October 12, 2018
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Children's Ministry Event Postponed
"LOVE IS: Creating Sustainable Children's Ministries"

The Children's Ministry Training Event, originally scheduled for October 13th, has been postponed due to unavoidable circumstances and will be rescheduled until next Spring. More information to come.
Helping Puerto Rico Rise Again Love Offering Oct. 14

Our conference's Helping Puerto Rico Rise Again month-long love offering ends this Sunday, Oct. 14, along with National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to October 15)  As we continue to offer prayers and assistance to Puerto Rico's recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria (September 2017), we can give generously to help our fellow U.S. citizens and fellow Methodists there through this love offering.  All funds are being shared with the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico to support its church and community recovery and restoration ministries.

Please download, print, use and share the Helping Puerto Rico Rise Again love offering flyer and the  bulletin insert leaflet. Also, visit our new Helping Puerto Rise Again web page, and be sure to read and share Bishop Peggy Johnson's tender essay,  Loving others in our family of faith .

We will publish a story next week about the first conference volunteer work team headed to Puerto Rico November 3-10 to help with recovery and restoration. Ten lay and clergy members will go this time, and another work team is being formed to go next March.
Laity Sunday October 21: 'Offering Christ'

Laity Sunday, Oct. 21, observed annually on the third Sunday of October, celebrates the ministry of all lay Christians in "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." You can learn about this special Sunday and find worship resources that might be helpful to you at https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship/laity-sunday-2018/laity-sunday-2018-therefore-go-with-hope-through-offering-christ/laity-sunday-2018-overview.

During the Wesleyan Movement's early days, Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury, both Englishmen sent by John Wesley to America, carried on the Wesleyan legacy of equipping and empowering laity to be in ministry. Through the ministry of the laity, more and more people made a commitment to Christ, were nurtured in the faith, were equipped for ministry, and were sent out to be in ministry with others.

A suggested theme for this day is "Offering Christ" or "Offer Them Christ," from the words John Wesley spoke to his emissary Thomas Coke as Coke set sail to America in 1784 to ordain Francis Asbury a bishop and help him establish Methodism in the newly independent United States of America.Download Laity Sunday brochure (pdf)

NEJ Evangelicals to explore Methodism's future, Oct. 20

The Northeastern Jurisdiction Evangelical Caucus will sponsor a "Coming Together in Connection for Christ" event for fellowship and discussion on Saturday, Oct. 20, 9 AM to 3:30 PM at Evangelical Seminary in the Commons Room (121 S. College Street, Myerstown, PA). The topic is "Methodism: The Road to Chaos, The Way toward Fruitfulness." The registration deadline is today, Oct. 12, but late registrants are welcome.

The event keynoter will be the Rev. Scott Kisker, a published professor of church history at United Theological Seminary and Associate Dean for Master's Programs there. He previously taught History of Christianity at Wesley Theological Seminary. An afternoon panel discussion about what to expect during and following the Special 2019 General Conference will feature the Revs. Joe DiPaolo and Rudolph Bropleh of the Wesleyan Covenant Association. Learn more...
Judicial Council hearings to be livestreamed

Z√úRICH, Switzerland - Three oral hearings on Oct. 23 will be livestreamed from the Judicial Council's fall meeting. One of the hearings is on a request by the Council of Bishops for the court to rule on whether the proposed legislation for the One Church, Connectional Conference and Traditional plans for the 2019 special General Conference is constitutional. The hearings in Zurich will be open to the public and broadcast at www.UMC.org/live, as well as via Facebook at www.facebook.com/resourceUMCRead press release  Read UMNS story
What's New on our Website
Believing and being there for domestic violence victims

October is "National Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Month." Many people are living, suffering in secret, silent agony because of abuse. That includes women and some men, attacked both in and outside of the home. Their abuse comes in the form of physical violence, sexual violence and emotional violence.  Our churches can play an important role in prevention by teaching people--men and women--about this terrible problem and offering healing and hope to victims and survivors.  

