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Evangelical Presbyterian Church Meets In Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Record Assembly to consider new presbytery and approve a revised Book of Government,

Livonia, Mich. – June 12th, 2013 –The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) will meet June 18-22 in Denver, CO at Cherry Hills Community Church for its 33rd General Assembly. General Assemblies are the annual gatherings of the EPC, where church representatives vote on committee recommendations and reports, vote on presbytery overtures, and conduct other business of the denomination. There are also workshops and times of worship and prayer available during the 4-1/2 day gathering. The theme of this year’s Assembly is “In Christ Alone,” taken from John 14.6.

This year’s agenda includes:

  • A vote to form the Great Plains Presbytery in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • A vote to approve a revised Book of Government. The revisions produce a more consistent use of language and formatting changes. The revisions do not represent significant changes in polity.
  • A vote to grant commission authority to the Committee on Administration to determine whether the EPC Medical Plan should be retained, revised, outsourced, or terminated.
  • A vote to approve a revised and updated Position Paper on Abortion.
  • A vote to enter into a fraternal agreement with the Evangelical Reformed Church of Kazakhstan (ERCK).
  • The election of Bill Dudley, senior pastor of Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, TN as Moderator.
  • Welcome Phil Van Valkenberg as the new, and first, Chief Operating Officer of the EPC.

Wednesday’s workshop speakers include Mark Mittelberg, author of “Becoming a Contagious Church”, Dr. Nancy Grisham, author of “Thriving”, and Garry Poole, author of “Seeker Small Groups”. Wednesday’s workshop will also include an exclusive taped presentation by “The Case for Christ” author Lee Strobel. Preaching at several worship services during the week are Dr. Greg Livingstone, former senator Bill Armstrong, current Moderator Ken Roberts, host church pastor Jim Dixon, and Jim Noble.

This is a record-setting General Assembly for the EPC. More than 1100 people from around the world will gather in Denver, including 620 voting commissioners and 35 exhibitors. The General Assembly will also have an international flavor to it. In attendance will be more than 60 EPC missionaries, 50% more than last year, and fraternal guests from Reformed bodies in Argentina, Brazil, India, and Kazakhstan.

The Twitter hash tag for this year’s Assembly will be #EPC33.This will also be the first year the EPC has used live streaming technology to broadcast its business sessions and worship services. The link for the webcast is at http://www.EPC.org/2013GA-Documents-Webcast/

More than 140,000 people attend more than 460 EPC churches in the United States and the Bahamas. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

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Evangelical Presbyterian Church Joins Stormans et al v. Selecky et al Amicus

Denomination joins others in supporting religious freedom denied in Affordable Care Act

Livonia, Mich. – November 28, 2012 –By the action of its Committee on Administration (COA) on November 21, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church joined other religious organizations in an amicus curiae (friend of court) brief in the case of Stormans et al v. Selecky et al, a case that is being appealed to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At issue in the appeal is whether the State of Washington can force medical providers to furnish medical services and medications, in this case emergency contraceptives that may act as abortifacients, in violation of their religious beliefs. A federal court in Washington struck down the State’s regulations as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the US Constitution. The State of Washington (“Selecky et al”) is appealing this ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court. The EPC joined the amicus curiae in support of Stormans, et al, the parties that filed suit against the State’s regulations.

In its “Statement of Interest” that was paraphrased in the amicus, the EPC declared it is “interested in Stormans et al v. Selecky et al because it [the EPC] is committed to protecting freedom of conscience as it is affirmed in the Bible and Westminster Confession of Faith, the doctrinal standard of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. This tenet is included in the Constitution of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Book of Government 17-5: “The Church may make no laws to bind the conscience with respect to the interpretation of Scripture.”  On June 22, 2012 the 32nd General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church declared its affirmation of the Free Exercise clause of the Constitution of the United States, especially as the freedom of religious expression relates to abortion. Further, in response to the implementation of the Preventative Care Mandate of the Affordable Care Act, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church took the unprecedented step of declaring it “will join as amici curiae in pending or future civil actions to ensure the protection of religious freedom and rights of conscience.”  It is the position of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that the particulars in Storman et al v. Selecky et al are consistent with that of the implementation of the Preventative Care Mandate of the Affordable Care Act.”

Other religious groups joining the amicus include: National Association of Evangelicals, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, General Council of the Assemblies of God, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Queens Federation of Churches, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Anglican Church of North America, and the American Bible Society.

