T. Larry Kirkland - Chair, Commission on Publications
Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour, Jr., Publisher
Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III, the 20th Editor, The Christian Recorder
National HIV/AIDS Awareness Month
Mark your Calendar Now!
Quadrennial Session of the General Conference will be held in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania on July 6 - 13, 2016.
1. TCR EDITORIAL: THE HACKERS AND SCAMMERS ARE AT IT AGAIN:
Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III
The 20th Editor of The Christian Recorder
This is the
Christmas season and we are seeing an uptick of hacked and scammed emails.
Please do not be duped. Bishop William P. DeVeaux, Bishop Vashti Murphy
McKenzie, and Bishop Sarah Frances Davis are all fine and are safe at home and
have not been stranded. As a matter of fact all of our bishops, general
officers, and connectional officers are at home and do not need any
assistance. If you receive emails
requesting funds for one of our bishops, general officers, connectional
officers or pastors, you should ignore the messages as hoax messages.
have been hacked should immediately change their email passwords.
should be changed from time to time or you should carefully select passwords
using upper and lower case, numbers and symbols. Do not use “ABC’ or “123” or some easy
combination of words that can be associated with you or your profession. For instance pastors shouldn’t use “pastor”
or “doctor” as a password. Use a foreign
phrase or Latin words that you can easily remember.
I will say
again, when sending multiple addressed email messages use Bcc. Too many of you,
including bishops and general officers are sending messages with exposed email
back the “You Ask” column in 2013
The “You Ask” column is returning to The
Christian Recorder in 2013. The
popular “You Ask” column was written by the late Bishop Richard Allen
Chappelle. He addressed local and connectional AME Church issues raised by
We are pleased to announce that the “You Ask” column will be penned by
retired Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry. She
is excited to pick up the mantle left by Bishop Chappelle and is looking
forward to addressing issues raised by the readers and subscribers of The Christian Recorder. Email your
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the address-line: “You Ask” column.
2012 has been an exciting year for The
Christian Recorder and we are looking for an even more exciting year in
Merry Christmas and a Blessed
We, at The
Christian Recorder, wish all of our subscribers and all of you who read The
Christian Recorder print edition
and The Christian Recorder Online, a Merry Christmas and a
Blessed New Year!
Sunday School Union will be closed December 21, 2012 thru January 2, 2013 for
the Christmas Holidays.
written by Rosalie Jones Moore expresses again expresses our Christmas wish for
all of our subscribers and readers of The Christian Recorder Online.
It is that joyous,
Time of year,
That loved ones
From far and near,
To bring joy and
Sharing gifts from the
To loved-ones dear,
The time of year,
To celebrate the
Of the Son of God,
Our Lord and Savior –
Take the time,
To remember the
That Christ died for
So that we could
©Copyright November 17, 2009 by
Rosalie Jones Moore
2. TCR OP-ED - MOVING FROM MESS TO MINISTRY:
E. Whitlock, Jr.
We are the
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). God called the AME Church into being
in 1787 when a group of Black slaves ministered through the mess created by
racism, oppression, rape, lynching and slavery. God empowered these Black
uneducated men and women to move from mess to ministry by creating the first
Black denomination in AMErica. The AME Church founded Wilberforce University,
the first and oldest privately owned Black University in AMErica. The AME
Church created the Christian Recorder, the first and oldest Black Newspaper in
AMErica. The AME Church is the first Black Denomination to own land in AMErica.
The AME Church has been a beacon of light for souls lost in sin, freedom for
victims of oppression, a leader in civil rights, and a voice for Black folk
muted by mess. The mission of the AME Church is to minister to the social,
spiritual, and physical development of all people. In recent weeks, the AME
Church has been in the media for more mess than ministry. It is the
responsibility of the Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Episcopal leader of the Fifth
District of the AME Church to guide churches from mess to meaningful ministry.
Bishop Kirkland is responsible for over three hundred fifty churches in the AME
denomination west of the Mississippi River, Bishop Kirkland and the other AME
Bishops have limited power for appointing pastors to churches as outlined in
the Book of Discipline of the AME Church.
