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Matt Redman - Let there be light banenr.png
Let There Be Light
Matt Redman - Let there be light.png
Let There Be Light
World News

'I’ve forgiven Mike, but this is about accountability': Matt and Beth Redman speak out on abuse they experienced at Soul Survivor

by Megan Cornwell

Grammy-award winning worship leader Matt Redman and his wife Beth have spoken out about the abuse they suffered under Soul Survivor founder Mike Pilavachi.  

Matt Redman, who met Pilavachi when he was 13 years old, described how the former youth leader would wrestle with him in a “hidden room in the church” after asking him to talk in detail about the sexual abuse he had experienced as a child.  

“It was quite often in a hidden room in the church, or it would be around his house away from everyone, and looking back I don’t feel great about that. It didn't feel good at the time – I didn't really like physical touch that much because of what had happened to me...sometimes it could go on for 20 minutes, it was like full on wrestling.” 

In September last year, the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team found that Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi’s “coercive and controlling behaviour led to inappropriate relationships, the physical wrestling of youths and massaging of young male interns.” 

In the 30-minute documentary called Let There Be Light, the Redmans spoke about the psychological and emotional abuse they experienced during their time at Soul Survivor church in Watford.  

“First, it feels like he would bring you in, but then it would go to the complete opposite, where you would be completely shut out...For me, one time it was because I added an extra song on to the worship list that I hadn’t checked with him –  and he didn’t speak to me for three weeks after that”, said Matt.  

“On the stage it was all smiles and laughs and jokes and ‘Oh, Matt’s my best friend’ and all this, and then once you get off the stage again, not a word, [Pilavachi] won’t even look in your direction. One time it went on for months.” 

Redman, who founded the popular Christian youth festival Soul Survivor alongside Pilavachi in 1993 said the response from some in the Church to the recent news about the charismatic church leader was “disturbing”. He said: “Yes, we're all for forgiveness, we're all for moving forward, we do believe people can have a brand new start. Absolutely. Amen to that always. But this isn't about forgiveness...I’ve forgiven Mike, but this is about accountability.” 

“I think this is Jesus cleaning up his Church and bringing something into the light that needed to be in the light.” 

Beth Redman added: “We hope this film conveys just how much we love and believe in the body of Christ. Our prayer is for the healing of yesterday’s wounds - and a brighter, safer Church for tomorrow.”

To hear more on the allegations facing Soul Survivor and its founder, Mike Pilavachi, check out Premier's Soul Survivors podcast. 

If you're affected by this topic, contact Premier Lifeline on 0300 111 0101. It's open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

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