The Communicator   August 2016
Volume 33  Issue 8
August 7th Pet Blessing Service
Come join us this  Sunday, August 7th , for our annual Intergenerational Blessing of the Animals service, which will be held in Hobart Hall. Feel free to bring animals which are people and other pet friendly.  If they are not sociable, or are no longer with you, please bring a picture of your beloved companion to share. 
Worship in August: Humility
The cultivation of humility is sometimes frowned upon in United States culture. Humility is often regarded as weak and ineffectual. Pride and getting to the top are often rewarded with financial gain and material wealth in the short term.  In the long term, however, the stroked ego becomes a trapping that blocks self-authenticity and truth. Wisdom traditions from around the world value humility as a spiritual practice that is powerful and effective; and its reward is living a meaningful life.
Community Sharing in August: Alliance for Fair Food

The Alliance for Fair Food is a national network of people working in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for farmworker justice.

The Alliance's Campaign for Fair Food has won binding agreements with 14 multi-billion dollar food retailers to date, including Taco Bell, McDonald's and Walmart. However, Publix and Wendy's have yet to come to the table. Thousands of farmworkers are seeing never-before-seen rights in the fields, such as shade and water; the right to file a complaint without fear of retaliation; the right to work free of sexual harassment and modern slavery; and the first real wage increase in 30 years.

Today, the campaign sees an unprecedented growth — through the “Food Chains” film, the Fair Food Program label, and the on-the-ground organizing of the CIW’s ally network, made up of three organizations — Interfaith Action, Student/Farmworker Alliance and Just Harvest USA are coming together under the umbrella of the Alliance for Fair Food.

Drawing from our collective strengths and successes, our mission remains to stand with farmworkers as they continue their struggle for justice and dignity.

For our annual Blessing of the Animals service, we will have a special community sharing partner, PAWS of Lee County, in addition to the Alliance for Fair Food. They are a low-cost spay/neuter/vaccination clinic and rescue organization that has served Lee County since 1998. All of their rescue dogs are kept in foster homes, so appointments to visit them are required.

More Sunday Happenings!
Christian Group
The UUCFM Christian Group meets at  9:00a   on Sundays  in Room 7.  This is a great time for interested UUs to come visit, take a look, ask questions, and see what we're about. We look forward to welcoming you. We have a Communion after the service every 4th Sunday in Room 7. 
Humanist Forum
There is no Humanist Forum this Sunday, August 7th because of the Pet Blessing set up.  The Humanist Forum regularly meets every Sunday at 9:15a in Hobart Hall.  All are welcome to join us for a new and engaging topic each week. 
Newcomers Group

This Sunday, August 7th, we will be holding a Newcomers Group in Room 2 at noon.  Chris Rosa of Member Services leads this informal informational meeting about UUCFM, its programs and services, and Unitarian Universalism in general.  This is not the Pathways meeting for membership; this is for all new guests who would like to learn more about us. All are welcome!  Please join us.
Minister's Column

I write this column during family vacation time in Iowa. It's hard to be away from our community during such a time of heartbreak after the shootings at Club Blu. You may have heard me on the radio or see me on the news. Upon hearing about the shootings that morning, all I could do was grab my daughter, buy flowers, and deliver them.  As I arrived at the sad scene, I realized  that this offering the flowers was also going to be a time to bear witness for our faith and to show up in solidarity for a grieving community.  Colleagues from all over the nation and from our Association's southern region called me with messages of support for our congregation and for our larger community. 

The day after the shooting was a strange one. Something wasn't sitting right.  I realized that the strange feeling I had was because I acted alone. I wanted you there with me.  I wanted you to feel what I felt. I wanted our larger community to see you all there laying flowers, offering your condolences and heartbreak. What we do for our community, we must to do together. And so this experience has helped shape the coming year and my ministry with you. The movement of our hearts and our minds has created a mission statement and vision statement. But this year, we must come up with our strategic planning of how to do the work together. We must learn to share the ministry… Not just minister and laity but amongst one another in the congregation.

We are better together. I can't wait to be back with you soon. 

In love, growth and service,
Rev Allison
Music Notes
Calling all basses!  Do you love to sing the really low notes? We need you in the Choir! Ability to read music is a plus but not necessary. Singers of all voice parts are always welcome to come and try out a rehearsal and see if the Choir is for you. 