First, an AME Bishop uses Godly judgment to appoint a pastor to a church
for a period of one year. Thereafter, a
Bishop has the responsibility to permit a pastor to remain at a church or
reassign that pastor to another church.
AME pastors have the right to a pastoral appointment equal to their
ability, training, and experience, when available, provided the pastor has not
been found guilty of misconduct under Judicial Administration. If reassigned, the new appointment, when
available, must be comparable to or better than the previous appointment again,
provided the pastor has not been found guilty of misconduct under Judicial
Administration. A Bishop must notify a
pastor in writing at least 90 days in advance of the intent to move a pastor to
another church without the pastor’s consent.
No pastor has a perpetual appointment to an AME pulpit, and every pastor
takes an oath to accept the assignment given by the Bishop.
Kirkland selected new pastors in Los Angeles to First AME, Ward AME, Brookins
AME, St. James, St. Mark AME, Walker Chapel, and Grant AME in Long Beach. These churches are well pleased with their
new spiritual leaders. Some congregants
gave standing ovations to their newly appointed pastors. The business of moving ministers is always
messy for the Bishop, Pastor, and Congregation, but Christians are called to
move from mess to meaningful ministry.
Lay are charged to fulfill the vision of the AME denomination. At every level of the AME Connection and in
every local church, the AME Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of
the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved: thus is, to seek out and save the lost, and
to serve the needy. The ultimate purpose
for ministry, irrespective of the denomination, is to make God’s Biblical
principles known; spread Christ’s liberating gospel to hopeless, and provide
continuing programs which enhance the entire social development of God’s
Church works daily at the ministry, mission, and management of God’s precious
resources. God does not save us from mess. We are in messy economic times, messy
foreclosures, messy unemployment, messy violence in schools, and engage in
messy politics both nationally and locally.
My mentor, the Rev. Cecil Murray once said, “God does not save us from
Mess. God saves us in the mess.” It’s
time to move from mess to miracles. The best way to get out of mess is to work,
fight, and pray to God for meaningful ministry.
Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. is the Senior Minister of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church
3. THE SANDY HOOK TRAGEDY RAISES
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS:
Andra D’Etta Hoxie
Why are we
focused on guns instead of mental healthcare?
Why are we, the Ecclesia (the church, the called out), not lobbying for
legislation to return prayer to schools?
Why do we spend so much time making sure no one is offended by prayer in
schools so that we can spend ten times the amount of hours sharing the Gospel
with prisoners who may have been spared incarceration if they had been
introduced to the gospel early and often?
We are attending too many funerals for our youth who are being cut down
in their prime. It is not only Sandy
Hook, but violence among our youth is rampant in all our communities. Check the murder, madness and mayhem
statistics for Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles or any other major city on
any given weekend. And, just in case
you’ve not noticed, respect for adults and authority is diminishing with each
What are we doing?
It is sadly
apparent that the child (and, yes, he was someone’s child, someone’s brother,
someone’s grandchild) who committed the heinous crimes in Sandy Hook had mental
challenges. Is it possible that with
proper treatment there would have been a different outcome in Newtown, CT? We will never know. What we do know is that we can advocate for
elephant in the room begs the question, “why would a mother of a child with
mental challenges introduce them to the sport of shooting?” At some point in time, there was bound to be
an issue. It appears that at least a few
persons knew the struggles of the family.
Why did no one speak up before now?
What is society’s role? Should
social workers and medical personnel monitor challenged youth who are removed
from the school system to be home schooled, further decreasing their ability to
learn important social and life skills?
What help is available for a parent who is willing to admit that there
are challenges? Is there silence on the
part of families that are suffering because of the stigma and ostracism
associated with admitting to psychological challenges?
