E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 20, 2019

Movie Group Tonight, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Readings, Unity School Soup Fundraiser, and more in the E-Newsletter for January 20, 2019  https://mailchi.mp/3d0806559cec/ey7eu7o5mr-1439337

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Over these past couple months, we have seen an increase in the number of parishioners in hospice care and funerals. I know that many of you have lost a friend or loved one during this time. I also know you join me in keeping all the departed, along with the bereaved, in your prayers.

As I have worked with families in planning out funeral liturgies, I have been reminded of the great gift it is to plan your funeral out in advance. I have a file of around a dozen pre-planned funerals for various parishioners of St. John's. They are of varying states of age and I'm beginning to contact those who have plans on file so that they may review and update them, as needed.

I would encourage you, as we all continue to pray for those who have died and those who are grieving, to take some time in the next few weeks and consider filling out your own funeral form in advance. Our funeral packet is very fulsome with guidelines, suggestions, and helpful information so that you may fully convey your own desires. You can download it online here. The funeral form itself is an editable pdf, so you can type directly into it. 

One of the great gifts of the Anglican tradition of liturgy is that our funerals are magnificent and yet restrained. They hold the balance of bringing the richness of the church's liturgy to bear on a moment of grief while also not being ostentatious or saccharine. Whether a funeral is of a beloved long-time parishioner or of someone who was only ever tangentially related to our community, we bring the same liturgy, the same intentionality, and the same devotion to our prayers for their passage into the arms of God.

Thank you to all of those who have been present during this time in the life of our congregation. Our pastoral caregivers, particularly our Stephen Ministers and Eucharistic Visitors, along with the added pastoral support of priest associates Fr. Kenneth Michnay and Fr. John Hills, have all been a rich resource. And so many of our worship ministers have gone above and beyond in being willing to serve in these liturgies.

With some still on hospice, there will be more funerals to come in the next months. I trust you will pray with me that God will continue to hold the dying in in love—and that we will continue to commend them to God with the best our community has to honor.

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 20, 2019   https://mailchi.mp/3d0806559cec/ey7eu7o5mr-1439337

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 13, 2019

Help During the Government Shutdown, Annual Meeting Packet, Special Youth Event and more in the E-Newsletter for January 13, 2019  https://mailchi.mp/6b4d0ca47ef6/ey7eu7o5mr-1436185

From Aspirant to the Sacred Order of Priests
Ms. Alicia Hager
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Grand Haven has been a Coast Guard City since 1998, but as I wrote in my updated parish history, The Church on the Hill, the Coast Guard has actually been an active and life saving force for those in peril on our waterways since 1924. 

Local Coast Guard families are at risk right now because they are not receiving pay during the government shutdown, which is now entering its third week. Friday, January 11 marked the first paycheck that was not received by approximately 800,000 families. SJE has long been a beacon of hope, living into its Church on the Hill name through our many outreach ministries. On Monday we would like to remind Grand Haven that SJE wants to support furloughed workers during this shut down, but we need your help. We are working to fully stock our food pantry, and we are asking for your donations. 

This Sunday can we fill our food pantry basket many times over? Please bring in low sodium soups and sauces, pastas, whole wheat bread and buns, lean meats, canned meats, peanut butter and jelly, and canned fruit packed in water. Toilet paper, laundry soap, dish soap, diapers and wipes in all sizes, and personal hygiene products, as well as medicines like Tylenol and cold medicine are also appreciated. If you aren't able to shop for these things in the next few days please consider instead making a donation to Fr. Jared's discretionary fund. This fund is used to pay bills for people in need and is very low right now. The people who will come to us for help need more than pasta and shampoo, they also need to keep the lights and the heat on during this cold winter weather. 

Every year we gather on our front lawn on Coast Guard Saturday after we've had sung Morning Prayer and given thanks for the continued safety of those who serve. We set up our lawn chairs or our blankets and as a parish family we eat and laugh and cheer our way through the time honored tradition of the Coast Guard parade. These families need our help. Each Sunday the smallest among us proudly carry to the altar cans of soup and rolls of paper towel, let us make this Sunday the first time that they simply cannot carry all of the love that SJE is willing to pour out on our Coast Guard families. 

I remain yours in love and sincerity, 

Aspirant to the Sacred Order of Priests 

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren's shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

.

