Force strong for new Jedi church
Barney and Daniel Jones want fellow devotees to be able to join them close to their home on Anglesey. Barney, 26 - or Master Jonba Hehol - and Daniel, 21 - Master Morda Hehol - head the UK Church of the Jedi, in honour of the film's good knights. They say their services will include sermons on "the Force," light sabre training, and meditation techniques.
Hairdresser Barney became interested in the Jedi faith after 390,000 other Star Wars fans across England and Wales declared it as their religion on the 2001 census. An internet campaign was fought to see Jedi officially included in the list and although this did not happen, collators included a special code to register the Jedis.
He said: "As children we always watched the Star Wars films anyway. We noticed that there were a couple of sites on the internet, Jedi church sites. We printed off a couple of sermons and did a sermon in our house for a couple of friends one night."
Barney and his musician brother Daniel, from Holyhead, help run four websites devoted to the development of the "faith". They plan to go to the official opening of a Surrey-based branch or "chapter" of the UK Church of the Jedi in April, and hope to hire an Anglesey venue for their own services. Already six followers regularly meet in north Wales to discuss setting up the "church". "My brother and I would hold sermons, do talks and get guest speakers," explained Barney. "We would read out essays members of the congregation have submitted on their feelings about the Jedi and the Force: do meditation, relaxation and visualisation techniques and a bit of light-sabre training."
Watching the films as children gave the brothers a good understanding of the "faith," said Barney. "We had a knowledge of the Force from that and the teachings of Yoda. We've read the teachings on the internet. Our father is a karate black belt, we used to train with him, which is where we got the martial arts."
Barney, who has watched the Star Wars films "multiple dozens of times," does not wear film-themed clothing in public, but he and his brother would do so at Jedi church meetings. He said: "My brother and I will wear the Jedi robes, the dark brown robes... the congregation would be in black. Really to bring a sense of unity to the meetings."
Although the current members are all men, women are not excluded, as Barney Jones points out: "Princess Leia helped them out a lot."
However, any congregation member drawn to the dark side of the Force, embodied in the film by Darth Vader, would be advised they are following the wrong path and could face expulsion. Barney explained: "Obviously, if someone starts to try and use the good force for greed and power, they are going to bring negative interference into the meetings. We cannot have the Force disrupted by negative interference."
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