We have failed to keep abreast of various recent developments in this safeguarding saga, see for example
The Diocese of St Albans issued this on 11 May: Soul Survivor Watford: a pastoral letter from the bishops
And today, the Telegraph reports: Internal church probe into Christian ‘cult’ leader not trusted by victims which quotes from a statement released on behalf of some of the survivors.
Full text of statement issued on behalf of Soul Survivor complainants:
In a statement released through solicitor Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon Lawyers, who is advising some of the complainants, a number of survivors of abuse in Soul Survivor said:
“The allegations against Mike Pilavachi are extremely serious. They clearly require comprehensive, independent and transparent investigation, covering both the allegations themselves and, crucially, the institutional response to those allegations, both within Soul Survivor and across the wider Church of England.
“Given the network of connections between Soul Survivor and the Church of England, we do not believe that any Church of England body, whether the Diocese of St Albans or the National Safeguarding Team, can plausibly conduct an independent, objective and transparent investigation at this time. There are simply too many connections between the Church of England and Soul Survivor, both at diocesan and national level, and too many potential conflicts of interest, for survivors to have confidence in the independence and transparency of any church-run investigation.
“By way of example, Justin Welby has been personally involved in Soul Survivor over many years. One trustee of Soul Survivor (until last month) is also a trustee of the Lambeth Trust, the Archbishop’s personal charity. A senior figure in Soul Survivor is the son of a senior Church of England Bishop. These are just some examples of the intimate and longstanding network of connections between Soul Survivor and senior figures in the Church of England.
“The days when churches could plausibly investigate themselves and mark their own homework are long gone. Accordingly, we call upon the Church of England and specifically the CofE National Safeguarding Team (1) to accept that a trusted independent agency should be appointed to conduct this investigation (2) to engage with survivors in the selection of such an agency and the drafting of any terms of reference, so that any investigation can be truly independent and have the confidence of survivors from the outset”
The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this: Archbishop of Canterbury statement on Soul Survivor
…The investigation, which is being led by safeguarding professionals from the National Safeguarding Team and the Diocese of St Albans, is independent from Soul Survivor and has my full support…