Worship services in the ideal world – why a pastor relies on hits instead of hymns – culture

German hits instead of organ music, yodelling instead of hymns: What sounds unusual inspires many people in Switzerland. Every Sunday at 10 a.m., the private television channel Musig24 broadcasts a service in which the program items are not accompanied by religious hymns but by fun-loving hits: the hit services.

Instead of organ music, hits are played

The services are organized by the Methodist pastor Stefan Moll from Baden. Although he prefers to listen to classical music privately, he is convinced: “If the traditional churches want to appeal to people, they have to break new ground.”

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Legend:

Musical interludes: The folksy hit duo “Sigrid & Marina” can be heard and seen regularly in Stefan Moll’s TV church services.

Screenshot Music24

“The church is where the music is playing,” explains the pastor, who works with refugees and describes himself as a critical spirit. Moll’s audience appreciates his commitment. His die-hard fans describe themselves as a “hit family”. “People say: This is finally a service for me, because the music fits,” says Moll.

Sunday ritual: Schlager sermon

He is amazed at the many positive responses, he says. “A senior citizen in a nursing home told me that every Sunday she rounds up everyone from her ward to drink tea and watch the service together.”

The pastor meets with his fan community three to four times a year at concerts for joint discussions, the so-called “Schlagertreffen”. An offer that is actively used.

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Legend:

Pastor Stefan Moll relies on the unifying power of music for his TV services. In private, he prefers to listen to classical music.

Reto Schlatter

“Most were socialized in the church in their childhood, but very few go to church regularly today,” explains Moll: “They are Catholic, Protestant, Methodist or nothing.”

But that’s what he’s all about: “Bringing these people together and talking to them. Church is not a building, but an encounter.»

Meatloaf, god and live music

A visit to a restaurant in Eastern Switzerland shows that the Schlager meetings are about encounters: more than 40 Schlager fans gather for meatloaf and live music – all over 60. Anyone who wants to can speak to Pastor Stefan Moll in person.

Pop singer Andrea Wirth will perform after the meal. “I love life, I love wine, heyaheya-ho,” she sings. The audience applauds and sings along enthusiastically.

Music video by Andrea Wirth

Wirth, in costume and flanked by her band, exudes unaffected happiness. Whether it’s the love of wine, homeland and the mountains, or thoughtful words about the hard work of hands: the Schlager family follows the singer from mood to mood.

Forget the hard everyday life

Isn’t it a problem for Pastor Moll that this ideal world that is being sung about has little to do with reality? He shakes his head: “People here are often shaken by life. I think it’s legitimate if they don’t want to be confronted with misery in the songs as well.”

type="image/webp">A man in a traditional shirt talks to a man in a Hawaiian shirt in a ballroom>

Legend:

Stefan Moll during a recording by Musig24 in August. The pastor is looking for a direct conversation with the hit fans.

Music24

It is impressive how unaffected and thoughtful the participants reveal their thoughts: zero vanity and little fear of saying something wrong. This also applies to Gisela and Sepp, both around 70 and recently a couple. “I live in my village, he in his,” explains Gisela. They got to know each other through the Schlager family.

Taken from life

“One day we’ll see each other again,” suddenly sounds melancholy from the stage. “My favorite song!” Gisela enthuses. It reminds her of her parents, whom she lost when she was a child. The elderly woman cannot understand how people can turn up their noses at folk music or hits. “It’s all taken from real life,” she says.

If someone has a problem, the pastor visits us at home.

Apart from that, he never learned English at school, adds her partner Sepp. At least he understands this music. “And I can speak my mind and discuss with the pastor.”

Stefan Moll is also very popular with Gisela: “He takes a lot of time for us. If someone has a problem, they visit us at home.”

Music-loving surrogate family

Another loyal member of the Schlager family is Erika. When asked what the hit family means to her, Erika just barely gets out “Well, just family…”. Then the tears flow.

type="image/webp">Elderly people are sitting at a table in a banquet hall, a standing man in a mountain shirt is listening to them>

Legend:

Many of the Schlager fans appreciate how much time the pastor takes for their concerns.

Music24

She talks about her childhood in the children’s home: “It was always said: ‘Shut up, go away’.” There are abysses hidden in Erika’s subordinate clauses: “Yes, then I got married, that shouldn’t have been.”

islands of lightheartedness

Her husband’s death was a release. Her son was always her sunshine, says Erika. But he doesn’t speak to her anymore either, she says, which triggers the next flush of tears. Stefan Moll helped her with the processing. She is really proud of herself and the Schlager family.

One thing is clear after this evening: the members of the Schlager family do not confuse the “Schubidu cheerfulness” of the Schlager world with real life. But they enjoy the occasions of the Schlager family and the songs as small islands of rare lightheartedness in a world that is not entirely simple.

Moll has definitely achieved his goal of reaching people who don’t usually go to church.

The article is in German

Tags: Worship services ideal world pastor relies hits hymns culture

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