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Coronavirus Updates

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October 9, 2020 Update on the Life of the Church, including Special Celebration Service

Dear Members and Friends,

We had a Board of Elders Meeting last night in which a great deal of planning took place.

Special Celebratory Groundbreaking Service for the Building Program

We begin by announcing that there will be a special celebratory service on October 25 in the morning. We will be celebrating God’s provision and leading in the establishment of a building program. That will be followed immediately by a groundbreaking ceremony. After the groundbreaking ceremony, we will have a lunch outdoors. Bring your lawn chairs and your own hot dog roasting forks if you want to roast hot dogs. Grilled hot dogs will also be available.

Our Next Communion Service

On November 1st, in the AM service, we will have a communion service utilizing the same format that we used for our last communion service. If you would like to celebrate communion while watching online, you may pick up the communion elements in the church office beginning Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Sunday PM Worship Services

In addition, we will begin having in-person services on Sunday evenings, starting November 1.

We will follow the same protocols in the evening that we have for the morning service. The sanctuary will be disinfected after the morning service in preparation for the evening service.

Youth Fellowship

Also, on Nov. 1st, Youth Fellowship will begin in-person meetings prior to the evening service.

Baptismal Service

We will be having a baptismal service on November 15th, during the morning worship service.

Thanksgiving Service / Operation Christmas Child

Our traditional Thanksgiving service is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, in the morning.  Once again, we will be participating in the Operation Christmas Child program. Shoeboxes will also be collected on that date.

EMBARC

Our EMBARC Bible memorization program for kids will take place in a modified format at the beginning of 2021. You will receive more information about EMBARC in the near future.

Changes in Protocol for the Virus

We are well aware that it is going to get colder and fellowshipping outside is going to become more difficult.  Therefore, the following resolution was passed.

Resolved, that beginning October 11, 2020, we will no longer be dismissed by pew.  Due to the change in weather, individuals may fellowship inside the building, but masks must be worn. Yes 9, No 0.

The thought is that once we are dismissed, masks are to be worn and continue to be worn inside the building.

Future Considerations of Sunday School / Wednesday Prayer Meeting

Lastly, we discussed a modified Sunday School program along with a modified Prayer Meeting and Children’s Meeting.

At this point, the intention is that the next step in opening up will be a modified Sunday School program with a modified Prayer Meeting and Children’s Meeting to be initiated after that. No start date for these two items has been established at this point, but we will continue to re-evaluate monthly all of the decisions that are associated with the virus and the steps that need to be taken to allow for more activities and services. Please continue to pray for the Board of Elders during this time.

On behalf of the Board of Elders,

Pastor Calvin Reed

Update on the Life of the Church – August 6, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

Here is the monthly update on what is taking place in the life of our church.

Offerings

We first want to thank you for your faithfulness in giving during this time of the coronavirus. The offerings have been very good as we view the entirety of what has taken place in these last few months.

Church Services

The morning service will continue being conducted in the present manner for at least the month of August. We will be evaluating all of the church’s activities and events on at least a monthly basis.

We are pleased to announce that we have scheduled a communion service for Sunday, September 6. We will be celebrating communion by utilizing individual “communion kits.” This will be explained more fully during our AM Services in weeks to come.

The time of Pastor Cruise’s online children’s Bible lessons will be moved from Sunday evening to Sunday morning at 8:00 am. This will provide a learning opportunity for the children prior to the morning worship service. And even though these videos go live at 8:00 am, you can watch them at any time afterward, at your convenience. This new time will take effect on Sunday, August 16.

In addition, starting on Sunday, August 16, I will begin an online Bible Lesson that will premiere on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm. Like Pastor Cruise’s videos, these can be viewed at the time that they premiere, or any time afterward. This will be just a Bible Lesson. It will not be a full-blown worship service with music, etc. I am going to be studying the book of Philippians. I realize that I preached through Philippians 3 years ago. However, I view that as a positive for it will allow me to build upon that study and focus a lot more attention on application. I chose Philippians because it revolves around the joy of the Lord. I think we could all use a ‘shot in the arm’ of God’s joy in our lives in the midst of all that we are facing. The intent of this study is to bring a smile to our faces, hope to our souls, strength to our hearts, a spring to our step, and a demeanor of joy in our response to God and in our interaction with others. Pray that God would use this study in a most beneficial way.