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 13, 2019   https://mailchi.mp/6b4d0ca47ef6/ey7eu7o5mr-1436185

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany, Soup’s On, Midweek EM’s Needed, and more in the E-Newsletter for January 6, 2019  https://mailchi.mp/b5e009bb55c6/ey7eu7o5mr-1435009

From the UNITY School Ministry Team Leader
Susan Morriss
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Soup’s on! 

Sunday, January 27th, the date of our Annual Meeting will also be our first-ever Soup Sale to benefit the UNITY School in Uganda! Let me tell you how this will work… 

First, on any Sunday in January (6, 13, or 20), pick up a plastic bag (or several!) from the pew outside of the Nave doors. It will contain a one-quart plastic soup container and a labeling card.  

Next, make a batch of soup during the week.  Wash the soup container with hot soapy water, dry with paper towel, and fill it with one quart of your soup. Put it in your freezer.  

Lastly, on Sunday, January 27th complete the label that came with the container; bring both soup and label to church, and drop them off in Timberlake Hall.  We will add some fresh rolls to your soup extraordinaire, and set them out for sale. After church, buy someone else’s frozen soup and fresh rolls, only $10!  All proceeds will be going to the Building Fund at the UNITY School.

In Christ,
Susan Morriss

PS: Don't forget this Sunday being January 6 means it is also the celebration of the Epiphany! That means there will be special harpsichord music at the 8:30am liturgy and the 10:00am service will be a Solemn Eucharist (sung with incense). The Spanish service will also feature incense. After all, one of the three gifts of the Magi was Frankincense! Curious about the use of incense at SJE? Click here to find out more.

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, January 6, 2019   https://mailchi.mp/b5e009bb55c6/ey7eu7o5mr-1435009

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 30, 2018

St. John’s Day, Statue Blessing, Nancy Dykehouse Funeral and more in the E-Newsletter for December 30, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/690e29d04357/ey7eu7o5mr-1433513

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

One of the most important days to celebrate as a parish is the celebration of your Patronal Feast.

Our parish's patron, St. John the Apostle & Evangelist, has his feast day each year on December 27. That means that today is actually his feast day. However, to enable the entire parish to celebrate a patronal feast, the prayer book allows for it to be transferred to the following Sunday.

So, this Sunday, December 30, we will be celebrating our Patronal Feast of St. John. We'll have the readings appointed for that day and together celebrate the way St. John's legacy influences our own sense of mission and identity. As it is the first Sunday in the Christmas Season, it will also be our Christmastide Mustard Seed Sunday—with the sermon being offered from the chancel steps and children invited to join in the Gospel Procession and also at the altar for Holy Communion. 

I am particularly excited about this year's celebration of St. John's Day, because after the 10:00am liturgy we will be dedicating and blessing the new statue of St. John which stands in our rotunda, a generous gift from Chuck & Betty Wibert. The statue was made in Paris in 1875 and held its place in Cathedrals in both Paris and Belgium before it was brought to our church this summer. 

Following the dedication, we'll have our annual St. John's Day reception in the Parish Hall. You are invited to bring any left-over holiday snacks, food, or treats with you to share with your fellow parishioners as we celebrate together our history and our future. 

Through Grace,

PS: This Friday, before St. John's Day, we will gather to say goodbye to beloved St. John's parishioner Nancy Dykehouse. Nancy was married to her husband, Richard, here at St. John's in 1954. She spent much of her life active at Christ Community Church, including nine years as a Stephen Minister. Since 2010, she came home to St. John's and was an active part of our parish. We will miss her dearly. Her funeral will be on Friday at 11:00am, with a visitation preceding at 10:00am and a reception following at Noon. The family has asked that memorial contributions be made to the Music & Fine Arts Endowment.

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 30, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/690e29d04357/ey7eu7o5mr-1433513

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tonight Movie Group, Sunday Greening of the Church & Christmas Pageant and more in the E-Newsletter for December 23, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/9f1877a8cb76/ey7eu7o5mr-1431073

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

One of the first people to reach out to me nine years ago, when I was first issued the call to come to St. John's, was one of your former rectors: the Rev. John B. Hills. 

Father Hills sent me a note card, offering his congratulations on my call and his well wishes for my rectorate. Later, in my first months, he sent me another note card and included with it the original name-plate from the old organ. He had been using it as a paperweight for many years and he said he believed it was time it returned to the desk of the rector of the parish.

