Foto: Branko Srot - stock.adobe.com
For some newcomers, arrival in a new country is associated with sacrificing activities that define how we see ourselves and how we want others to see us. It need not be that way at all. The churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other organizations listed below represent a strong and well-established commitment to families and communities of all faiths. Do not be surprised to discover that many of the spiritual activities you enjoyed at home can be continued here in Germany. Given that many people in the international community are here only temporarily, religious communities in Frankfurt Rhine-Main are attuned to the needs of newcomers. Many offer a diverse and dedicated parish or congregation, which brings a very international element to services and observances.
Some of the institutions go to great lengths to include the local German population alongside their international members. Many share their houses of worship with a German congregation, and that can sometimes mean there are dual services and clerics to meet the needs of both the German-speaking and non-German-speaking communities. What follows is a listing of English-speaking and foreign language religious services.
When you sign up as a German taxpayer, you’ll see a line on the form asking for your religious affiliation. In Germany, the large established churches here receive support from the government, which collects taxes on the churches’ behalf from all registered church members.
So when you fill in a religion on this tax form, you’re granting the state permission to register you as a church member and subsequently charge you a church tax (Kirchensteuer).
This tax is levied as a nine percent surcharge on your tax bill, meaning that you pay nine percent of your income tax, not your income. The tax is automatically deducted from your salary and then given to the church of your choice.
If you don’t want to participate in this church-funding scheme, simply check off “none” (keine) when you register with the Tax Office. However, not being a tax-paying church member will deny you certain privileges. Most churches will deny you baptisms, church weddings or funerals if you’re not a tax-paying member of that religion.