The Building Program

During this time, progress is still being made regarding the building project. More approvals were sought as well as a finalization of the total estimate. The Building Committee is scheduled to meet on August 27, at which time the final estimate will be reviewed.

We have an Informational night for the entire congregation tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, at 7:00 pm. You can either attend the meeting in person or watch online. It is tentative, for we are hoping that by that time we can complete both the estimate review and obtain all the necessary information regarding bank financing.

Renovations to the Parsonage

Also, during this time, work has been taking place on the parsonage to transform it into a youth center. On the second floor, the walls have been removed resulting in one large meeting room that will also have a lavatory facility. That work is going well, and it will be exciting when completed.

Church Usage

We are still not receiving requests for scheduling the church for future events and activities. We will let you know when the church facilities become available again.

Thank you all for your continued support and cooperation. It is greatly appreciated.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Update on Service – July 8, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (7/07/2020) that covered a number of areas in the life of the church. Included in those discussions were some clarifications for gathering in person for worship this Sunday morning at 10:45 am.

Since our last letter, Gov. Wolf has made some stricter policies for gathering. This has raised questions in the minds of some concerning our announced procedures. The procedures that we had already established for reopening continue to meet the requirements set forth by Gov. Wolf. Our procedures will continue as described in our June 24, 2020 letter. Please review them. However, the board seeks to make a few clarifications.

Let me review a synopsis of the procedures that have been established with a further clarification of some of them. In the last letter the following was included:

“How will all of this work? Church doors for seating will be opened at 10:20 am. When you arrive for morning worship only the doors to the New Narthex will be unlocked. Greeters will be there to say hello and open the doors for you. Masks must be worn to enter the church. Once in the Narthex, we ask that you make your way directly to the Sanctuary and be seated or if full, to the Fellowship Hall. We will be practicing social distancing in our seating. To accomplish that, we will be utilizing every other row of pews and sitting 6 feet apart from non-family members. Ushers will assist you in seating. Once seated you may remove your mask. We ask that you wear your masks during times of singing. (The CDC has concluded that singing and shouting promotes the expulsion of droplets in the air. The recommendation for churches is not to sing or to sing and wear masks. The Board has chosen to sing and wear masks.) Once the singing is over masks again may be removed. They are to be worn again upon exiting the church. Ushers will be dismissing people by rows. We ask that you immediately exit the church. You are encouraged to greet and fellowship with others outside while still practicing social distancing.”

Now for a few clarifications:

Those who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons are exempted from the requirement to wear a mask.

Resolved, that there be an exception of the requirement of wearing a mask for those who have a medical condition that prohibits them from wearing a mask.

In regard to the playground it was previously stated:

Resolved, that we will be roping off every other pew. We will be live streaming to the Fellowship Hall, for overflow seating. The following areas will be roped off: the playground, the lower level, and the nursery wing (however, the Fellowship Hall and Nursery Wing bathrooms will be open).

However, the playground will not be roped off. Instead, a sign will be placed on the playground stating that it has not been disinfected and is to be used at one’s own risk.

Resolved, that Kevin Hostetter will put a sign up at the playground that says “This has not been disinfected, use at your own risk”.

Additionally, we certainly understand and support those who have reservations about attending in-person services at this time and encourage them to continue to worship through the live online streaming.”

The church will be thoroughly cleaned and hand sanitizers will be available in the narthex.

We thank you for your cooperation in a difficult time for us all.

We ask that you continue to be in prayer for our reopening of the church for morning worship services. May God give us a wonderful day of rejoicing in our Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Update on Services – June 24, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (6/23/2020) that was devoted primarily to a discussion of reopening the church. The Board greatly desires to gather in person again as I am sure you do as well. Further, we desire that our gathering will be pleasing to the Lord and spiritually helpful to each one of us.