Over the years, I came to delight in the occasional notes from Father Hills. They were always warm, friendly, and encouraging. I began spending time with him from time to time, when I was in Grand Rapids where he lived. He became a trusted source for me on the deeper history and ethos of the parish in those early years when we were all still getting to know one another better.

As many of you know, Father Hills moved back to Grand Haven several years ago now and, with the bishop's permission, began once more worshipping with us from time to time. Over the past couple of years, his presence has become more regular and he has once more become a deeply committed member of this parish community.

I had always told Father Hills that if he wished to return to active priestly ministry as well, I would be eager to be a support to him. It gave me great joy earlier this year when he told me his own sense of calling to the ministry of the priesthood had indeed reawakened within him. After a meeting with the bishop, permission was given for him to offer priestly ministry here at St. John's. 

With the advice and support of the Vestry of the Parish, it is now my tremendous delight to announce to you that Father John Hills has been named a Priest Associate of St. John's Episcopal Church. In this role, Father Hills has graciously offered to volunteer his time serving in pastoral ministry, as an additional priest to visit those in our Pastoral Care list at St. John's. He has begun attending our Pastoral Care Team meetings on a monthly basis, so as to coordinate his own care with that offered by me, our Stephen Ministers, and our Eucharistic Visitors. His willingness to do this is on a volunteer basis.

It will be a true blessing to our parish now to have two Priest Associates on staff here at St. John's, with Father Hills complementing the wonderful ministry of Fr. Michnay at the altar and in teaching when I am out of town. 

Please join me in thanking Father Hills for offering himself to this ministry. 

Through Grace,

PS: Remember this Sunday is our annual Greening of the Church at 11:30am! We'll even have a special guest: St.  Nicholas himself—the bishop of Myra upon whom Santa Claus is based. While we green the church, the choir will sing and kids of all ages will be invited to get a picture with good old St. Nick!!

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 23, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/9f1877a8cb76/ey7eu7o5mr-1431073

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 16, 2018

Thursday Coffee & Donuts, Christmas Flowers & Music, End-of-Year Giving and more in the E-Newsletter for December 16, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/6fb2d9bb370d/ey7eu7o5mr-1427425

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

For many members of our parish, our Loving Spoonfuls meal program is one of the ministries of which they are the most proud. 

Each week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, we provide a hot meal to between 40-50 people. The meal could not happen without the dedicated work of our amazing kitchen managers who organize each meal, led by Parish Administrator, Cindi Sanders. (We still need one or two more people to serve as kitchen managers on Wednesday night—please consider e-mailing Cindi for more information).

Well, a new ministry has started this month, inspired by Loving Spoonfuls. During the winter months (from December until early April), an anonymous parishioner is organizing Thursday Morning Coffee & Donuts! His goal is to provide a warm space for our Loving Spoonful guests who are homeless to get out of the weather—and a space for anyone who could use some conversation and a warm cup of coffee. 

We're working with a few area companies who will be donating the donuts. We'll make the coffee here at church. If you would be interested in serving as a host along with the organizer, please contact Cindi for more information. The time will be open from 7:30am-9:00am. Whether or not you'd like to serve regularly, feel free to stop by and spend some time with those who come.

A warm space. A table at which everyone is welcome. Something to eat and something to drink.

Sounds like a sacrament to me—a visible means of God's invisible grace. Thanks to the parishioner who thought this up… and to this community which encourages such amazing acts of love. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 16, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/6fb2d9bb370d/ey7eu7o5mr-1427425

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 2, 2018

Mustard Seed Sunday, Advent Choral Evensong, Vestry Nominations Open and more in the E-Newsletter for December 2, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/2f01da244832/ey7eu7o5mr-1425241

From the Sr. Warden
Ms. Cathryn Marshall
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

I have had the honor and privilege of serving as your Senior Warden this year.

Yes, serving on Vestry is an honor and a privilege – it's not boring, it's not scary, and it's not something to be dreaded.  It's challenging, to be sure – we do have to make some tough decisions sometimes. But we also form deep connections with one another as we pray, and discuss, and wrestle with issues  together.  I have learned what people are passionate about, and what people struggle with.  I have even witnessed a Vestry member who was brave enough to vote in opposition to everyone else in the room, and was further brave enough to speak to us about why he was voting that way, and in fact, persuaded us to reconsider.

