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IPFS News Link • Religion: Believers

Historic German church hosts worship service featuring Taylor Swift music

•, By Jon Brown

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."

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.