The founder of Soul Survivor, Mike Pilvachi, recently emerged from his social media hiatus to offer a heartfelt tribute to his former mentor, Bishop David Pytches, who passed away earlier this week.
Writing on Instagram, the 65-year-old described Bishop David as a “spiritual father” and “the most amazing leader”.
His post marks the first time he has made a public declaration since safeguarding allegations against him were substantiated by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team. He was found to have used his spiritual authority to have “inappropriate relationships” and have “massaged young male interns”.
Paying tribute to Bishop David, Pilavachi wrote: “Bishop David Pytches is the most amazing leader I have ever met. He was determined to follow the Lord and courageous in his leadership. Yet absolutely humble at the same time. The word ‘apostle’ is so misused today that I hesitate to use it, but if anyone had an apostolic calling, he did. Things kept happening around him. He was a spiritual father. He was so secure in his calling and in his relationship with the Lord that others flourished around him.
“He was both bold and kind, an unusual combination. He was a father to me. I will always be thankful and grateful for his life.”
Pilvachi's relationship with Bishop David dates back to the late 1980s when they first crossed paths at St Andrew’s Chorleywood, the church led by Bishop David at the time. Pilvachi eventually became the youth leader, and under Bishop David's support, the first Soul Survivor festival took shape in 1993.
The Soul Survivor founder's last post was in July announcing he was resigning from his position as associate pastor, recognising that he needed to leave the congregation as the “Church needed to heal” and his presence would “hinder that process”.
Tributes for Bishop David have flooded in following the public announcement of his passing, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby, praising his decades of ministry.
He wrote: “Many people, including myself, Caroline and the family, had transformative encounters with Jesus through New Wine.
“He truly was a gift to the Church. Even as we grieve his passing, we praise God for his life. May he Rest In Peace and Rise In Glory. May he dwell with the God of eternal life forever.”