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Aspiring Jedis needed as chapter seeks leader


January 28, 2010

ASPIRING Jedi Knights in Surrey should prepare to update their CVs as the county’s chapter prepares to look for a new leader.

The only qualifications necessary are a background in martial arts and a deep understanding of the teachings of the Jedi, the religion featured in the Star Wars films.

However, the ability to keep a secret also ranks highly as an attribute for anyone wanting to become the new head of the Jedi Church's Surrey training centre, established almost two years ago.

The burgeoning chapter had attracted more than 25 full members at the last count before former leader Master Ajac stood down for health reasons.

Lifelong Star Wars fanatic and founder Daniel Jones said appetite was growing for the centre, currently in an undisclosed location.

Members can join up by contacting the church’s leaders and arranging to attend gatherings.

The chapter is one of only three in the UK, with the others up and running in Lincoln and Anglesey, in Wales.

Another centre operates from Washington in the USA and continued to attract worldwide attention, according to Mr Jones.

“Twenty-five is certainly a lot of people – that was only recorded over the course of a couple of months,” Mr Jones said.

“We are looking for somebody to step up and take the chapter forward.

"We were really encouraged by the number of people and we definitely want to keep that momentum going. Anybody is welcome to join or show their ambition to become a leader.”

Teachings at the chapter include meditation techniques, Jedi theory and lightsaber practice.

“Meetings are kept underground and people get in touch with leaders through e-mails,” Mr Jones said.

“It will be down to the new master to decide any new teachings so I wouldn’t like to state what they are before we get a new leader.”

Some 390,000 people are currently registered as Jedi across the country, although the movement is not recognised as a religion.

“We chose Surrey because it is a high-density population and because it does have those links with London and we can attract more people,” Mr Jones said.

“There are a number of fast-growing social and religious movements and we are one of them.”

According to the movement’s doctrine, it was set up for the power of good and in fact encourages the positive teachings seen in other religions.

This is aimed at attracting people disillusioned with more orthodox religions.

Members are encouraged to read Star Wars books and see the films, as these are seen as the equivalent to Bible and the Koran.

People are also taught how to use Jedi mind tricks, or neurolinguistic programming, as a way of dealing with people in a peaceful and calm manner.

It takes between one and two years to become a full Jedi Knight and embrace all the codes.

“There is a training course that needs to be completed before anybody can actually become a member,” Mr Jones added.

“They have to carry the Jedi handbook when they come to sessions.”

In addition, some members need to wear special robes at certain ceremonies but can pull on a black T-shirt and a black pair of jeans at regular meetings.

“Of course anybody who wants to lead the centre has to be above 16,” Mr Jones added.

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