The motion the COA approved on November 21 read: “In keeping with the position adopted by the 32nd General Assembly, the COA approved the EPC joining an amicus brief in the case of Stormans et al v. Selecky et al. before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.” 

The COA also expressed its gratitude to attorneys RE John Graham, RE Jim Rimmel, and RE Kent Talbert. They constituted the “Lawyers Group” that did an extensive study of the amicus brief and provided expert advice to the COA as it considered the invitation.

The amicus curiae the EPC joined (46 pages) can be accessed at www.epc.org/mediafiles/brief-of-amici-curiae.pdf.

More than 130,000 people attend more than 400 EPC churches in the United States and the Bahamas. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org. To subscribe to news items, visit www.EPC.org/Welcome-to-EPNews/ and select the RSS feed.

 

Evangelical Presbyterian Church Response to 2010 Affordable Care Act

32nd General Assembly unanimously opposes insurance mandate

Livonia, Mich. – June 28, 2012 – At its 32nd General Assembly in Baton Rouge, LA from June 19th through June 23rd, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church voted unanimously to take the following position regarding the regulations put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services on February 15th, 2012 under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

 On February 15, 2012 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued final regulations under the Affordable Care Act requiring almost all new health insurance plans after August 1, 2012 to cover “all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and [related] patient education and counseling” (the “Preventive Care Mandate”). The regulations mandate health care plans provide free access to Plan B (known as the “morning-after pill”) and ella (known as the “week-after pill”) as part of “all FDA-approved contraceptive methods.” Each is an abortifacient drug. HHS classifies Plan B and ella as contraceptives.

 In a substantial departure from prior federal law, HHS’ regulations define “religious employer” narrowly to include in essence only churches and other houses of worship. As a result, many religious nonprofit organizations do not fall within the definition and accordingly will be required to provide insurance coverage for Plan B, ella, other FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures, and related education and counseling.

 The regulations apply to employers generally. Churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the mandate. However, a private company headed by a person with strongly held religious convictions and religious nonprofit organizations (or what we might refer to as para-church groups) are not exempt. Examples of such entities that are not exempt are Christian and other faith-based K-12 schools and colleges, religiously-affiliated hospitals, Gospel Rescue Missions, religious drug rehabilitation programs, prison ministries, and religious charities.

 Thus, many non-church, religious nonprofit organizations and devout owners of for-profit organizations will be forced to participate in the provision of these drugs, procedures, and services to their employees. Currently, the penalty to the employer for non-compliance will be approximately $2,000 per year per employee.

 It is the position of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church that these regulations constitute an unprecedented overreach by the federal government and an infringement upon religious liberty and rights of conscience guaranteed by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

 We acknowledge not every part of the Preventive Care Mandate offends the conscience of all believers. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, for example, does not take a stand against artificial means of contraception. However, we do profoundly object to abortion on demand (see “Position Paper on Abortion,” http://www.epc.org/about-the-epc/position-papers/abortion/). Others, like many of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, object to artificial contraception.

  1. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church encourages its members to pray fervently and humbly to our God for the protection of our religious freedoms.
  2. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church strongly and respectfully objects to this government overreach and infringement of the Free Exercise Clause. It humbly requests the Department of Health and Human Services to rescind the offending regulation.
  3. If the Department of Health and Human Services does not rescind the regulation, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church requests the United States Congress to take appropriate action to ensure the protection of religious liberty and rights of conscience.
  4. Where deemed advisable by the Committee on Administration, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church will join as amici curiae in pending or future civil actions to ensure the protection of religious freedom and rights of conscience.

More than 120,000 people attend 362 EPC churches nationwide. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

Evangelical Presbyterian Church Concludes Assembly

Assembly considered new presbytery, elected Stated Clerk, and combined ministries

Livonia, Mich. – June 29th, 2012 –The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) met June 19-23 in Baton Rouge, at First Presbyterian Church for its 32nd General Assembly. The 32nd General Assembly voted on committee recommendations and reports, voted on presbytery overtures, and conducted other business of the denomination. There were also workshops and times of worship and prayer available during the 4-1/2 day gathering.

