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Church service features all Taylor Swift music

More than 1,200 people recently attended worship services featuring the music of Taylor Swift at a centuries-old church in Germany. 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” in an effort to draw the interest of young people.

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

Parish Pastor Vincenzo Petracca acknowledged that Swift has taken flak from some evangelical 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.”

On Instagram, the church posted: “We had chosen the title “Anti Hero” after a very intimate song by Swift, because it wasn’t about glorifying or sanctifying the pop star, but about Gretchen’s question of how she feels about religion. Our search led us to a singer who clearly confesses to Jesus, but whose faith also knows questions and doubts. Especially about her spirituality is that she understands Christianity politically and stands for the rights of women and queer people.”

Two Sunday services in the historic church featured Swift’s tunes 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.”

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, urged parents to seriously consider not allowing their children to listen to Swift’s music.

“I’m definitely not the minister or parent that has the ‘no secular music’ stance,” he 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.”

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.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

Photo: church: Calips Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0,

Swift: Nicole Alexander Creative Commons Attribution 3.0


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