Previously, the Board declared that the church would be closed at least until July 11, 2020.

We are anticipating that Lebanon County will be entering the green phase by July 12, 2020. Therefore, we are making plans to have a morning worship service and gradually reopen the church in keeping with CDC guidelines.

There are many challenges and difficult decisions that are associated with gathering for worship in the present environment. Please be assured that the Board carefully considered and fully discussed the following resolutions.

The following resolutions, that were all unanimously approved, provide the structure for reopening:

Resolved, that we begin having indoor Sunday AM Worship Services, starting on July 12, 2020, provided that Lebanon County is in the ‘green’ phase by that date. We will not be having Sunday School, evening service, or nursery.

Resolved, that we will be roping off every other pew. We will be live streaming to the Fellowship Hall, for overflow seating. The following areas will be roped off: the playground, the lower level, and the nursery wing (however, the Fellowship Hall and Nursery Wing bathrooms will be open).

Resolved, that we require individuals over the age of 2 to wear masks from the time they enter the church until the time they sit down for the service, again during singing, and then upon exiting the church.

Resolved, that we would not pass offering plates during the Sunday AM Services, but that we would have boxes in the back of the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall for individuals to place offerings.

Resolved, that we will not be using bulletins until further notice.

Resolved, that we would allow Youth Fellowship to organize outdoor activities after July 12, 2020, provided that Lebanon County is in the green phase, and provided that YF would put in place any necessary safeguards.

How will all of this work? Church doors for seating will be opened at 10:20 am. When you arrive for morning worship only the doors to the New Narthex will be unlocked. Greeters will be there to say hello and open the doors for you. Masks must be worn to enter the church. Once in the Narthex, we ask that you make your way directly to the Sanctuary and be seated or if full, to the Fellowship Hall. We will be practicing social distancing in our seating. To accomplish that, we will be utilizing every other row of pews and sitting 6 feet apart from non-family members.  Ushers will assist you in seating. Once seated you may remove your mask. We ask that you wear your masks during times of singing. (The CDC has concluded that singing and shouting promotes the expulsion of droplets in the air. The recommendation for churches is not to sing or to sing and wear masks. The Board has chosen to sing and wear masks.) Once the singing is over masks again may be removed. They are to be worn again upon exiting the church. Ushers will be dismissing people by rows. We ask that you immediately exit the church. You are encouraged to greet and fellowship with others outside while still practicing social distancing.

Even though we are not going to be having a nursery, we want to make it clear that babies and children of all ages are most welcome to be a part of the worship service. We certainly understand and support the decision of elderly people and those with risk factors to not attend in-person services at this time and to continue to worship through the live online streaming.

We know that all of this is a huge adjustment and that change does not come easily. We ask that you would view these adjustments as an opportunity to show love and concern for those who are more vulnerable, and that we would make these adjustments gladly in keeping with the true heart of worship and thanksgiving to God. We trust that God would enable all of us to manifest a spirit that is in keeping with the example of Christ in Romans 15:1-2 in which the strong bear with the infirmities of the weak and not to please ourselves. May God give us grace to be calm in spirit and use all the challenges that we are facing to grow us and cause us to be more conformed to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Update on Services – May 29, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

The Board of Elders had a meeting last night (5/28/2020) that was primarily devoted to discussing our services going forward.

We had a time of excellent discussion in which a great many issues with regard to in-person services were considered along with possible solutions.  Uniformly, there is a great desire to return to normalcy and be back together enjoying the worship and warm fellowship.

Since we are able to hear the Word through the streaming of the services, fellowship started to emerge as the greatest need and the greatest impetus for trying to get back together as soon as deemed wise.

With fellowship in mind, we then considered the way that social distancing and other restrictions would continue to hinder our fellowship at the present time, even if we were to return to in-person worship. In some respects, those restrictions would become even more frustrating.

Consequently, the following resolution was unanimously approved.