 This year, the General Assembly voted to:

  • Consider the creation of a Great Plains Presbytery in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • Approve EduNations as an Approved Mission.
  • Combine the Student Ministries and College Ministries into a single ministry.
  • Receive the first draft of a Revised Book of Government and forward it to sessions and presbyteries for comment, corrections, additions, and other pertinent information.
  • Amend to the Book of Order the Terms of Call for pastors regarding their transfer from other Reformed bodies and the length with which called pastors may serve.
  • Allow ministers drawing retirement income from their 403(b) account to allocate up to 100% for housing expenses.
  • Expand the Board of Benefits to manage the transition to a new Benefits Director and possible changes required by new Federal health care mandates that will affect the EPC Medical Plan.
  • Separate the position of Chaplain Endorser from the chairmanship of the Chaplains Work and Care Committee.
  • Approve an overture to publicly declare opposition to the portions of the Preventive Care Mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that require religious organizations to provide abortifacient drugs, contraceptives, and surgical sterilizations; along with related education, counseling, and services. While the EPC has no position on contraception, it does profoundly object to abortion on demand. The EPC’s position on abortion can be found at www.EPC.org/About-the-EPC/Position-papers.
  • Elect Stated Clerk Dr. Rev. Jeff Jeremiah to a third term.

 Wednesday’s workshop speaker, Dr. Rev. Chris Wright, spoke on missional praise, missional living, and missional obedience among the nations. Wright is the international director of the Langham Partnership International. Thursday’s speaker is Paul Mpindi of the Christian Reformed Church.

 More than 787 people from around the world gathered in Baton Rouge. Attending this Assembly were be 452 voting commissioners and more than 40 EPC missionaries. Also attending were 10 exhibitors and official guests from other Reformed bodies, including the Presbyterian Church in America and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

 A more detailed account of the Assembly is available at http://www.epc.org/2012ga/. The Twitter stream can be found by searching for the hash tag #EPC32

 More than 125,000 people attend 362 EPC churches nationwide. This is twice as many churches as were in the EPC in 2007. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

Evangelical Presbyterian Church Meets In Baton Rouge

Assembly to consider new presbytery, elect Stated Clerk, and combine ministries

Livonia, Mich. – June 12th, 2012 –The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) will meet June 19-23 in Baton Rouge, at First Presbyterian Church for its 32nd General Assembly. General Assemblies are the annual gatherings of the EPC, where church representatives vote on committee recommendations and reports, vote on presbytery overtures, and conduct other business of the denomination. There are also workshops and times of worship and prayer available during the 4-1/2 day gathering.

 This year’s votes concern:

  • Consider the creation of a Great Plains Presbytery in the states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
  • Approve EduNations as an Approved Mission.
  • Combine the Student Ministries and College Ministries into a single ministry.
  • Receive the first draft of a Revised Book of Government and forward it to sessions and presbyteries for comment, corrections, additions, and other pertinent information.
  • Amend to the Book of Order the Terms of Call for pastors regarding their transfer from other Reformed bodies and the length with which called pastors may serve.
  • Allow ministers drawing retirement income from their 403(b) account to allocate up to 100% for housing expenses.
  • Expand the Board of Benefits to manage the transition to a new Benefits Director and possible changes required by new Federal health care mandates that will affect the EPC Medical Plan.
  • Separate the position of Chaplain Endorser from the chairmanship of the Chaplains Work and Care Committee.
  • Approve an overture to publicly declare opposition to the portions of the Preventive Care Mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that require religious organizations to provide abortifacient drugs, contraceptives, and surgical sterilizations; along with related education, counseling, and services. While the EPC has no position on contraception, it does profoundly object to abortion on demand. The EPC’s position on abortion can be found at www.EPC.org/About-the-EPC/Position-papers.
  • The nomination of Stated Clerk Dr. Rev. Jeff Jeremiah to a third term.

 Wednesday’s workshop speaker, Dr. Rev. Chris Wright, will speak on missional praise, missional living, and missional obedience among the nations. Wright is the international director of the Langham Partnership International. Thursday’s speaker is Paul Mpindi of the Christian Reformed Church.

 More than 787 people from around the world will gather in Baton Rouge. Attending this Assembly will be 456 voting commissioners and more than 40 EPC missionaries. Also attending will be 10 exhibitors and official guests from other Reformed bodies, including the Presbyterian Church in America and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

 The Twitter hash tag for this year’s Assembly will be #EPC32 instead of #32GA to prevent confusion with hash tags used by other Reformed bodies.

