soul Survivor Watford” then that would come under the purview of the CofE. If you mean “Soul Survivor… the charity who put on festivals” then that never came under the authority of the Diocese or any part of the CofE. The allegation Chris Bullivant has made is that he reported it to a director of the charity and NOT the church. Most of the allegations that are known relate to the charity and not the church, given the time frame. 3) Youth going to the Soul Survivor events were… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

Talk about splitting hairs! If Pilavachi was allegedly having inappropriate relationships at Festivals AND the Church, defining Soul Survivor matters little to those abused .

Anon
Anon
Reply to  FrDavid H
11 months ago

It matters immensely. Despite the name they are entirely different organisations, with entirely different accountability structures. The SS Director Mr Bullivant says he confronted has never, ever worked for the CofE. The Church of England has zero say in what happened at a wholly independent Charity, who put on events whose largest demographic was Baptist young people, and presented themselves (as they were) as a non-denominational parachurch organisation. The name was the same, the leader was the same, but they were different. If you want justice, if you want accountability you HAVE to realise the difference because the routes are… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Anon
FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

What difference does it make if the founder of Soul Survivor, Mike Pilavachi, has attracted young men from non-Anglican denominations to allegedly undergo intimate massages at Festivals and the Church? It is not either/or. It is both. Also I hadn’t realised a Baptist wrestling match is different from an Anglican one. The Charity and the Church need to be thoroughly investigated.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

They are both registered charities, sharing the same registered address and telephone number, and at least one C of E priest is a trustee of both charities. I make no comment on the issues here, but merely point out these facts which may, or may not, be relevant. It requires detailed knowledge and analysis of the facts which, presumably, the inquiry is intended to establish.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

What does IIRC stand for?

David H is right; any leader of either organisation receiving complaints should have ensured that safeguarding personnel in both organisations, as well as St Albans Diocese, were aware.

John Simmons
John Simmons
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

IIRC = If I Remember Correctly, IIRC

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  John Simmons
11 months ago

Thanks!

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Janet Fife
11 months ago

The CofE can’t enforce a non-denom charity director, who has never worked for the CofE and may not even be Anglican to work to- or even be aware of- CofE safeguarding regulations in 2004

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

It’s standard safeguarding practice everywhere, not just in the C of E.

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

For the avoidance of any doubt, Anon (whoever s/he is) needs to be reminded that **all** elements of Soul Survivor (SS) (including now Soul Survivor Watford) were/are entirely Anglican (Church of England) in origin. An early excuse advanced for Smyth and Iwerne was that it was not Anglican. Nice try. SS was spun out of St Andrew’s Chorleywood. Even if it is to be shown that allegations when proven against Pilavachi were in respect of a time prior to his ordination as a Church of England priest, there is no hiding place. One of the principal reasons why the ‘church… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Anthony Archer
Anon
Anon
Reply to  Anthony Archer
11 months ago

Of origin doesn’t equal under cofe direction.

The festival charity (soul survivor, NOT the church, soul survivor watford) was an independent charity, with an independent payroll, different trustees, Cross denominational staff and volunteer staff etc. They even held catholic mass at their events

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Anon
11 months ago

This is precisely how abusers, like fraudsters, operate. They set up a variety of organisations. Some of them hold what we can loosely called “registrations” with regulators and umbrella organisations: the CofE, the FCA, the ICO, Ofqual, whoever is relevant to their overall scam. That registration is for an activity which to the layman might sound similar to the topic of the final scam. They also set up very similarly named organisations which do ostensibly similar things, but which fall outside the registration. They then say truthful but deceptive things like “[company name] is [regulator] registered to do [things]”. Which… Read more »

Anon
Anon
Reply to  Interested Observer
11 months ago

Yes they can, and they did pass the majority of safeguarding to adults.