Again, we have more questions than
afraid to admit that there may be a similar situation lurking in our
communities? We are attempting to close
the barn door after we stood by and watched the horses gallop down the
road. We tend to adopt a dissociative
relationship toward gun violence until it happens in our back yard. In other words, we embrace an ostrich
approach and attempt to keep our heads buried in the sand. Guns do not kill people; people with access
to guns kill people. A potential
victim’s name is not assigned to a particular bullet; bullets wound, maim and
kill whoever is in its path. Vigils
after the fact are good. Weeping with
those who weep and mourning with those who mourn show our love one for
another. But we, the church, can and
must do more.
must begin somewhere – the point of effective, effectual change. Prayer changes things. While others are focused on gun laws the
church’s focus must remain on God. We are
to pray without ceasing.
the church must advocate for expanded support and medical treatment for those
who suffer with mental health issues.
Preachers should educate congregants about this illness and help people
overcome the fear of being stigmatized and/or ostracized if they admit to these
particular challenges. Many tragedies
can be averted if someone would just speak up.
It would be even more impressive and effective if the church had a march
on our legislators to advocate for returning prayer to schools. Atheists and the “separation of church and
state crowd” do not want children to pray or hear the moral law in school. These same persons will invoke God’s law and
ask for continuous prayer when things go horribly wrong. We can’t have it both ways. I am willing to independently surmise that
during that rampage, someone in that school forgot about the separation of
church and state and called on the name of Jesus.
We must not
wait until we are saying more prayers, attending more funerals for our children
and visiting more of our youth in jail.
Prayer changes things. It will
not cost Congress a dime and returning prayer to schools will not affect the
national deficit one iota. Actually,
they may need less social programs if they would allow prayer to do its work.
We have met
and we have wept and worshipped; let us now be about our Father’s business and
begin the work that is necessary to effect change. Just as someone advocated for the removal of
prayer from schools, the church can and must advocate for the return of prayer
to schools. WE ARE NOT POWERLESS. Let the church say, “Amen!”
12:15b … mourn with those who mourn
Andra D’Etta Hoxie is the pastor of Faith A.M.E. Mission at Woodbridge, VA.
4. CHRISTMAS CAROLING REVIVED:
house caroling is a dying art in many parts of the world, but not at Grant
Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church where it is alive and well. Saturday,
December 15, 2012, 39 individuals ranging in age 2 to 82 braved the weather and
visited 10 homes and a nursing home singing Christmas carols and leaving behind
a little Joy. With the crime rate at an all-time high and violence filling so
many neighborhoods, many are apprehensive to tread. These brave soldiers were
organized by the Y.P.D. President, Shakeelah Hardaway, along with the Y.P.D
Director, Gail McClenton and her awesome helpers and supporters. This event was
sponsored by the Christian Education Department and supported by the Evangelism
Committee and the Mattie B. Williams Women's Missionary Society.
soldiers began their mission in front of the church singing "Silent
Night" and closing with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
Following prayer, the carolers loaded in vans, SUVs’ and individual cars and
caravanned to home of the oldest member, Mrs. Lillian B. Murray who is 94 years
old, with the final stop being that of the pastor's home, the Rev. Penny
happy and proud to report that the outing brought back the real meaning of
Christmas, bringing glad tidings, peace and joy to all that were visited. It
gave the carolers great joy and peace. We must say the carolers had some
excitement alone the way by singing the pants of aged senior citizen who was so
happy forgot his weight loss and raised his hands in praise and the rest is
history. The trip ended at a fast food restaurant with food and a visit from an
African American Santa from the hood. (Is there a better way we can include
this experience without taking the chance of offending someone?) It is our
sincere prayer this will become an annual event for Grant Chapel located at
2800 N. Tremont in Kansas City, Kansas where our services begin at 9:30 a.m.
with Sunday School and the worship experience begins promptly at 11:00 a.m. Our
motto is, "The friendly little church on the hill where all are welcome
and invited to attend. Our faithful pastor is the Rev. Penny Pitchford.
Submitted by Sister Gail
5. WOMEN'S MISSIONARY SUNDAY AT
TRINITY AME CHURCH:
Church, 1420 South Darla Avenue, Gonzales, Louisiana will observe Women’s
Missionary Society Services at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, December 30, 2012. The Reverend Monick Williams of St. James AME
Church in Lake Providence, Louisiana will be the worship leader. The Reverend Robyn C. Butler, a member of
Days Chapel AME Church in Clinton, Louisiana will deliver the message.