 More than 120,000 people attend 340 EPC churches nationwide. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

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Evangelical Presbyterian Church Meets In Denver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Dana Cadman - 734-742-2020 x243

Evangelical Presbyterian Church Meets In Denver
EPC votes on the ordination of women and expanding presbytery boundary

Livonia, Mich. – July 15, 2010 –The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) met June 23-26 in Englewood, Colorado, at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church for its 30th General Assembly. More than 800 people from around the world gathered in Denver for this year’s General Assembly to represent the denomination’s more than 285 churches and 40 missionary teams.

This year, the commissioners of the General Assembly voted to:

  • Approve a recommendation to amend the EPC Book of Government so congregations that want to call a woman Teaching Elder or endorse a female Candidate for ministry, but are part of a presbytery that would not approve a woman Teaching Elder or Candidate, can petition to become part of a neighboring presbytery that does permit the ordination of women Teaching Elders. The EPC believes that the issue of the ordination of women is not an essential of the faith. The EPC has chosen to leave this decision to the Spirit-guided consciences of particular congregations concerning the ordination of women as elders and deacons, and to the presbyteries concerning the ordination of women as teaching elders. This recommendation must be approved by at least six of the EPC’s eight presbyteries and come to the 2011 General Assembly for ratification.
  • Expand the boundaries of the Florida presbytery to include the Bahamas. This paved the way for two churches from the Church of Scotland to be received as members of the presbytery.
  • Create a Study Group to study the creation of one or more new presbyteries to accommodate the addition of more than 100 churches in the denomination since 2007.
  • Instruct the Committee on Administration to enter into conversation with Mid-America Presbytery and the Study Group (above) and empower the Committee to establish two new presbyteries from the existing Mid-America Presbytery before the 2011 General Assembly.
  • Provide stringent guidelines for virtual meetings of representative bodies. The General Assembly, presbyteries, and church sessions may develop and approve bylaws conforming to these guidelines by which they would be able to use teleconferencing and Internet technologies to conduct virtual votes, so long as all members “present” are able to hear each other and a precise record of the vote can be recorded.
  • Instruct the Ministerial Vocation Committee to study the need for greater definition of the calling of chaplain, especially due to the increasing number of corporate chaplaincies. The study will include, but not be limited to, questions such as how a person ordained to Word and Sacrament functions in a corporate environment and how such chaplaincies relate to the local church.
  • Approve Overseas Council (OC), Women of the Harvest Ministries, and English Language Institute/China (ELIC) as Approved Mission Agencies.

General Assemblies are the annual gatherings of the EPC, where church representatives vote on committee recommendations and reports, vote on presbytery overtures, and conduct other business of the denomination. There are also workshops, other training opportunities, and times of worship and prayer available during the 3-1/2 day gathering.

More than 99,000 people attend 285 EPC churches nationwide. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

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Doug Klein Nominated as Moderator-elect

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Dana Cadman, Communications Manater - 734-742-2020 x243

Doug Klein nominated as Moderator-elect of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Doug Klein 2010Livonia, Mich. - May 27, 2010 - Rev. Doug Klein, Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colorado has been nominated as the Moderator-Elect of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).  The Moderator-elect is an officer of the General Assembly, a member of the national Committee on Administration, assists the Moderator as requested, and is the presumptive nominee to assume for the office of Moderator in the following year. Rev. Klein's nomination will be presented to the 30th General Assembly, meeting June 24-26 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, Englewood, Colorado.

Doug was born 1954 in Red Bank, New Jersey and received an undergraduate degree in Communications from Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania

He was called to his first pastorate at age 25 in 1980 at First Presbyterian Church, Turtle Creek, PA (PCUSA). In 1983, Rev. Klein accepted a call from Ward Presbyterian Church, Livonia, Michigan to plant their second daughter church, Grace Chapel (Farmington Hills, Michigan), where he served for 10 years, completing a successful building campaign while also serving as Chairman of the EPC National Outreach Committee and Moderator of the Presbytery of the Mid-West.

In 1993, Doug was called to Faith Presbyterian Church, Aurora, Colorado where he has served as pastor for the last 17 years. Doug has led the congregation through a time of transition and renewal to becoming an effective urban international congregation that currently has members from eleven nations. Faith Church has started a dynamic Spanish congregation named Shekinah and houses an Afro-American, Iranian, and Arabic congregation. Doug has a special passion for the contemporary young adult service he started in 2009 focusing on unchurched young adults with a rock band named Lion Tracks.

Under Doug’s leadership, Faith Presbyterian Church has acquired two pieces of land for future satellite campuses that serve as a larger part of a vision to plant seven churches in the growth areas of Denver over the next 25 years.