Musical Calendar

August 7:  For our pagan Animal Blessing service, Lesley Peterson shares her original song,  The Oldest Animals, and the Choir sings the cheerful  All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir

August 14:  Let us humble ourselves as we receive the gifts of World Piano Competition winner Dr. Noel Engebretson and soprano Rebecca Donlan. 

August 21:  Haris Blackwood covers Phil Och's touching folk song  There But For Fortune and the Choir harmonizes the heartfelt hymn,  Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire, based on a beloved text from I Corinthians. 

August 28:  The Choir sings the mysterious  Where Do We Come From? for our service recognizing our humble place in the story of the universe. 

There is no  Music Committee meeting this month. 

The UUCFM Choir rehearses most Wednesday nights from 6:45-8:15p, and on Suday mornings from  9-10a in the Sanctuary.  It's free and there are no auditions. Please email me in advance so that a music folder can be prepared for you. Come join us in singing!

The UUCFM Band rehearses most Wednesday nights from  6:00-6:45p, and on Sunday mornings from  9-10a in the Sanctuary. If you would like to play your instrument during a  Sunday service, please email me to coordinate the details. Come join us in making music together!  

Amy Laursen, Director of Music                                                                               

RE News

This Sunday (8/7) prospective TCAP (The Challenge of Affirmation Program) youth and their parents will be meeting at  noon  in room 7 to discuss the exciting revival of our Coming of Age program. I'm pleased to announce that we have 6 prospective youth participants! Each of them will be selecting a mentor from the congregation to serve as a resource and guide for the duration of the program. This is an incredible opportunity for congregants to connect with our youth and truly engage in the multigenerational spirit of our church. I know those who have offered to serve are  very  excited about this themselves.

Our first day of RE classes will be  Sunday, 8/21 and this year, classes will look very different. To begin with, for the first time in a long time, we will have a Pre-K - 2nd grade class! 5 of our children are graduating from the nursery and will be taking the Chalice Children curriculum with Stephanie Hoffman and Harvey Heckes. 3rd - 5th graders will be using the Holidays and Holy Days curriculum with Julie Ireland and Mathew Halstead, while our junior high kids will be further exploring our monthly worship themes through youth-lead conversations about currents events and history through a UU lens. This will also be the first year that our high school students do not attend RE classes, but remain in service. We will be kicking off a youth group for our high schoolers to fulfill their direct ministerial needs. 

Personally, I am thrilled to see such change in our RE program - it's a sure fire sign that we are rising up to meet the needs of a growing and evolving group of kids and young adults! If you have any questions about the coming RE term, TCAP, volunteering, or the formation of our youth group, please shoot me an email!

Jenn Blosser, RE Director
 UUCFM Strong!

"Evolutionary Church" means that over time, the congregation has rolled out some new ideas, taken some risks, started new ministries, and has leaders who are willing to take a serious look about how churches can thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Examples of "Evolutionary Church" include some combination of the following:
     . Different worship times or formats
     . Changes in music and liturgy
     . Experimenting with a mid-week or  Sunday  afternoon service whose intention is to attract a newfound constituency
     . Having guest speakers in the pulpit regularly
     . Start new outreach ministries
     . Giving away the  Sunday  offering
     . A line item of 10-20 percent in the budget for outreach
     . Adequate financial support overall
     . A desire to reach out to those who are lost and lonely
     . Some experience with public ministries such as divorce recovery groups or support groups for the recently widowed
     . An Internet presence that is professional in nature
     . An engaging education program for all ages
     . An attitude that failing is a learning experience, not a disaster
     . Pride in what the church is accomplishing
     . A general level of excitement in just showing up.
(If your church has none of these, call in outside help from the denomination or a well-respected church consultant.)

How many of the above have been implemented or are in progress at UUCFM? The number may surprise you!