The Eastern PA Conference will sponsor a day-long seminar, titled Domestic Violence: The Faith Community Responds, on Saturday, Nov.  17 at West Lawn UMC. There will be a keynote speaker from FaithTrust Insitute and workshops, including one about the Amending through Faith program for men. Everyone should come to learn about the signs and solutions to domestic violence and ways that we as the Body of Christ can help end this deadly, widespread scourge on our society's treatment of women and families.   Read more
Bishop reviews Way Forward proposals at town halls
" Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3 )

After hymns were sung and scriptures were read, Bishop Peggy Johnson led off a series of five, well-attended town hall meetings in four districts, from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, with that imperative Ephesians text. Then she waded into PowerPoint slides with summaries, updates and explanations, followed by listeners' questions, statements, complaints--and even a few testimonies--all about the Way Forward for the UM Church.

The roughly two-hour sessions filled sanctuaries in five churches with church and conference members eager to know more about the controversial proposals, deliberations and upcoming decisions about the future of The United Methodist Church. Learn more...

Also, from UM News Service, a connectional view
Big crowds for meetings on denomination's future 
United Methodists are turning out in force, along with questions and opinions, for conference meetings aimed at informing people about the special 2019 General Conference. Most meetings feature tutorials on the legislative options for helping the denomination remain unified despite persistent division over homosexuality.  Read story
History Revisited

In her Bishop's Blog, Bishop Peggy Johnson writes about the growing movement to honor indigenous peoples rather than 15th century explorer Christopher Columbus, who  "discovered," conquerered and exploited many of them in the "New World" of the Americas.

I was taught that Columbus "discovered" the new world and brought Christ to the heathens. I actually wrote a newsletter once at my first parish saying that the name "Christopher" meant "Christ-bearer" and that he was spreading the faith to those who had never heard.

Then I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic and visited a large, modern museum of history, where I learned of Columbus' brutality and the genocide of the indigenous Taino people. He instituted slavery and engaged in horrific acts of inhumanity. Across our country a number of states have changed "Columbus Day" to "Indigenous Peoples Day" or "Native Americans Day,"   Learn more...
Their silence fills the earth

Bishop Bruce R. Ough, writes about the emotional and social fallout from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation was riveted by the testimony given by Kavanaugh and by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed he sexually assaulted her as a teen decades ago. Ough laments the "divisive tribalism that now characterizes and threatens our great democracy."

"It felt as if the very soul of our country was being laid bare," he writes. "It was a powerful, indelible teaching moment for millions of people and, indeed, a nation too long in denial of our epidemic of sexual assault and abuse." Learn more
Morton installed as North District Supt.

After serving for two decades in one remarkable church, the Rev. Steve Morton hit the road July 1, as Superintendent of the North District; and he has been traversing his new far-flung district ever since. He stopped long enough to be officially installed in his new role on Sept. 8-9 in a full weekend of installation services. But even that celebration happened in three church locations. Learn more...
Upcoming Eastern PA Events: Register Now
Prepare to join Volunteers in Mission in Puerto Rico
Our conference Disaster Response & UMVIM leadership team urges anyone who wants to explore disaster recovery ministry anywhere to attend the second UMVIM Team Leader and Early Response Team simultaneous training events on Saturday, Oct. 20 , 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, at Otterbein UMC in Lancaster . Persons interested in growing and helping others through a potentially life-changing mission encounter are urged to learn more and register now via the conference website.  

UMW omen's  Annual Celebration, Oct. 20

Eastern PA Conference's UM Women will hold their 45th Annual Celebration Saturday, Oct. 20, 8 AM - 3 PM, at First UMC Lansdale (300 N Broad Street Lansdale). Their theme is "UMW Focus: #missionwith."  The featured speaker, Clara Ester, a retired deaconess, was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis, Tenn., and was at the Lorraine Motel there with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he was assassinated. She is a founding member of Habitat for Humanity of Mobile, Ala., and People United to Advance the Dream. Deaconess Ester will share how her spirituality has led to a life of activism and advocacy.