There are plenty of places that do similar. If you go to centre parks as a family or a theatre play put on for a number of different schools then the main responsibility are the parents/teachers. Of course there is high level safeguarding responsibility for the org, but not at the micro level

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

What a pity. He’s actually also ‘dodging’ what is being asked of him in the Question to the St Albans Diocesan Synod. It’s a sad move from someone who, from what I’ve read up to now, seems to have at least been trying to act honourably – attempts to ‘regularise’ the position of Soul Survivor Watford and its leaders back in 2012, bringing an utterly self regulating and unaccountable body under at least some kind of external control/accountability, and its leaders under an external professional conduct system by ordaining them (however ill advised the fast track process may have been,… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

I wonder who Bishop Alan consulted for advice before providing his written answer. In view of Bishop Alan’s answer, the terms of reference of the St Albans/NST investigation ought to be published. Also, it will be interesting to hear from Peter Adams (or another member of the St Albans Diocesan Synod) what supplementary questions were asked this morning, and what the bishop said by way of reply.

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Realist
11 months ago

Am I right in recalling that two clergy members of Christ Church Oxford managed to insinuate themselves onto the core group which assessed that their OWN complaint was worthy of a an investigation into five alleged failures of managing safeguarding (all dismissed after inquiry) by the then Dean. Martyn Percy. If they were not guilty of conduct unbecoming I struggle to see how Bp Alan could be criticised for simply saying an independent process would be best for all parties. Incidentally when I raised this impropriety at General Synod, I was told it would never happen again: I did not… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
11 months ago

Is this not the same bishop who claimed that he was unable to suspend Paula Vennells as she became embroiled in a scandal of a rather different nature? Who on earth advises him? Or does he just lack any kind of backbone?

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
11 months ago

That’s the man. It’s worth remembering that though we are chordates (that is, our head to tail axis is established by the embryonic notochord), not all chordates are vertebrates (eg lancelets, sea squirts). Perhaps we are observing reverse evolution. Devolution? If so, it’s not that the vertebral column was removed at consecration but rather that it was never there. But some mechanism must have evolved to resist gravity. Plenty scope for a DD thesis.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
11 months ago

These days it would have to be a DBA thesis, Professor. Let’s face it, nobody in today’s ‘all singing, all dancing, all micromanaging, all controlling, all accountability abdicating, all patriarchal, all racist, all ableist, unsafe yet humbler and simpler higher echelons of Church’ wants to be bothered hearing from a theologian. What would a DD holder have to contribute to anything?

David Lamming
David Lamming
11 months ago

The lists of signatures (as at 14 June) for this and the other tabled PMMs are now available to download from the PMMs page of the C of E website:

https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/general-synod/private-members-motions#na

Publication of the names is required by an amendment made to the General Synod Standing Orders in July 2018, adding SO 6(7A), proposed by the Standing Orders Committee in its report to Synod GS 2102 “in the interests of transparency and accountability.” SO6(7A) provides: “In the case of each motion, the name of each member supporting the motion is to be published on the Synod website.”

Last edited 11 months ago by David Lamming
Kit
Kit
11 months ago

Anthony Archer is absolutely correct. Whilst Soul Survivor might have a wider ecumenical audience everything about their origins and accountability is CofE. As regards comments from Martin Sewell, it is common knowledge that the Core Group set up to investigate the former Dean of Christ Church was riddled with conflicts of interest, and included people who were already litigating against him. It is also known that no minutes of this Core Group were ever taken, no conflicts of interest policy was ever implemented, and no risk assessment undertaken by any authorised person. Bishop Croft defended these processes as normal practice.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Kit
11 months ago

The whole thing is corrupt. Those who set these processes up, operate within them and defend them fundamentally misunderstand the difference between appropriate confidentiality and dangerous secrecy, and have no idea of boundaried working. Or more accurately, they ignore those things whenever it suits them, while lecturing the rest of us on the importance of understanding them in our safeguarding practice, and cling on to the unaccountable power they have accrued confident they can’t be challenged, at least not by anyone who holds a Bishop’s licence or PTO. In this I include Bishops, senior ecclesiastical civil servants and the colluding… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Realist
Joe Baker
10 months ago

Unfortunately, the public are unlikely to think it is coincidental that a safeguarding investigation was announced in May, and in June the Church of England sacked the panel of experts who provided independent oversight of how it dealt with abuse.

For the sake of the Church, any investigation needs to be independent. My new book ‘St Augustine’s Sin,’ written by a one-time altar boy, is timely and enlightening in this context. Joe

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