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World News

Church of England investigation into Soul Survivor ex-chair and bishop concludes

by Kelly Valencia

The Church of England's inquiry into the former chair of Soul Survivor, Bishop Graham Cray, has reached its conclusion, as confirmed to Premier.

The investigation, initiated last year, stemmed from allegations that Bishop Cray failed to report information regarding the conduct of Soul Survivor's founder, Mike Pilavachi, to church officials. 

The investigation was launched before the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team substantiated claims that Pilavachi used his spiritual authority to “coerce people”, and his behaviour “led to inappropriate relationships, the physical wrestling of youths and massaging of young male interns" for decades.  

In a statement, a Church of England spokesperson said: "We can confirm that the investigation into the concerns raised relating to Bishop Graham Cray for failing to pass on information in the Mike Pilavachi case has concluded, and under House of Bishops guidance, appropriate risk management steps are being taken.

“We cannot say more at this stage."

While the specifics of the allegations brought to Bishop Graham that prompted the investigation have not been confirmed, it has now emerged that church leaders Tim and Pete Hughes shared their experiences of abuse by Pilavachi with the bishop in 2004.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the brothers disclosed that they had raised concerns about Pilavachi's "damaging behaviour" with him in 2004 but opted to leave Soul Survivor when their concerns were "not taken seriously".

Bishop Graham, who had overseen Soul Survivor Ministries since joining in 2000, responded to inquiries about the confrontation by affirming his cooperation with Fiona KC's report and indicating his decision to refrain from further comments.

In a statement to Premier, he said: “I have given a full account of these matters and my role as chair of the trustees of the annual  Soul Survivor festivals to Fiona Scolding KC, whose report will be made public. I will be making no further comment on a matter connected with Soul Survivor or Mike Pilavachi."

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