Registration $18. Contact Registrar Mary Ann Repsher, rep164@frontiernet.net or 610-588-1084.   Download the flyer and Registration Form

Bishop to lead prayer, protest for immigration justice in Berks Co. Oct. 21

Bishop Peggy Johnson will lead immigration justice advocates from our conference and other religious groups when they gather for another prayer and protest vigil outside the Berks County Residential Center in Leesport (1040 Berks Road), near Reading, on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 3:30 PM. Immigrant adults and children are being detained there while awaiting judicial decisions on their appeals for asylum and safety from dangerous conditions in their homelands. Learn more... (Download the event flyer.)

UM Men's Annual Meeting, Oct. 27

Eastern PA Conference's Men will hold their annual membership meeting on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 pm, at Evansburg UMC (3871 Germantown Pike, Collegeville).

Changing Racism Workshop, Oct. 26-28

The next Changing Racism weekend training will be held Oct. 26-28, at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern (1 Liberty Blvd Malvern). Participants will learn concrete strategies for changing attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate bias and other obstacles to equity and recognizing institutional racism and other forms of systemic oppression.

This workshop will be led by an interracial team from Visions, Inc. For more information on Visions, Inc. visit their website: visions-inc.org. 2 Continuing Education Units are awarded upon completion of the training and this satisfies the requirement for Healing the Wounds of Racism. Learn more

Don't miss our 2018 Faith-Sharing Seminar Nov. 10!

Sharing Faith with New People and Younger People in Today's Context

When: November 10
, Saturday, 8:30 AM - 3 PM
Where: Hopewell UMC, 852 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA
Who (Presenter): The Rev. Jasmine Smothers , Lead pastor: Atlanta First UMC, Atlanta, GA

The Rev. Jasmine Rose Smothers became the first female, African-American appointed and the youngest lead pastor of historic First Atlanta First UMC. She serves her church, conference and community as an ordained elder, preacher, teacher, church consultant, leadership coach, author, community advocate and self-proclaimed "technology geek."

She has participated on many task forces on Ministry with You ng People, contributed to several publications and is the co-author of the best-selling book,
Not Safe For Church: The Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations.

Are you ready to be the congregation that is Not Safe for Church and that connects with new people in new and meaningful ways? Congregations must start engaging in new practices that push beyond their comfort zones. This groundbreaking book shares 10 ways for moving out of your comfort zone to engage new generations and see your community with new eyes.
Native American Worship Service, Nov. 18

Join the Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) for their fall worship, information and fellowship gathering    Sunday, Nov. 18, at 4 PM, at Camp Innabah, 9712 Pughtown Road, Spring City.

The Rev Dennis Keen, pastor of Nantmeal UMC, will share his experience visiting Dupree School in South Dakota, which Nantmeal has been supporting for years.  A light meal will be included after the presentation.  Please RSVP to fanderson@epaumc.org
Domestic Violence: The Faith Community Responds, Nov. 17

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month--a timely call for more public awareness that is still direly needed in society and particularly in the church. The church is where many victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault turn. But too often they are turned off or turned away by insensitive, confused or ignorant responses by clergy and laity. Many leave and vow to never return.
The Eastern PA Conference's new Domestic Violence Committee will sponsor a learning and advocacy seminar on Saturday, Nov. 17, at West Lawn UMC in Reading, from 9 AM to 2 PM. The Rev. Lydia Mulkey from FaithTrust Institute will keynote the event and teach a workshop. Her agency is a leading source of education about domestic violence and how clergy and churches should respond to this widespread, life-taking, family-destroying scourge on our society.

