New Wine has released a statement following allegations of safeguarding failures by prominent church leader Mike Pilavachi.
The Soul Survivor pastor has stepped back from his role at the Watford church after an investigation was launched last month.
Initially, the investigation – which is not of a criminal nature – was set to focus on historic allegations.
However, the church – renowned for it’s youth festival of the same name – announced on Tuesday that they were now investigating recent allegations too.
New Wine released a statement urging people to come forward, if they have concerns surrounding church safeguarding, pertaining to this case or otherwise.
The statement said: “Like many of you, we have been surprised and saddened by the news of the safeguarding investigation into Mike Pilavachi and the distressing recent media reports.
“Given the ongoing investigation, we cannot comment on the specifics of this situation.
“However, we want to express our deep empathy and sadness for the pain this situation has caused and acknowledge the distress and concern many are experiencing.
“We comment the bravery of those who have come forward and we stand with them.
We are committed to supporting and praying for all those impacted by this investigation.
“New Wine is committed to being a safe place for all and continues to work for excellence in safeguarding practice in all that we do.
“We seek to model humble and accountable leadership and are committed to helping church leaders in our network nurture safe communities of faith in with the hurting and abused are able to make disclosures, receive healing from Jesus and love, support and care from others.”
They ended their statement by signposting the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, who are conducting the investigation.
They can be contacted at [email protected].
They also encouraged potential victims of safeguarding failures beyond this investigation to seek help via the independent safeguarding charity ThirtyOne:Eight on 0303 003 1111, or the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056.