International Women’s Missionary Society of the AME Church is comprised of more
than 800,000 members. Missionaries at
the local level are committed to witness, advocate, educate, and to support
membership and stewardship in their local communities. The Reverend Orin J. Blouin is the Pastor of
Trinity AME Church, a new work in Gonzales.
R. Smith is the WMS President of the Trinity AME Church WMS. The Reverend Orin
J. Blouin is the pastor.
6. THE DEATH OF NOTED AME LAYMAN,
MR. JESSE HILL, JR. :
Hill, Jr., former chief executive of Atlanta Life Insurance Company, key civil
rights supporter, and long-time member and officer of Big Bethel AME Church,
died on Monday, December 17, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia.
are as follows:
December 20, 2012, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.--Visitation and Omega Psi Phi Omega Service,
Big Bethel AME Church - 220 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30303
December 21, 2012, 11:00 a.m. -- Celebration of Life Services, Big Bethel AME
Church - 220 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia.
Jesse Hill a leader in the AME
Church and in the community
December 18, 2012 headline in Black Politics on the Web stated, "The Civil
rights leader, Atlanta businessman dies" and they were writing about
Jessie Hill, Jr., civil rights leader who helped start Atlanta’s first black
community newspaper in 1960. He was 86.
other civil rights leaders founded the Atlanta
Inquirer and he served as publisher until 1985.
born in St. Louis and served on the board of directors for a diverse set of
companies and nonprofits. He worked for the Atlanta Life Insurance Company as
an actuarial assistant and became the first African-American president of the
Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber. During the
civil rights movement, he helped organize demonstrations and collected bail
money for arrested protesters. (AP).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution headline stated, "Jesse Hill
Jr., 86: Advised King, Carter, Atlanta mayors." AJC
Reporter Michelle E. Shaw wrote "Jesse Hill Jr., a former chief executive of
Atlanta Life Insurance Co. and a key supporter of civil rights, never held a
public office, but he had the ear, and phone number, of nearly every
high-ranking politician in Georgia. From Jimmy Carter to city councilmen, Hill
worked behind the scenes of many political campaigns." Shaw went on to
write, "In a period of historic ferment over civil rights and the changing
dynamics of Atlanta, Hill showed uncommon leadership. He helped finance and
advised civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; served
as confidant to the city’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson; and tackled
assignments as diverse as the launch of MARTA and the integration of the
Atlanta public schools and the University of Georgia. He played an especially
important role in forging understanding and alliances between local black and
white leaders." Former staff writer Ernest Holsendolph contributed to the
7. GETTING TO ZERO: HOME FOR THE
Christmas time of the year. We celebrate the arrival of Christ Jesus, Immanuel,
God with us. Families and friends come together. College students are at the
semester end or quarter break. It’s Christmas time.
We wish for
you a wonderful holiday filled with peace, joy and abiding love. We wish
closeness to those you love and those who love you. We wish that whatever you
need to let love abide, that God will give you the guidance to be about it.
In the last
column, we paid tribute to some pioneers in fighting against the loss of
health, life and love that HIV infection and AIDS can bring. Some mentioned were names that are known. We
saluted also those millions whose names are not known, or are familiar only to
family or closest friends.
week leading to Christmas 2012, I especially appreciate being home with
immediate family. This includes two college students.
campuses, for African American or any young adults are locations for high
presence of HIV and other microbes that cause sexually transmitted diseases
2012 is a great time to talk with those you love about Getting to Zero and how
to move towards the goal of an AIDS-Free Generation. Talk with children,
grandchildren, great grands, nieces, nephews, neighbors, Sunday School
attendees, church friends. You get the idea.
what you have been reading in The Christian Recorder and G20 column. Talk about
HIV as a virus that we can keep out of the body by using the ABCs at all times.
Talk about avoiding contact with the four body fluids that can transmit HIV
infection. These are blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk.
