May the faith be with you when Williamstown this month hosts Australia’s only cosplay church service.
The brainchild of Uniting Church Reverend Avril Hannah-Jones, the first fantasy and science-fiction service in 2011 caused international controversy and criticism from some quarters.
But now, the return of the Jedi has become ecumenical and will be celebrated by two denominations.
Rev Hannah-Jones will lead a joint mass with Reverend Bill Beagley at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, welcoming everyone – especially geeks – to attend in costume.
“I am both a Minister in the Uniting Church and a geek, somebody who loves fantasy novels and Star Wars films and television shows,” Rev Hannah-Jones said.
“I think there are themes in those books and films and TV programs that parallel themes in the bible of fall and redemption and forgiveness and community.”
Rev Beagley, who is a prison chaplain at Truganina, said there were parallels between fantasy and the teachings of Jesus.
“Any religious or spiritual thought is causing you to think on God, which is not a physical tangibility, and that’s the point – that’s where somebody who frequently entertains themselves in areas of fantasy and science fiction is already thinking in the way that you think to enter spirituality and religion,” he said.
Stakes, lightsabers, blasters and other weapons aren’t permitted at the service, although Rev Beagley said he was looking forward to wearing a toy sword.
The cosplay service is at 2pm on Sunday, June 24, at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Williamstown.