So if someone approaches you to ask if you would be willing to serve, please don't automatically say no. I would ask that you instead take some time to think about it, pray about it, and perhaps ask questions. Anyone who has served on Vestry would be glad to talk to you about the experience; and I am willing to bet you would hear mostly positive things about it. 

You should know that if someone asks if you are willing to serve, it's because we think you have the right stuff – and we want to work with you, and get to know you better.  And we believe that you have something unique to bring to the table. You may think that Jared would love to have a room full of "yes men" on the Vestry, but that is absolutely not the case!  After all, a Vestry filled with folks who have different perspectives actually functions better and is a better representation of the people of this congregation.

So please be open-minded about the possibility. Serving on Vestry is truly a rich and rewarding experience.

Yours in Christ,

The 2019 Vestry nomination forms are at the Parish Information Table. You may also submit someone as a candidate for Vestry online here

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 2, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/2f01da244832/ey7eu7o5mr-1425241

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving, Fall Cleanup Day, Signup for our Annual Advent Wreath Workshop and more in the E-Newsletter for November 25, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/a9e92c0106f0/ey7eu7o5mr-1422185

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

When I first started in seminary, I remember being struck by how interesting the word is that Episcopalians use for Communion. Holy Eucharist, actually comes from the Greek word for Thanksgiving. 

That's why in our prayer book, when the dialogue begins between the priest and people ("Lift up your hearts / We lift them up unto the Lord."), that moment is called the Great Thanksgiving. At the core of Holy Communion is our own profound sense of gratitude for all the ways God has worked throughout history and in our own lives to bring us grace, love, and forgiveness.

But the Great Thanksgiving that is Holy Eucharist is much more than just a feeling of gratitude. It is an offering of gratitude. In the words of the prayer book, it is our sacrifice,

Q. Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?

A. Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself. (BCP 859)

Each Sunday, when we come to the altar, we offer our own sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God. We come with gratitude for the blessings of God, and offer that up to God in words of praise and thanksgiving.

But it's more than that. It's not just a feeling. It's also not just words. One of my favorite lines in any Eucharistic Prayer in the prayer book is in Rite I (the traditional language Rite we use at St. John's during the coming Season of Advent). In that rite, the priest says, 

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him. (BCP 336)

That is, we offer our own souls and bodies to God in the Great Thanksgiving as well. We do not come to church only asking what we can receive. Rather, encountering the unexpected grace of God in Jesus Christ, we offer our souls and bodies up to that grace. 

And in that offering, something very holy happens. Because as both the Catechism and the Eucharistic Prayer I mentioned note, our own sacrifices—our sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, of our souls and bodies—those are joined with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

And through that, we are made one with him once more. This is the manner in which the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist strengthens us for service, the way it propels us out into the world to be the hands and feet of Christ. 

As you enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations today, I hope you take a moment to ponder the invitation that is Holy Communion. Take a moment and think of how all the gratitude you feel today can be offered up to God, how that gratitude can inspire you to offer yourself even more fully to the work of God in this world. 

And then on Sunday, when you next come to the holy altar and receive the Body and Blood, be reminded that this sacrament is enabling you to be broken and shared for the world… a world that so desperately needs to hear of God's love and justice. 

I'm grateful for you, St. John's. Thank you for teaching me how to give ever more of myself in Christ's service. May we continue to join ourselves together in this great sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 25, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/a9e92c0106f0/ey7eu7o5mr-1422185

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 18, 2018

Movie Group Tonight, SAVVY & Fall Follies Saturday Night and more in the E-Newsletter for November 18, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/d7e137376a7f/ey7eu7o5mr-1420445

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Perhaps one of my favorite experiences of the Fall Follies was in the first year.

We had never done a parish talent show since I had been at St. John's and so I didn't know what to expect. The first act was announced and promptly Will Dickinson got onto a unicycle and rode it around the food table while singing, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." (There is even a video of it online….)

We probably could have stopped there, it was so spectacular.

Or maybe it was, I think, the year after that, when Kelly Ortquist did an absolutely spot-on rendition of "Poor, Unfortunate, Souls" from the Little Mermaid. She could have stepped right off of a broadway stage and into our parish, had I not known she was a parishioner! 