Bruce Marble, V. P. Finance

Emergency Operations Task Force Kick-Off 

At the June Board of Trustees Meeting an ad hoc Emergency Operations task force was created under the Operations Council.  We all realize how churches are vulnerable to various forms of natural and man-made crises.  Houses of worship are soft targets for many who are seeking to bolster a particular cause; often these actions involve violence.  Having an effective operational response to these emergencies is important to the safety of all at UUCFM. Anyone who would like to participate in this Emergency Ops effort can contact Bill Petrarca, VP-Operations,

Caring Network

Our good friend and a beautifully spirited UU, Paula Copestick, will be celebrating her 75th birthday on  August 14th. She would certainly enjoy hearing from you as she has been in an extended care facility for over two years.
Paula Copestick
LifeCare center of Estero
26852 South Bay Drive, Apt. #105,
Bonita Springs   FL   34134 

Community Wednesday

Join members and friends of our UUCFM community each Wednesday for a delicious meal prepared by Chef Joy for a small donation. After the fellowship and fine fare from 6:00- 6:45p, join your favorite programming event, committee meeting, or social activity.  A place will be provided for any informal gatherings of your choosing. Child care is provided until 8:30p.
Activitie s

4:00-5:30              Optimal Living Group (1st & 3rd Wed)

6:00-6:45              Community Meal

6:00-6:45              Band Rehearsal in Sanctuary

6:45-8:00              Choir Rehearsal in Sanctuary
Save the Date!
Book Study with Rev. Allison

Join Rev. Allison and new friends in church history fun as we explore the book by scholar and author Bart D. Ehrman about how mistakes and intentional interpretations of early Greek Christian texts have led away form the original intent of the stories of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth (and have led to oppressive beliefs).  We will also have opportunities to talk about Unitarian and Universalist history and their different takes on the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, and human nature.   As religious liberals, we can better equip ourselves with robust discussion about the ways misquoting Jesus has caused hate and division in our community.  

Sessions are Wednesday in the Library from  1-2:30 pm  beginning  August 17-Sept.21 .
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.   Come having read Introduction and Chapters 1 & 2.  There are  242 pages total.
Women's Circle

The August Women's Circle meets for potluck lunch on  Monday, August 8th at noon .  This month we will welcome our special guest Sandra McClinton, our district's representative to the Democratic National Convention this past month in Philadelphia.

We are also inviting the women of All Faiths to join us to share the experience.

We request that everyone bring a dish to share and questions about what the convention was like.  For more info contact Susan Forsyth or Jane Richey
Rick Joyce Program

Whether you manage your own yard or are responsible for the HOA or condo common areas, Properly Pruning Plants will help you understand how healthy pruning practices can create more beautiful and healthy landscapes. This information can save you money and arm you with information for evaluating your landscape management company. This talk is free and refreshments will be served. Join us  August 18 , at  7 pm  in Hobart Hall Visit or call  (239) 273-8945  for more information. No reservations needed. Sponsored by the Coccoloba chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. 
UU Women's Retreat

7 th Annual Florida UU  Women’s Retreat

April 7 -9, 2017

DaySpring Episcopal Conference Center Ellenton, Florida

The retreat begins Friday at 5:00pm and ends Sunday at Noon.  DaySpring Conference Center is conveniently located off I-75 just  north of Sarasota on Florida’s West Coast. The beautiful campus  nestled under ancient oaks and located on a cove of the Manatee  River offers a serene setting for our annual retreat. Take a look- Dayspring

$220 per person covers expenses for a semi-private room and six  meals. 8 women share a cozy cottage with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, a screened porch and common area. A limited number of single  rooms are available at $292 each.

$5 Discounts available for registration before September 30.

A non-refundable deposit of $15 for semi-private room or $25 for a  private room will reserve your place. Final payment is due January  15, 2017. Come join us for an enriching and memorable weekend.

To register contact Helen Leddy at
Our Classes & Groups

The monthly CUUPs meeting will be held on August 21st in Room 1 at  12 noon .  This month, we will be exploring Quiet Listening.