Doug has a special interest in church planting internationally and serves as a team member of Dynamic Church Planting International DCPI, doing church planting training in London, Paris and Nairobi, Kenya. Doug is a Certified Trainer of DCPI church planting training materials.

Doug and his wife, Carol, have been married 29 years and have three children, Jennifer, Paul, and Jonathan.

For information on the 2010 EPC General Assembly, see:
http://www.epc.org/about-the-epc/general-assembly/2010-general-assembly

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Rob Liddon Nominated as Moderator

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Dana Cadman, Communications Manager - 734-742-2020 x243

Rob Liddon nominated as 30th Moderator of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Liddon - Rob LiddonLivonia, Mich. - May 6, 2010 - Mr. Rob Liddon, ruling elder at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee has been nominated as the Moderator of the 30th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). The Moderator, elected annually, presides over the meeting of the General Assembly and represents the EPC in a variety of capacities throughout the year. The 2010 General Assembly meeting is being held June 24-26 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church, Englewood, Colorado.

Liddon was born 1950 in Corinth, Mississippi and received an undergraduate degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and a law degree from Columbia University. Upon graduation from law school, he moved to Memphis and began three decades of work for the firm that has become Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz. In his practice, he’s handled primarily commercial real estate and lending transactions.

Rob and his wife Susan were married on New Years Eve 1977 and joined Second Presbyterian Church when they moved to a nearby neighborhood in 1979. They still live in this home where they raised their three children. Over the years at Second, Rob has served as a deacon, ruling elder (since the early '90s), Steering Committee of the Session, chancel choir for 30 years, children's Sunday school teacher, Boy Scout leader, various search, stewardship and study committees, legal counsel to Second Presbyterian Church and its Foundations, judicial commissions, and short-term mission trips. At present, he is the Clerk of the Session at Second Presbyterian and curriculum coordinator for his Sunday school class. Serving in the Central South Presbytery, he has recently been Moderator and currently serves as Chairman of the Coordinating Council.

Rob served last year as the EPC's Moderator-elect, and has expressed how humbled he is to be considered for these Offices, as he feels there are many who have worked much harder and done much more than he. If elected, he stated he will do his best not to disappoint those who have asked him to serve and, with providence and protection from the Holy Spirit, to bring honor to the Evangelical Presbyteian Church and to the kingdom of God.

For information on the 2010 EPC General Assembly, see:
http://www.epc.org/about-the-epc/general-assembly/2010-general-assembly

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Evangelical Presbyterian Church Responds to PCUSA Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Dana Cadman, Communications Manager - 734-742-2020 x243

Evangelical Presbyterian Church Responds to PCUSA Report

EPC grateful that Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) finds accusation unsubstantiated

Livonia, Mich. – April 28, 2010 – A task force report from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (PCUSA) has determined that an accusation made by its Presbytery of Peace River against the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) regarding the alleged solicitations of congregations is unsubstantiated.

In 2008, the Presbytery of Peace River, a presbytery of the PCUSA, made an overture accusing the EPC, a Protestant Reformed denomination, of "actively pursuing a strategy to persuade Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) churches disaffiliate with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and be dismissed to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

The PCUSA Committee on Ecumenical Relations formed a task force to investigate the accusation. The task force made its report public on Thursday, April 22. The leadership of the EPC is grateful that the task force confirmed that there was no evidence to substantiate the accusations of Peace River Presbytery. The EPC also appreciated the report’s call for a better relationship and improved communication between the two Presbyterian denominations.

However, the EPC did have concerns about other findings of the task force's report. For example, the report states “other leaders from within the EPC were also willing to speak to PCUSA congregations, when a session had invited them in, often showing the PCUSA in a less than flattering light.” The task force had the opportunity to present this finding to EPC leadership in a meeting on January 15, but chose not to. The task force has also provided no supporting evidence for this assertion.

Even though the task force report has been made public, the PCUSA General Assembly has not yet met to review, vote on, or act on the assessments or recommendations of the report. The EPC has decided it would be inappropriate to make any further responses to the report until it has been reviewed, amended (if necessary), and approved by the PCUSA General Assembly, which won't meet until July.

More than 100,000 people attend 275 EPC churches nationwide. To learn more about the EPC, visit www.EPC.org.

More than 2 million people attend 10,700 PCUSA churches nationwide. To learn more about the PCUSA, visit www.PCUSA.org.

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