A Watford church leader has resigned amid an ongoing investigation into safeguarding allegations.

Canon Mike Pilavachi “stepped back” in March from his role at Soul Survivor Watford, a church he founded, due to an ongoing investigation.

He was then suspended as an employee in May as the investigation continued and today (July 11) he informed church trustees that he has resigned as associate pastor with immediate effect.

The investigation is still set to continue as planned and the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team has been informed.

Mr Pilavachi, via his Facebook page, said: “I have today resigned as associate pastor of Soul Survivor Watford.

“I have taken this step because the church needs to heal and I have realised that my continued presence will hinder that process.

“I seek forgiveness from any whom I have hurt during the course of my ministry.

"I have, on advice, made no comment on the allegations and will not make any further public comment as I do not believe it would be good for anyone if I took part in a trial by media or social media.

“I pray for God's blessing on the church it has been a privilege and joy to serve these past 30 years.”

The church’s trustees also released a statement, saying they “remain committed to seeking a just, truthful, and transparent outcome to the investigation for all those who have bravely stepped forward to share their concerns and experiences”.

They added that a robust and wide-ranging review of its culture, leadership and governance continues, with independent support.

Soul Survivor again encouraged anyone with concerns related to the investigation to contact the National Safeguarding Team or St Albans Diocesan Safeguarding Team.

The resignation follows Soul Survivor Watford’s suspension of two other church leaders, senior pastor Andy Croft and assistant pastor Ali Martin, in June, after it received “new information” relating to how allegations raised before the investigation began were handled.

Executive Pastor Rev. Jon Stevens took on interim leadership of Soul Survivor Watford.

As well as the church Soul Survivor Watford, in Greycaine Road, Mr Pilavachi also set up the Soul Survivor Christian youth festival.