Or maybe it was the following year, when Brian Meeuwenberg (assisted by his dad) did an entire rap from Hamilton… did I mention that Brian was, I think, six years old when he did this? (There's a video of this one too…)

Suffice it to say, the Fall Follies is always a tremendously fun night of food, fellowship, and fun. There are people who sing, dance, recite poetry, or offer talents we had not yet considered possible. Apparently my own daughter, Lucy, will be performing with some other children in our family this year. That pretty much guarantees that whatever I do will absolutely not be the show-stopper!

If  you haven't signed up for the Fall Follies, do not despair! Just show up this Saturday night, November 17, at 5:30pm, in the Timberlake Hall. Bring a dish to pass and a (non-alcoholic) drink to share. If you haven't yet signed up to perform, you can do it when you get here. And even if you are not the performing type, I guarantee you will smile ear-to-ear at least a few times as you are entertained by your fellow parishioners. 

At the very least, you'll be entertained watching your priest get upstaged by his own daughter for what will probably not be the first time! 

See you Saturday!

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 18, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/d7e137376a7f/ey7eu7o5mr-1420445

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E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran’s Day, Kitchen Manager Needed, Movie Night and more in the E-Newsletter for November 11, 2018  https://mailchi.mp/00297493e740/ey7eu7o5mr-1419393

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 

Dear *|FNAME|*,

One hundred years ago this Sunday, on Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended. The fighting ended at 11:00am Paris time, “the eleventh hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.”

This day is often observed in other parts of the world as Armistice Day. In the United States, the observance moved to the second Monday of November and is the holiday we now know as Veterans' Day, a day to honor all those who have served in our nation's armed forces. 

But if you reach back through time to the Armistice Day origins, it sets everything in an important context—that the striving of our Veterans is a striving for greater peace in the world. That is why we celebrate them on the day that they achieved peace after four years of bloody conflict. 

The inside of the bulletin this Sunday has some helpful background information about World War I, a war whose history has been overshadowed by that of World War II and the other conflicts of the twentieth century:

On June 28, 1914, in the town of Sarajevo, Serbia, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, Princes Sophia, were shot to death by a Serbian nationalist. Their assassinations were the catalyst that led to a world war that involved most of Europe and parts of the Near East as the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey—squared off against an allied coalition that included Great Britain, France, Russia and Italy.

America avoided entering the conflict for almost three years, but on Good Friday, April 6, 1917, the U.S. Congress, at the request of President Woodrow Wilson, officially declared war on Germany. America’s time in combat, when compared to the rest of the allied forces, would be relatively short: on June 26 the first of 14,000 U.S. infantry troops landed in France to begin training and it wasn’t until November of 1917that American soldiers were sent to the front lines where on Nov. 2 the first Americans were killed.

On Nov. 10 the following year, 1918, the U.S. State Department announced that Germany had agreed to an armistice that would take effect three hours later. The war was over. Because the ceasefire was prearranged it was known in advance that the fighting would end that day. The Germans signed the agreement at midnight Nov. 11 Paris time (7 p.m. Nov. 10 Eastern Standard Time), but because their window of opportunity didn not close until 11 a.m. Paris time it was decreed that fighting wouldn’t end until then and in the intervening 11 hours thousands of soldiers died for nothing. Army Pvt. Henry Gunther of the 79th Division was killed at 10:59 a.m., a minute before the Armistice took effect. He was the last American killed in World War I.

As many as 4.7 million Americans served in the military during World War I. In that time 116,516 Americans died. Of these, 63,114 died from disease, overwhelmingly from the Spanish Influenza, while 53,402 were killed while fighting and 204,000 were wounded. 

It is tradition at the 11am hour on November 11th to recognize the armistice which ended that first world war. That time just happens to be around the time we finish taking communion at the 10:00am liturgy. So, this Sunday, having been nourished by the body and blood of our Lord, before we turn to the Postcommunion Prayer we will have a moment of silence in honor of all those who died in the cause of peace and then pray together a prayer to mark the 100th anniversary of this event. 

Please join as as we remember the peace that was found one hundred years ago this Sunday. And may you and I continue to strive for that peace in our world today. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, November 11, 2018   https://mailchi.mp/00297493e740/ey7eu7o5mr-1419393

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