Whereas, PA Secretary of Health has said that the current occupancy limit for essential businesses (including churches) is no greater than 50%, and

Whereas social distancing guidelines would limit us to even a much smaller percentage of usage of our facility and thus a much smaller number of individuals that are to gather for worship, and

Whereas, the Board of Elders deems it wise for us to follow the CDC guidelines for ‘Communities of Faith’ as much as is reasonably possible out of a desire to love and protect our neighbor, and

Whereas, the CDC guidelines would greatly limit the intimate fellowship that is so greatly desired, and

Whereas, it would not be feasible for us as a church to be able to meet in person in such a way that we could achieve the intimate fellowship that is desired  and also ensure the safety of our people, therefore be it

Resolved, that we continue to suspend our in-person worship services and activities at least until July 11th and continue to broadcast our live stream am service, and further

Resolved, that we regularly review the decision when to resume our in-person worship services.

We greatly appreciate your continued support and understanding.   May the Lord graciously preserve our unity and love for one another.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed, on behalf of the Board of Elders

Update – Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. We want to keep you abreast of all that is happening in the life of the church. This is obviously a difficult time for all. However, the Lord is gracious and we are looking forward to when we can get back together in person. 

We had a Board of Elders meeting last night (May 5th) and some important decisions were made.

We reviewed the programing that we are presently making available. There is a live streaming of the worship service Sunday mornings at 10:45am. We are pleased with the many that are live streaming our services. We have more viewers than we normally have in average attendance on Sunday mornings. God is using this ministry in the lives of others.

There are the prayer lists that are being distributed over email on Wednesdays and Sundays. Please take advantage of that ministry by both praying and also submitting prayer requests.

Additionally, Pastor Cruise is conducting Zoom meetings for the Youth Fellowship on Friday evenings.

Let me tell you of some additional opportunities that are going to be afforded to you to have fellowship with God’s people and to be nourished in the word. We are going to have Zoom prayer meetings on Wednesday nights beginning Wed. May 13th at 7:30pm. Pastor Brandt will be leading. If you would like to be a part of the prayer meetings conducted through Zoom please sign up here.  

Additionally, Pastor Cruise is going to conduct a children’s Bible Lesson with a target group of those in grades 1-6.  Those talks can be viewed on our website Sunday evenings at 6:30pm beginning this Sunday May 10th.

We also made some decisions regarding the regrettable cancellation of some future activities. We know that so many of you look forward to the various activities that take place in the life of the church. We are aware that God uses these events to enrich the lives of His people and it brings great disappointment to many when they do not take place. So it is neither easy nor pleasant to cancel these events. It is done with a great deal of thought and deliberation.

All church activities and services have been canceled at least through June 13. Additionally, the following have been canceled:

Teen Week is cancelled for 2020.

Day camp has been canceled for 2020.

The July congregational meeting has been canceled.

The business that would normally be conducted in July will be conducted during our January 2021 congregational meeting. The following three resolutions were passed by the Board of Elders, with the intention of allowing us to function without the July meeting.

Resolved, that we cancel the congregational meeting in July and make the agenda items for July be a part of our January meeting, and be it further,

Resolved, that we continue to use the 2019‑2020 budget into the 2020‑2021 fiscal year. Any needed changes will be presented for approval and initiated at our January 2021 congregational meeting.

Resolved, that our current church officers continue until our January 2021 congregational meeting.

The Board of Elders also addressed the policy regarding funerals:

Resolved, that funerals be conducted at a funeral home or graveside until further notice, and be it further

Resolved, that there would be no compassion meals until further notice.

We are very much aware that people have a great many questions with reference to when we can meet together again and what that will look like. Some have asked about fellowship meals, etc.  We are not ready to make those declarations at this time. Please be assured that the Board of Elders is looking at all aspects of the life of the church. Careful consideration is being given to the directives and guidance that is being provided by the governing officials and also the CDC. Therefore, when we do come together again, we hope that it will be in an environment where people will feel safe, comfortable, and spiritually helped. We are acutely aware that our well-being is in God’s hands. He is the source of our trust and confidence.

