Historic German church hosts worship service featuring Taylor Swift music

'Many had tears in their eyes'

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

A centuries-old church in Germany drew more than 1,200 people on Sunday for worship services featuring the music of Taylor Swift.

The Church of the Holy Spirit, a famous church in Heidelberg that meets in a 600-year-old building, put on a service titled "Anti-Hero — Taylor Swift Church Service" over the weekend in an effort to draw the interest of young people, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

"The Church of the Holy Spirit has always been a place of encounter and exchange. That's why a pop-music religious service fits so perfectly," Pastor Christof Ellsiepen told the outlet. "With it, we are giving space to the questions and issues that occupy the younger generation."

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The service focused on the supposedly strong Christian themes in Swift's music that address hot-button issues such as women's rights, racism and gender equality, according to the pastor.

Parish Pastor Vincenzo Petracca acknowledged that Swift has taken flak from some Evangelical faith leaders for her music, especially in the United States.

"Theologically speaking, she points to the justness of God," Petracca said, adding that Swift's "faith knows doubt and inner-conflict."

"For her, faith and action are inseparable," he said.

Two Sunday services in the historic church featured Swift's tunes, which DW noted were attended by an audience that skewed young and female. A rainbow banner behind the musicians noted that the church welcomes "all sizes, all [colors], all cultures, all sexes, all beliefs, all religions, all ages, all types, all people."

While noting that the church was "built for Gregorian liturgical music and not for Taylor Swift," Petracca maintained that he was moved by the response to the modern, pop-themed service.

"I stared into beaming faces — and during the song that Taylor wrote for her cancer-stricken mother, many had tears in their eyes," he said, referring to the song "Soon You'll Get Better."

Swift's latest album, released last month, drew criticism from some Christian critics who claimed it features lyrical content that mocks God and Christians.

Shane Pruitt, who serves as National Next Gen director for the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board and co-author of Calling Out the Called, urged parents to seriously reconsider allowing their children to listen to Swift's music.

"I'm definitely not the minister or parent that has the 'no secular music' stance," Pruitt wrote in a Facebook post. "Also, I fully realize unbelievers are going to act like unbelievers. HOWEVER, there is a difference between being secular and being ANTI-CHRISTIAN."

Former Boyzone star Shane Lynch recently accused Swift of implementing hidden satanic rituals in her sold-out shows.

“I think when you’re looking at a lot of the artists out there, a lot of their stage shows are satanic rituals live in front of 20,000 people without them realizing and recognizing,” Lynch told Ireland’s Sunday World.

“You’ll see a lot of hoods up and masks on and fire ceremonies. Even down to Taylor Swift — one of the biggest artists in the world — you watch one of her shows and she has two or three different demonic rituals to do with the pentagrams on the ground, to do with all sorts of stuff on her stage. … But to a lot of people it’s just art and that’s how people are seeing it, unfortunately," Lynch said.

In late 2021, Germany's Federal Statistical Office found that for the first time in recorded history, less than half of the country's population are members of the two major historical German churches, according to Le Monde.

Both the Roman Catholic Church and the various Protestant denominations in Germany have hemorrhaged members in recent decades, with the Sunday worship attendance rate hovering at 4.3% for Catholics and around 3% for Protestants.

The Church of the Holy Spirit, which was built between 1398 and 1515, draws millions of tourists annually.

Heidelberg is notable in the history of Christianity for being the city where the Heidelberg Catechism was first published in 1563. The Protestant Calvinist confessional document forms the doctrinal basis for many Reformed denominations, and influenced the divines who drafted the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which is foundational to Presbyterianism.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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