We now have a new Domestic Violence Response webpage, with links to information about this important event and access to registration for it, plus previous articles and resources. We invite you to print and share the new flyer and bulletin insert:
Also, read and use the UMC Board of Church and Society's new curriculum,  Hidden in Plain Sight: A Call to End Domestic Violence."  This study is designed to give adult education classes, church Bible studies, campus ministries and other small groups the tools to reflect on what the Bible and The United Methodist Church have to say about domestic violence. Learn more...
2nd NEJ 'reCall Summit' to address racism
The second Northeastern Jurisdictional reCall Summit to address issues of racism in conferences across the jurisdiction will happen Oct. 26-27, hosted again by the Baltimore-Washington Conference. The  event  will be at the DoubleTree Hotel by the BWI -Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The annual reCall Summit  is prompted by the Call to Action on Racial Justice, issued by the NEJ at its 2016 Jurisdictional Conference. It asks all conferences and churches to create systemic and fundamental change to address ongoing racial concerns. Keynote speakers are Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine, and Rev. Marvin McMickle, a leading religious and human rights leader and president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY.
3 local churches to host youth ministry leadership
training events

Anyone who works with youth in the church and/or community is invited to attend free training events for youth ministry workers at three Eastern PA Conference churches in November. Pastor, college professor and veteran youth ministry leader David Burke, who coordinates the Peninsula-Delaware Conference's annual Youth Rally in Ocean City, will share "30 Things I Have Learned in 30 Years."  

The training and equipping events will be humorous yet informative and challenging, providing "tricks of the trade" and other "stuff that works" to have a relevant youth ministry for all ages. All three events, from 7 to 8:30 PM, will include an hour of training and a question and answer session. The locations are:
  • Nov. 5:  East Stroudsburg UMC, 83 S. Courtland St, East Stroudsburg.
  • Nov. 8: Bethel Hill UMC, 2000 Bethel Rd., Lansdale.
  • Nov.12: Bethany UMC, 1208 Brookside Rd., Wescosville (Allentown)
These events are intended to help promote the Pen-Del Youth Rally to Eastern PA Conference youth ministry leaders. For more information call 302-363-2997. Download and share the event flyer.
Why People Don't Leave Your Church a Legacy Gift

Jack Brooks, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation, will explore the motivation of today's donors who plan legacy gifts, how a church supports them during that journey, and also the top reasons why donors change planned gifts or never even consider them in the first place. Attend this informative stewardship discussion Nov.  8, at 6:30 to 8:30 PM (or come for dinner first at 5:30) at Holy Cross UMC's Reading Campus, 329 N 5th St, Reading. The Rev. Kent Kroehler, Stewardship Chair of the Mid Atlantic United Methodist Foundation, will offer devotions.  Register today.
Bishop Johnson's schedule of spring town hall meetings

Bishop Peggy Johnson will hold special town hall meetings on the four districts in March 2019, to address legislation enacted at the 2019 Special Called General Conference in February. Please save these dates now:
  • Mon. March 25, 2019 - 6:30 pm - East District
  • Tue. March 26, 2019 - 6:30 pm - North District
  • Wed. March 27, 2019 - 6:30 pm - South District
  • Thu. March 28, 2019 - 6:30 pm - West District
Locations will be announced later.
revitup! An Event for Young Clergy!
"Revitup! For a Lifetime in Ministry" is an annual event hosted by Wespath Benefits and Investments for clergy under the age of 39. Young adult clergy are invited to this year's event Nov. 12-14, at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front Hotel in Pensacola Beach, Fla., where they can:
  • Strengthen personal, financial and leadership skills that can improve their life and sustain their ministry
  • Network with other young clergy from across the denomination
  • Participate in one-on-one consultations with class instructors/field experts (benefits consultants, pastoral counselors, financial planners, tax consultants, wills and estate planning experts, and more!)
  • Go home with practical new ideas, resources and knowledge
Scholarships are available to help send young, first-time attendees. And complimentary childcare is offered, too. For more information visit the Wespath website or contact Renee Smith-Edmondson at RSmith-Edmondson@wespath.org, 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4273.
Gretna Glen Camp & Retreat Center Fall Events 