Therefore, the Board of Elders covets your prayers. Many very difficult decisions are having to be made. We seek to do so responsibly, compassionately, and faithfully in a manner that will be honoring to God and a benefit to His people. Also, please be praying for the life of our church. May God keep us together in spirit while we are apart physically. May He continue to strengthen us so that we might conduct ourselves in a manner that adorns the gospel of Christ. May He sustain us with a positive outlook and thankful hearts that recognize His goodness in the midst of this difficulty.

The Lord bless you all.

Pastor Reed

Update – Thursday, April 23, 2020

All services and activities are canceled through May 8, 2020 and until further notice. The morning messages will continue to be live-streamed on Sunday mornings at 10:45am.

Update – Wednesday, April 1, 2020

All services and activities are canceled through April and until further notice. The morning messages will continue to be live-streamed on Sunday mornings at 10:45am.

Update – Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

Hello, Members and Friends of the Lebanon Bible Fellowship Church,

I hope that you are all doing well. We are praying for God’s grace and mercy and that this disease would come to an end quickly. In the meantime, we are sending out another update.

First, Sunday’s live stream went very well. Many expressed appreciation for the scripture included on the screen. Thank you to all who encouraged others to join us online. I greatly appreciate all of Pastor Dave’s hard work.

Gov. Wolf has closed schools through April 6. Therefore, all services and activities will continue to be canceled at least through April 6. Keep in mind that the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunrise Services have already been canceled in addition to the Sunrise Breakfast. Decisions have not yet been made concerning Easter AM and PM Services.

Today our focus shifts to Prayer Meeting. Since we are unable to have Prayer Meeting during this time, we will be sending an email list of requests in the coming weeks to those who desire them. Added to the website this week is a prayer request form through which prayer requests can be submitted.  The form can be found by going to lebanonbfc.org, clicking on the ‘Resources’ tab of the main menu, and choosing ‘Submit a Prayer Request’ from the list below. All fields of the form must be completed before it is submitted. Pastor Cruise will be the one receiving and responding to those prayer requests. We will utilize the submissions to compile a list of praises and concerns that will be emailed next week to those who request it.  If you would like to receive emails containing the prayer requests, please sign-up by going to the ‘Resources’ tab on lebanonbfc.org, and then click on at the menu item that says ‘Sign Up for Weekly Prayer Lists or Special Church Announcements’. Be sure to check ‘Weekly Prayer Updates’ on the signup form.

Please continue to pray that the effects of the coronavirus would soon come to an end.  Pray for a spiritual revival of our country and world. Pray for all the medical workers who are serving so sacrificially at this time.  Pray for those with the disease and their loved ones. Lastly, please be in prayer for our church. That we would remain spiritually healthy and strong.  That the work of God would be advanced. That we would learn all that God intends us to learn through this experience.

Please continue to get the word out to others concerning the online streaming of our Sunday morning message at lebanonbfc.org.  This is a unique situation that God is greatly using.

The Lord bless you all. Looking forward to when we can worship and fellowship together again in person.

Pastor Reed

Update – Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Members and Friends of the Lebanon Bible Fellowship Church,

I hope that you are all doing well.  Remember the Lord is in control. This letter is intended to answer some questions that are on many people’s minds regarding the life of the church. Because of the uncertainty of the times, decision making is fluid. We will do our very best to keep you informed in all that is happening during this time.  The Elders had a meaningful meeting Wednesday evening that included participants both in-person and online.

Pastor Dave reported on the live stream on Sunday morning, March 15, 2020. There were as many as 93 concurrent viewers of the live stream on Sunday morning. Based on the feedback that Pastor Dave got on Facebook, the average number of people watching in a household was 3. So that would mean about 279 people watched the live stream (larger than our average attendance). The live stream was successful.

This Sunday Morning (March 22, 2020) at 10:45 AM, I will be presenting a special message relating to the coronavirus. We hope you all will join us online for that.

We discussed the possibility of continuing to live stream the services even after we resume our normal gathering together, for the benefit of our shut-ins, those who might be absent due to sickness, or those who live in different parts of the world.