As pagans, we are called on to hear and listen to the earth's heartbeat, no matter which path we are walking.  In such a loud world where we are constantly hit by media and distraction, sometimes the sound of the great mother can be very nearly drowned out.  Even meditation can be more difficult if we haven't yet learned how to just listen to that great heartbeat, however it may be heard to your ear.  Join CUUPs in a guided discussion on this topic and a song from our youngest member, our CUUPs maiden.
Mindfulness Meditation

Join us on Monday evenings to explore the very simple and satisfying practices of mindfulness and meditation.  You don’t need experience with meditation, nor do you have to be a Buddhist.  Do please bring an intention to quiet the mind and the body in a supportive group of UU members and friends with a similar intention - people who want to carry mindfulness into their daily lives.  We meet Mondays from 6:30-8:00p in the Sanctuary. If you have any questions, please contact Gary Robbins at
Optimal Living Group
The Optimal Living Group is open to all and does not require attending every session.  We meet in the Sanctuary on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 4:00-5:30p.  We discuss how to live optimally, including practical ways to cope with life's challenges and issues.  Helping others and developing maturity in ourselves is part of our quest.  We explore many paths and techniques for enriching our lives and making a difference for others.  For more information fill out a blue card found in the pews or email Neil at
Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Group
The Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Group meets every Sunday in Room 1 from  1:45-3:45p.  All are welcome to attend!   Join Mary Tracy Sigman and others for this well loved and well attended group. 
Creative Express Workshop

The Creative Express Workshop is a course that runs seven months on the third Thursdays from September 15, 2016 to March 16, 2017 from 7:00-9:00p in the Conference Room.

This class is ideal for people aged 16 and older who want to learn to become more creative.  We’ll learn about the creative process and its relationship to relaxation, time management and prioritization.

Express yourself as we explore the creative process through many media:

 writing goals and affirmations, poems and blogs,

 producing collage and sculpture,

 developing a character,

 a play, a plan, and a party.

There will be many experiences, and opportunities for you to make things in class. You’ll get the most out of the Workshop if you commit to the whole course- there will be no add-ons after the first month.
The Workshop costs $210.00 in full, or $30.00 per month. Sign up early, (by September 1st) and pay only $180.00 in full. Space is limited so register early to reserve your seat.

This workshop is conducted by Julia Davis, Certified Life Coach and Creativity Consultant. Please contact Julia at   or (239) 560-2114 for more information and to register.
CUUPs Learning Circle

Earthways Shamanic Path Class  is conducted on the 1st Tuesdays of the month, from  7:00 PM to 8:30  PM.   We meet in classroom 4.  Whale Maiden conducts this class with a co-facilitator.  In these classes, we presents a topic about the Earthways Shamanic Path, and conduct a Shamanic Journey. We journey with drums and rattles.  Remember to bring a bandana or scarf to cover your eyes.  Water and a snack are a good idea, as is a notebook & pen.    Also bring a yoga mat and a blanket if you like to journey while laying down. The requested sliding scale donation for this class is  $7.00 to $25.00  per class.    This class is open to anyone over the age of 18. This class is sponsored by CUUPS of Fort Myers.

Earthways Journey with the Trees is a monthly class on the  2 nd  Saturday of each month from  9:30 AM to 11:30 AM This class is conducted outside.    We gather at the Pond by the Amphitheater of the UUCFM.  In this class, we work with one tree per month to learn what it is and what it’s spiritual gifts are for us.  We conduct a shamanic journey with the tree.  We do our journeys with drums and rattles. Remember to bring a bandana or scarf to cover your eyes.  Bring a folding chair, water bottle and snack. Also, bring a tree identification book if you have one.  Since we will be outside, you may want to bring bug repellent, sun hat, sun block (even a light-weight long sleeve shirt is a good idea).  Also, we will be near pollen and bees, so please take whatever personal precautions are right for you.  The requested sliding scale donation for this class, is $7.00 to $25.00 per class.  This class is open to anyone over the age of 18. This class is sponsored by CUUPS of Fort Myers.

CUUPS introductory class, "What is CUUPS, What is an earth-centered belief -- what is Paganism"   is conducted on the 3rd Wednesdays, from  7:00 PM to 8:30 PM  in classroom 4.  CUUPS is a group of people within the UU Church, who have Earth-Centered beliefs, or for people who might be interested in Pagan and Earth-Centered practices, rituals and beliefs. We are open to al l . Whale Maiden and other members of CUUPS facilitate this monthly class, where we cover : What is the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans?  What is paganism?  How was our CUUPS of Fort Myers chapter established?  What are some of the important contributions that CUUPS of Fort Myers members have made to the UUCFM?  What does CUUPS do? What's coming up in the CUUPS calendar?  Donations are appreciated.