UMC Confirmation Camp: Oct. 12-14  
The weekend (Friday 7 PM - Sunday 1:30 PM)  church Confirmation class in Gretna Glen's awesome autumn setting focuses on the five vows of affirmation: prayer, witness, gifts, service, and presence. Each vow comes alive as confirmands participate in hands-on activities, discussions, and reflections that help draw connections from the act of confirmation as the start of a full time life of faith. Confirmation Camp Page & Registration. Confirmation Camp Brochure 

Actively Discovering Human Diversity: Oct. 21-14
Friday 7 PM to Sunday 2 PM. Youth in grades 8-12 will experience diversity in foods, games, worship, ideas, culture, etc. Space is limited to 24 youth and adults who will stay in the camp's Chalet.  Cost is $95 with available scholarship help if needed.   Register online here. Contact Carlen Blackstone at  blackstonec@verizon.net or Dave Piltz at  dpiltz@epaumc.org for more information.

Free Youth Nights: Oct. 21 & Nov. 18
4 - 6:30 PM   Gretna Glen supports local church youth ministries by welcoming middle school and high school youth on third Sundays throughout the school year for a fun evening of activities, faith building and snacks at no cost. The agenda may include games, archery, boating, fishing, Ga-Ga Ball, 9-Square, basketball and field sports-all leading to evening worship with a special message or presentation.  Learn more...  
Cancer Care Ministry: 'The Great Need'  
You are invited to attend a free Cancer Awareness Event  Saturday, Oct. 13, 1 to 3 PM at Grove UMC, 490 W. Boot Road, West Chester, PA. You will learn:
  • Why a Cancer Care Ministry is needed
  • Cancer facts and figures
  • Information on some common cancer types
Our keynote presenter: The Rev. Percy W. McCray Jr., National Director Spiritual/Faith-based Programs, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global, Inc. Register by email to ourjourneyofhope@grovechurch.org or call Grove UMC's Church Office, 610-696-2663.  This event can benefit:
  • Churches considering a Cancer Care Ministry.
  • Community groups.
  • Cancer patients and survivors.
  • Caregivers, loved ones and friends.
The Rev. Lin George , associate pastor of event sponsor Grove UMC, says:
A little over a year ago, I sensed the call to start a cancer care ministry at Grove Church where I serve as Associate Pastor. I went to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia and received two days of intensive training about cancer and how to start a ministry to serve persons going through cancer and their serve loved ones.

I was positively impressed in many ways during the training. When I returned to Grove UMC I asked if anyone would be interested in being part of this ministry. To date, 27 parishioners have committed themselves to this new ministry.

We are launching our new ministry by offering a Cancer Awareness Event to the public. The keynote presenter is Rev. Percy McCray Jr., National Director Spiritual/Faith-based Programs, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global, Inc. I am personally inviting fellow clergy because I believe that some of you may want to learn how your church can start a cancer care ministry.

Please feel free to share this invitation with your congregation and with others whom you think may be interested. If your congregation is in the West Chester/Exton/Downingtown area feel free to invite persons who may wish to be served by this ministry of friendship, assistance, encouragement and hope.
At the end of the presentation, there will be an opportunity to sign up to request service or more information about starting a cancer care ministry at your church.

There are several reasons someone may wish to attend:
1. Personal: You or someone you love is battling cancer, or you are a caregiver, family member or friend of someone battling cancer.
2. You are interested in starting a Cancer Care Ministry at your church.
3. You are interested in learning more about cancer.
We expect a significant number of attendees that day; and we will have limited seating available. So, please register soon.

Christmas Cards for prison inmates ministry resumes
Nov. 5 deadline   

It's that special time of the year again. The Eastern PA Conference Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice (PMRJ) Team is asking church and conference members and friends to download, print and sign its online selection of Christmas greeting cards to be delivered and shared, in an act of Christian love, with thousands of prison inmates across our region. The deadline for cards to be delivered to the Conference Office or to District offices is Monday, Nov. 5.

The Christmas Cards for Inmates Project has grown each year. Last December nearly 9,500 Christmas cards were, in the words of a popular song, "signed, sealed, delivered," mostly to recipients in 11 of our region's county and state correctional facilities. That total exceeded the roughly 8,000 signed cards collected in 2016.

