Berlin's Church of Zion filled its pews with a Star Wars theme on Sunday, with hundreds of churchgoers turning up in appropriate fancy dress.

The vicars Ulrike Garve and Lucas Ludewig took as the theme for their sermons excerpts from The Return of the Jedi, the sixth episode of the saga released in 1983. The organist played themes from the soundtrack.

"We've known since last week that a lot of people will come, but we did not bank on it being so full," Ludewig, 30, said.

Alongside Darth Vader and Sith, devotees of the dark side of the Force, lesser known figures were also represented.

Berliner Jonathan Wonneberger, 25, dressed up as a Jawa from the desert planet of Tatooine, with flashing yellow eyes and a dark brown habit.

Six cinema tickets to the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens were to be presented by the church to those in fancy dress.

During the service a scene in which Luke Skywalker tries to convert his father Anakin - Darth Vader - to the good side of the force, was shown.

Conversion in real life is possible, just as in the film, says Reverend Garve, 29, giving as an example social work with delinquent youths.

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," is the text she cites from St Paul's Letter to the Romans 12:21.

The two vicars, who are still in training, hit upon the idea while talking about the Star Wars films during a car journey.

"We recognized evident Christian themes," Garve says. Their church took up the idea with enthusiasm.

"Some could not get much out of the films," Ludewig acknowledges.

The reception was largely positive. "The church is often accused of being musty. I think it's a good thing that so many people have come in this way who wouldn't otherwise have come," one 31-year-old Star Wars fan said.

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