Contact Whale Maiden for information on these 3 classes.   
Weekly Activities
 Tai Chi has finished for the season.  All are welcome to join us again in the fall on Thursdays at 10:00a in the Sanctuary.
Mah Jongg will resume in September.  We play on Friday afternoons. There is no charge and all are welcome!
Our Bed & Breakfast Program

If you're looking for a volunteer opportunity, here it is!

We are preparing for another year of UUCFM’s Bed and Breakfast program. Through the generosity of host families within our congregation, we have raised $3000 to $5000 a year for the church operating budget for many years. We provide this service to UUs and/or their friends from around the country. This
program cannot happen without volunteers and we need your help!

What’s needed to be a host?  The host provides one bedroom and bathroom and a basic breakfast each morning of the guests’ stay. The guests are usually one or two people. (If there are children, we can make special arrangements with some families.) The breakfast can even be a “do it yourself” if your guests are early risers or you have to go to work and they want to sleep. Usually a host has no more than one or two guest stays in a season.

Do I have to entertain the guests or take them places?  NO! They will have their own transportation. If you have favorite restaurants to recommend, or other local travel tips, they are always appreciated. You are not expected to provide entertainment, transportation or extra food. For the most part, guests are off
doing their own thing most of the day and evening.

When and for how long?  Guests stay from one to seven nights during the months of January through April. (Most stay only two or three nights.) You choose when and for how long you can host and then your requirements are matched with those of the guests. I usually send out an email to all potential hosts when a request is received and they respond as to their availability. Even if you can only host for two nights in March, for example, that is a big help.

February and March tend to be in the biggest demand. We also run the program from May through December based on availability of host families. Requests usually don’t go beyond May.

All money received from the guests as they stay in your home goes directly to UUCFM operating funds. I haven’t even mentioned how interesting and fun this experience can be for the hosts. We have met so many great UUs through this experience!

Please consider being a host!  Before you say no, talk to me!  Just try it once……

Mary Nies, Program Coordinator

239-466- 7933
Social Justice
Greetings Social Justice Friends,

We usually hold our meetings the first  Sunday of the month.   This Sunday is the Animal Blessing, and we will not be holding a meeting.

On September 4, we will hold a SJC meeting at noon. We will talk about the SJC table, upcoming SJ actions, and other agenda items that you request.  Also, October will mark two years that I have chaired this Committee, and I would like for someone else to please step forward to do this task.

Blessings to our Waters,
Gratitude to all of you for your activism.

Love, Genelle

P.S. In July, we in the GRACE Project held two successful Women's Health and Human Rights Workshops with teachers in Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala, partnering with the Guatemala Ministry of Education. Gracias to all of you who contribute to these groundbreaking and capacity-building services, both in SW Florida and in Guatemala.

P.P.S. the GRACE Project is sponsoring Gabriela Bravo, a brilliant, young Maya woman, through six years of Law School (she is finishing the third year now). We are working to procure a Visitor Visa for her so she can come here to learn about our legal system.  Do any of you know teachers at Ave Maria Law School, who could bring her to some classes there?  Or have other ideas for Gabriela? Muchas gracias.
South Fort Myers Food Pantry

In an effort to have the pantry run more efficiently, there have been some changes made.  The sorting of food and stocking of shelves is now being done on Wednesday.

Food is still being distributed on Mondays during the same hours,  11AM to 1PM  and in the evening  6PM to 8PM .  With less activity more attention can be directed to the clients who come to food.  Half way through the year, we have served 3,751 individual clients or a total of 10,708 household members.

Not all our food comes from the Harry Chapin Food Bank.  The pantry depends on food donated from the coalition churches.  Our ongoing food drive is an important part of our commitment as a coalition member.  There is always a need for canned meats and meals such as ravioli and chunky soups.  This is particularly true during the summer months.  You don't have to bring a lot of food; just one can a week from everyone each  Sunday would make a sizable donation over the month.  Once we had a motto, "Fran's plan, just one can."