All it takes to succeed each year is for more people to pen a few caring words and sign their names to simple, photocopied greeting cards . The cards are carefully designed and vetted, bearing modest but meaningful messages of Christmas hope and joy. They inspire in many inmates grace and gratitude, emotions perhaps rarely felt living in a penal institution.

Visit the
Prison Ministry & Restorative Justice webpage and find the downloadable cards and instructions. It is a perfect way to remember the true reason for the Christmas season. Also view the UMCom video about this ministry produced in 2016:  Church Christmas Cards Show Care to Prisoners | View on YouTube 
Note: Inmate mail screening and delivery restrictions were recently imposed at PA state prisons after employees were exposed to dangerous drugs and other unknown substances through the mail. The PMRJ Team is working with prison authorities to continue bulk delivery of our Christmas cards to state and county institutions in November.

West District to host Energize Your Worship

The West District Resource Team will sponsor Energize Your Worship, a workshop with adLIB Music, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 AM to 12:30 PM (with light continental breakfast included), at Cornwall UMC, 50 Freeman Drive, Lebanon, PA (GPS address). The training event is for pastors, choir and worship leaders, instrumentalists and persons who design liturgical, audio-visual and other artistic aspects of worship. Offering ideas for any church size and all worship styles.

This event will be open for public registration Sept. 15 until Oct. 15. But limited space is available.   Register today to ensure a seat. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Learn more about cost, etc.

Are there ways that you would like to enhance and energize your worship services? Are you struggling to make rehearsals effective, efficient and more spiritually focused?  This interactive workshop will allow worship teams, pastors and tech support crews to develop new skills and approaches to the planning, rehearsing and leading of worship services. The experts from adLIB Music will provide training that is experiential and interactive with discussion, plus provide materials and plans to use in any church. Downloadable flyer.

Event to help clergy serve veterans' mental health needs

An upcoming event to improve mental health service to veterans is open to participation by our clergy

The VA Community Clergy Training Program, which resources the faith community in service to military veterans, will meet in the Philadelphia area Dec. 3-4. This is a free, interactive training at Cranaleith Spiritual Center with breakfast and lunch paid for by the Episcopal Diocese of Philadelphia. The center, at 13475 Proctor Road, Philadelphia, will cosponsor the training with the National VA Chaplain Center. Contact hours will be offered for completing this training. Registration is limited to 50 participants and ends Nov. 26. Register online now. 


Many Veterans and their family members seek help for their problems from clergy because they feel the faith community can provide anonymity, confidentiality and a stigma-free environment. Yet clergy members sometimes have limited knowledge about readjustment difficulties and the unique health issues such as post-traumatic stress, or depression common to returning warriors. This event can help prepare you to support them.
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Please add our  Communications Office to your church newsletter's digital and/or print mailing lists. We find much of our news in church newsletters (when we find time to read them), and we try to report local church news and events as much as possible. (We also love seeing Conference news reported in your newsletters. Thanks!) However, we want to receive only your church newsletters please, not other e-mailed church announcements. Thanks!
Update your Find-A-Church profile
Developed by United Methodist Communications, Find-A-Church helps your church connect with people who may be looking online for a church to provide worship, fellowship, spiritual nurture and other needs. If your church has a Website, having a church page in Find-A-Church doubles your local visibility to reach people searching by city, town or zip code. It is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States and  one of the most visited sections of UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. You'll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church's information. For video instructions on how, visit Video Tutorial: Find-A-Church Overview
Missed any past issues of NEWSpirit Digest?
You can still read or share informative, colorful back issues of our weekly e-newsletter on the Eastern PA Conference Website at www.epaumc.org/news-events/newspirit-digestShare this link with others who might want to stay informed about our news, events, resources and concerns. And please encourage them to subscribe by e-mailing communications@epaumc.org. Thanks!
Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church
(800) 828-9093 |  communications@epaumc.org  |  www.epaumc.org
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