We will keep making improvements to our live streaming as time goes on.  The goal will be to actually live stream the entire service, and not just a message, in the not-too-distant future.  Included would be music, etc. That requires additional licenses and other technical issues. We want to make it the best experience possible. Please pray for us and especially Pastor Dave in this process.

Pastor Cruise reported on visits. He will be visiting the people on the Deacons’ list by phone as long as the nursing homes are locked down. He also will be visiting the people in the hospital by phone.

The Board made the following decisions regarding cancellations:

Resolved, that we will cancel all services and activities in keeping with the recommendations and directives of the governing authorities, until further notice. Yes 11, No 0.

We don’t know how long it will be that we are not having in-person services.  However, for planning reasons and so that people can be prepared we have made the following extended cancellations.

      • Resolved, that we cancel the Maundy Thursday service for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel the Good Friday Service for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel the Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast for 2020. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that May’s Fellowship Sunday meal be cancelled. Yes 11, No 0.
      • Resolved, that we cancel Family Fun Day that was originally scheduled for May 16, 2020. Yes 11, No 0.

A decision regarding the Easter AM and PM services will be made at a later time.

For now, all committee meetings have been suspended and the Board of Elders will take direct oversight of planning.

Work will go on with parsonage renovations but the Youth Fellowship and Rescue Mission volunteers will not be involved in the demolition.

As far as the building program is concerned, the following resolution was adopted:

Resolved, that we will continue the process of moving forward with the blueprints and the mechanical drawings of the building project, and have an evaluation in the month of June. Yes 11, No 0.

No additional building committee meetings will be needed before then.

These are the most important issues to be communicated at this time.  Again we are thankful for your prayers and continued support.

During the time that in-person services are canceled, you can give online through Tithe.ly or send checks to the church.  If you desire to give cash, we ask that you save it until the services resume and you can give in person.

In closing, here are some prayer requests:

  • Please continue to pray for the officials that are making such difficult decisions.
  • Pray for all the medical workers in the very important and sacrificial work that they are doing.
  • Pray for those who have the disease and their loved ones.
  • Pray for those who will be under financial duress.
  • Pray for God’s mercy and grace to bring this disease to an end.
  • Pray for our church that we will stay unified and spiritually strong during this time.
  • Most of all, pray that God will bring people to Himself during this difficult time. Pray that they would glorify Him as God.  Pray that they would seek Him for their help and well-being. Pray that our country and world would be spiritually renewed.

Thank you all so very much. We are grateful for your understanding.  You all have become more dear as a result of this experience. I really miss our worshiping and praying together.  However, I am grateful for the technology that allows us to continue worshiping together in spirit and getting the word out to so many. Use the opportunity to invite others to join us online. I encourage you to pray with me that God’s purpose in all of this will be achieved. Our God is at work!

Blessings,

Pastor Reed

Update – Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

Earlier today, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that due to the coronavirus, all PA public schools will close for 10 business days.  Also, health officials are asking people to practice “social distancing” which includes, among other things, not gathering in large groups.  Therefore, in keeping with the Scriptures’ admonition to submit to authorities, and also to care for one another, we will be canceling all of our services on Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Ladies Bible Studies on Monday (3/16) and Tuesday (3/17), the Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and activities on March 18th, and the Senior Fellowship Event on March 21st.

However, we will live stream the March 15th morning message at lebanonbfc.org at 10:45 am.

On Wednesday night (3/18), during what would normally be our prayer time, the Board of Elders will be meeting to plan a way forward with issues relating to the coronavirus.  Please pray for the Elders as they make some difficult decisions.

Once again, we are humbled as we recognize the sovereignty of God and the limitations of mankind.  The coronavirus is creating quite a stir.  I pray that God will use this time of uncertainty to help all to see that our only source of confidence and well-being is ultimately the Lord. May our world leaders seek His help. And further, may the peoples of this world find their solace and well-being in Him.

We hope that you will avail yourself of the opportunity to watch online.

Blessings,

Pastor Reed

© 2020, Lebanon Bible Fellowship Church, 1635 Mill Road, Lebanon, PA 17042

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