I regret that I had incorrect information when I said that the pantry did not need volunteers.  I have been informed that there is a need on all three shifts;  Monday days or evenings and Wednesday 1-3.  If interested, let me know and I'll tell you who to contact.  See Fran Rose after church or call me and leave a message, 239-432-9538.  If you prefer email write "Food Pantry" on the subject line.
My UU Story

Max: Likes Blessing of the Animals

For the second time, I attended the Blessing of the Animals on Aug. 2, 2015, at UUCFM. I was not
happy to be in my carrier cage because it is too small and I am used to having more room to roam.

As a handsome male Half Moon Consure, I have orange feathers highlighting my peak. Plus, I have
two beautiful shades of green on the rest of my feathered body.

At first, I was a bit scared because dogs were all around me and they are much bigger than I am. I thought the dogs could eat me in one bite! My Father protected me by holding me on his lap.

During the service, I was certainly quiet and listening to what people were saying. I was curious about
how the service would go and if the people running it would recognize birds as pets or animals. I
especially appreciated the reference to feathered animals because I knew that they meant me!  It is
great that Unitarian Universalists respect the interdependent web of all existence of which I am a part! I
hope I can attend more Blessing of the Animals services in the future.

I am lucky to be with my family. They give me food and water every day and I can get out of the cage for
a while. Usually, I can be found on my Father’s shoulder.  He shares his food with me. I am fond of cold
cereal, apples, grapes, potato chips, bagels, and waffles.

Since I was five weeks old, I have lived with my Father and Mother. Currently, I am 18 years old. At
home, I have one brother. His name is Lucky and he is a Cockatiel. But, we do not get along well and
tend to fight—our parents do not like that. 

In the car going home from church, Daddy took me out the cage and let me sit on his arm. That made it
easier for me to see where we were going. He even let me sit on his shoulder all the way into our

~ Max's people are Harvey and Ann Heckes
About My UU Story

Each month, the Membership Committee would like to publish your UU story- either converted or born UUs.  How did you become a UU or how did our religion affect your life?  Alternatively, do you have a one-paragraph remembrance of your first reaction to being in a UU church and/or learning about the religion?  To share your story, please contact Joy Sokeitous at   Joy will help you edit and she will provide questions to help you develop your story.   
My UU Summer

Show us your summer in pictures! Send pictures of you on your vacation or staycation between June 1 and August 31 to  Your pictures will be shown during the preservice slide show each week.  Please don't write a long description about each place- this is photos only- a one word caption is fine. 1-3 photos per person, please.
Give Your Name Tag Some Personality
How are you involved at UUCFM?  Are you on the Music Team?  Do you work in our garden?  Are you part of the Humanist Forum?  Be proud of what you do!   Visit the Welcome Table in the Narthex, pick up a sticker for your name tag, and let your involvement show!
Our Greater Community
If you are a UUCFM Community Sharing Partner, a regular Facility User, or have UU related news to share, you are welcome to submit announcements for publication in our Greater Community section of the newsletter.  Please send announcements in by each Wednesday for publication in the Thursday E-news.  
National CUUPs Convocation

Join UU Pagans from across the country this  August 26-28  in Salem, MA for the first CUUPS Convocation in a decade!  Titled Awakening Our Tribe, there will be ritual and music and special guest speakers Shirley Ranck, John Beckett, Byron Ballard, CUUPS President Amy Beltaine, and Gypsy Ravish.  Organizers are working hard with local businesses to provide special deals for convocation-goers.  For more information and to catch the early bird special, register at .

If you have any questions, please reach out to convocation organizer and CUUPS Board of Trustees member Jerrie Hildebrand at .

Aug 3  Ian Ireland

Aug 3  Carla Webb

Aug 4  Margot White

Aug 5  Susan Schmitt

Aug 7  Joyce Reischuck

Aug 9  Hilary Matheson

Aug 12  Carole Latino

Aug 14  Paula Copestick

Aug 21  Suzanne Fast

Aug 22  Carol Barclay

Aug 22  Marge Gonzalez

Aug 24  Patricia Vivier-Naidl

Aug 25  John Swank

Aug 28  Nik Kulpanowski is 14!

Aug 30  Maya Calkins is 9!

Aug 31  Shirley Blumenfeld

 Please send all news articles for the Weekly E-news to
Jill Carville 
(239) 561-2700 
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