AIDS as a state of low CD4 white cell count where the immune system is not
working well. Discuss that due to current medical care, being HIV+ does not
mean that one has to progress to AIDS.
Thanks to anti-retroviral therapy, with supervised medical care HIV/AIDS can be
a chronic disease like diabetes that can be managed. AIDS does not have to be a
the first critical step, HIV testing, to determine if one is HIV- or HIV+. Find
local testing sites.
In the last
two Payne Seminary classes, the opportunity for on-site rapid HIV testing has
been made available on campus by personnel from the Greene County Health
Department. M Div graduate students in
the class take advantage of this opportunity to complete HIV testing to learn
their infection status.
test, it is interesting to hear thoughts and considerations that went through
the minds of these clergy while contemplating HIV voluntary counseling and
Many of the
Payne Seminary M Div candidates talk by phone with families to tell them they
are about to get an HIV test, or that they just completed VCT. It is a great
conversation starter. Don’t be surprised if your young adults engage easily in
the conversation and tell you that “they got tested at…” or they “already
include it in the physical at….”
Payne class experiences are an indication, HIV testing is becoming more routine
among young adults. It is the more mature persons that lag behind with
perceptions held over from the last century.
Christmas, have a conversation about HIV/AIDS, STDs, love, lust, emotions and
being young. Most of us have been through the young adult transition years whether
in college, or not. You know, “been there, done that.” It is by the grace of
God that we made it through this life phase.
adult will appreciate that you care enough to talk with them, not at them, on
such a relevant contemporary issue.
Remember, you don’t have to tell all.
Just engage and listen, without judging.
conversation might open new avenues for communication. During the holidays, take time together
perhaps to watch and talk about a different kind of movie. Try “Endgame” or “Half the Sky” as two highly
recommended documentaries that are available on line.
family or a few people can come together to go for an HIV test. Yes, even if
you have been married for 65 years, initiate the event and go anyway. It sets
an example of taking proactive care of your health. It will deal a mighty blow
to HIV/AIDS stigma.
Christmas holiday season, remember those who may not have family members near,
who may have pressing financial or other needs, and those for whom this season
is especially difficult. Holidays can be difficult because of many possible
love of God and the joy in Jesus by giving joy and love to someone
season, Christians celebrate abundant life and eternal life. In a collective
effort to “Get to Zero”, we remember loved ones seemingly gone too soon.
and are thankful for Dr. Jacqueline Hampton of Nashville, Tennessee for whom
ending HIV/AIDS was a life passion and tireless effort. I recall one of the
Project SAVED (CDC funded project at Meharry Medical School) training sessions
where Dr. Hampton said it all. She said, “I don’t want even one more life, with
all its possibilities, to be snuffed out by this virus and disease that we can
We wish you
a Merry Christmas. We wish for you the abundant blessings of our God for
wellness in mind, body and spirit in the coming year.
8. MEDITATION – BASED ON ROMANS
8:29-39 - WE CAN’T MAKE SENSE OUT OF WHAT MAKES NO SENSE:
Dr. Joseph A. Darby
years as a pastor have taught me a few things about ministering to those
struggling with the loss of loved ones - to encourage them not to be consumed
by trying to make sense out of what makes no sense; to let them know that it's
good, helpful and proper to mourn - in spite of well-meaning people who tell
them to "be strong"; and to gently guide them in the direction of
personal and spiritual growth in the wake of their loss rather than urging them
to "recover" what used to be “normal.”
I thought of those things in the wake of
America’s most recent tragedy - the senseless slaughter of six brave educators
and twenty innocent children by a tragically deranged young man at the Sandy
Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The "why" question will never be answered in that tragic
event, and simply attributing what happened to "God's Will" isn't a
great idea, because frail human beings can't always claim to comprehend God's
will in horrific events.
What may be
best in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy is not a
"recovery" effort, because recovery means returning to business as
usual - we’ve done that far too often after similar events. What may be best is
for us to "grow from" what happened and do things to minimize the
chances of such all too frequent acts being repeated in our nation.
not talking about or speculating on "God's will," but pressing our
elected officials to enact controls on weapons designed not to hunt animals but
to kill people and on high capacity ammunition clips designed not for
self-defense but for wholesale slaughter.
