The ‘Church of Star Wars’ — at least for one Sunday in a German congregation

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People dressed as characters from the movie Star Wars -- including iconic bad guy Darth Vader -- attend a service at the church Zionskirche in Berlin. Photo by Hannibal Hanschke courtesy of Reuters

People dressed as characters from the movie Star Wars -- including iconic bad guy Darth Vader -- attend a service at the church Zionskirche in Berlin. Photo by Hannibal Hanschke courtesy of Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) Children carried toy lightsabers to a Protestant church in Berlin and some of the congregation dressed up as Darth Vader on Sunday (Dec. 20) for a service to mark the release of the blockbuster hit new Star Wars movie.

At the terracotta-brick Zion Church, an organist played the movie series’ theme and Ulrike Garve, 29, a vicar-in-training, brandished a red toy lightsaber and opened the service with the words: “The wait is over — the Force has awakened!”

A screen set up next to the altar showed a clip from a Star Wars movie in which Luke Skywalker fights off Darth Vader and declares to The Emperor that he will never turn to the Dark Side.

Garve and fellow vicar-in-training Lucas Ludewig, 30, fans of the seven-part epic space movie series, said Skywalker’s actions showed it was important to eschew violence.

Ludewig said he took special inspiration from the Bible passage Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”


 

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Speaking to a packed church with capacity for 500 people, they said this was also a message found in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, in which some passages refer to overcoming evil with good.

“The more we talked about it, the more parallels we discovered between Christian traditions and the (‘Star Wars’) movies,” said Garve. “We wanted to make churchgoers aware of these analogies.”

Some on social media called the service “sinful” and “disgraceful.” But Eva-Maria Menard, who is mentor to the two trainees, said: “We need to address contemporary issues or our faith will not be able to carry us through it.”

(Reuters)