A former Watford pastor and church founder has received a written warning from the Church of England about his conduct.

Last year, an internal church probe into Mike Pilavachi, former pastor at and founder of the Greycaine Road church Soul Survivor Watford, judged concerns over allegations of abuse of power relating to his ministry and spiritual abuse over a 30-year period, “substantiated”.

In a statement yesterday (January 18), the C of E lead safeguarding bishop and national safeguarding director shared that the church’s National Safeguarding Team’s(NST) complaint had resulted in no further action being taken, but Mr Pilavachi has received a written warning.

In September 2023, around the same time the investigation concluded, permission was given for the allegation to be brought against Pilavachi under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 and considered by a bishop from outside the diocese.

It related to his “verbal interactions with vulnerable person” sometime after 2012, when he was ordained.

Yesterday’s statement said: “The result of the bishop’s determination was that whilst no further action would be taken on the main allegation, Mr Pilavachi’s conduct had nevertheless fallen short of that expected of a priest in the Church of England and in accordance with paragraph 163 of the Clergy Discipline Measure Code of Practice a written warning and advice has been issued to him.”

The NST requested a review and once this was carried out it was ruled that the decisions were properly made.

Full statement available to read here

The NST statement commended "the courage of the vulnerable person who came forward and gave clear evidence of the harm done in their life".

The investigation that concluded last year had already found that safeguarding concerns spanning a 40-year period "from his time as a youth leader through to the current day" were substantiated.

“Mr Pilavachi currently has no authority to minister, and should he wish to return to any ministry in the Church of England this will be fully risk assessed,” the statement concluded.

“The appropriate statutory referrals have been made.

“Following recommendations by IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) the Clergy Discipline Measure is being revised and will be replaced by the Clergy Conduct Measure, which is currently being considered by General Synod.”