That also means that people of faith should lead those with troubled
minds and spirits to the sources of help that they need to cope with life’s
pressures and let them know that God brings spiritual and emotional healing.
tributes to those slain at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and to our loved
ones who leave this world may not be cards, flowers and vigils, but our commitment
to offer caring hope to our neighbors and to change our communities, states and
nation for the better.
won't bring those who leave this world back, but it may help others to find the
Christ who said, "I am come that you might have life and have it more
abundantly.” It will also help each of
us to grow in faith, grace and purpose, for we'll be doing the will of the
Savior who said, "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me."
If you are
in the Charleston, South Carolina area, join us on the Fourth Sunday in
December for Church School at 9:45 a.m. and for Worship at 8 and 11 a.m. The Combined Choir, Mime Ministry and Young
Adult Choir will offer praise.
Join us at
5 p.m. on this Sunday as well, when our Worship and Drama Ministries will
celebrate the blessings of the season with a presentation of “The Shepherds,” a
short state play by Andre A.A. Lederer.
Scripture Lessons are:
8 a.m. -
“Can You Trust in God’s Judgment?”
11 a.m. –
“Can You Follow God’s Plan?”
Dr. Joseph A. Darby is the pastor of Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston,
9. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICE:
to inform you of the death of Mrs. Wilhelmina McNeil, the Sister of Presiding
Elder Larry S. Hinton. The Rev. Larry Hinton is the Presiding Elder of the
Northern District of the North Carolina Conference.
December 21, 2012
The wake at
will receive friends and visitors Thursday, December 20th from 5:00
p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
may be sent to:
Elder Larry S. Hinton
919-359-0575; 919-359-8381; or 757-761-3368
10. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
missive comes to inform you of the passing of a faithful servant of God, the
Reverend Beulah Lewis, a retired minister in the Oklahoma State Annual
Conference where she served with all humility for many years. Her last
appointment prior to her retirement was Mt. Olive AME Church in Perry,
Celebration of Life for the Reverend Lewis will be held on Saturday, December
22, 2012, 1:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church, 701 Holly Street, Perry, OK.
have been entrusted to:
City, OK 73141
condolence may be shared with the family via the Funeral Home.
11. CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT
to share news of the passing of Mrs. Thelma D. Cheatham, the mother of Sister
Brenda Jones and mother-in-Law of the Rev. Gregory D. Jones. Pastor and Sister
Jones serve the congregation of Union Community AMEC in Jacksonville, Florida.
Sister Cheatham, a resident of Jacksonville, Florida, passed away December 14,
2012. She was a member of St. Paul AME Church, where the Rev. Dr. Marvin C.
Zanders, II serves as the pastor.
Services will be held Friday, December 21, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul AMEC
- Jacksonville with visitation of friends at the mortuary (James Graham
Mortuary, Inc. - 3631 Moncrief Road - Jacksonville) on Thursday, December 20,
2012 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and in the church from 9:30 a.m. until the
hour of service. Interment in Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery - Jacksonville,
Florida. Arrangements by: JAMES GRAHAM MORTUARY, INC. 3631 Moncrief Road -
Jacksonville, Florida. Please lift them up in prayers.
CLERGY FAMILY BEREAVEMENT NOTICES AND CONGRATULATORY ANNOUNCEMENTS PROVIDED BY:
Ora L. Easley,
AMEC Clergy Family
Phone: (615) 837-9736
Phone: (615) 833-6936
Cell: (615) 403-7751
CONDOLENCES TO THE BEREAVED FROM THE
The Chair of the
Commission on Publications, the Right Reverend Richard Franklin Norris; the Publisher,
the Reverend Dr. Johnny Barbour and the Editor of The Christian Recorder, the Reverend Dr. Calvin H. Sydnor III offer
our condolences and prayers to those who have lost loved ones. We pray that the
peace of Christ will be with you during this time of your bereavement.
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