Monthly Archives: August 2018

Sunday 2 September 2018

While our Church Building is Repaired we are meeting each Sunday at The Mineral & Lapidary Club 110 Waltham Rd (next to Waltham School) at 10am.

We would love to have the opportunity to welcome you.

 Sunday 2nd September 2018


A very warm welcome to all who worship with us today. Please join us for morning tea after the service.

 Rich Living is an event exploring Sustainability and Christian Faith

On Friday 28 September, 7.30pm at South West Baptist, a combined churches creative worship service. Steve Graham is the speaker, plus a range of ways to engage prayerfully in concern for our environment. For all ages and youth-friendly.

Saturday 29 September, a day seminar at Cashmere Presbyterian Church, with a stimulating mix of speakers and workshops. The emphasis is on practical ways that local people and churches can make a difference. Also includes bush walks (including a visit to Ernle Clark Reserve), contemplative space, panel discussion, and optional dinner. Find out more and register at

 Wednesday Walkers 5th September: In Search of Blossoms…  meet 9.30am in the Botanic Gardens Car Park off Armagh Street. Café to be decided. Sonya 027 253 3397.  

Crafty Crafters meets every Thursday 10am – 12 noon at Beckenham Methodist. $3 per session. New faces are always welcome. Lyndsey 388 1264.

Parish Breakfast: Sunday 16th September 8.45am hosted by the Walking Group. Details to follow.

The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday 23rd September.

 Men’s Group: will meet on Thursday 6th September at 6 pm at Merchiston, beginning with a shared tea. Rob Meier will then talk about his recent experiences in Tanzania. We look forward to seeing all the men in our Church at our last meeting for the year.     Tony – 332 0554.

New Roster available today – please check to see if there is a copy for you.

 The St Albans Community Choir invites you to “Celtic Dreams & Scottish Scenes” Sunday 16th September 5pm at St Paul’s Parish Centre, 1 Harewood Rd. Entry by koha.

 Special Fundraising for the Church Building –          Target $35,000

We are in the home straight now with most of the steel installed, two thirds of the brickwork laid, and much of the interior framing and wiring completed.  Placing of gib lining and ceiling replacement will begin shortly, the kitchen will be in place in early October and painting and laying of floor coverings will see the building completed.  Asphalt will be laid outside the office.  There will be plenty of small jobs waiting to be done once the contractors move off site and we will have to wait for the City Council to give us public access.

We are applying for money to fund items of equipment from a number of sources, but we will need a little donation boost to get us across the line and ensure our parish reserves are not exhausted.

  • 7 gifts of $5,000 would do it
  • 3 gifts of $5,000 and 20 gifts of $1,000 would do it
  • 3 gifts of $5,000, 10 gifts of $1,000, and 100 gifts of $200 would do it

Please consider what you could offer to help get us across the line…..

Gifts can be made by cheque to St Martins Presbyterian Church and given to our treasurer Joan Macdonald or by a bank transfer with “Newbuild” in the Particulars and your name in the Reference Box to the St Martins Presbyterian Church:  ANZ    06-0829-0201306-050

This special fundraising project will close on October 17th 2018.  A receipt will be issued which can be used to claim a tax rebate so maybe you would like to add one third to your gift!  Maybe you know someone who would like to donate – tell them!

Some examples of what your donation may be use for….

$200 will purchase a chair, $1,000 will purchase a fridge, a new zip, or the freezer for the kitchen, $3,000 will purchase the new oven, $5,000 will install new pendant speakers in the church for the sound system, $12,000 will install the new sliding doors in the lounge.

The Official opening will be on Sunday 25th November but we may be able to return earlier in the month

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Sunday 26th August 2018

While our Church Building is Repaired we are meeting each Sunday at The Mineral & Lapidary Club 110 Waltham Rd (next to Waltham School) at 10am.

We would love to have the opportunity to welcome you.

Sunday 26th August 2018

 NOTICES: A very warm welcome to all who worship with us this morning. Please join us for morning tea. Many thanks to Alan Webster for leading today’s service.

 Next of kin…It would be helpful if people put the name of their next of kin and contact telephone number on the back of their nametag. This allows us to contact a family member should anything happen during a worship service. Please also include the names of any significant medications.

 FIRESIDE Group has been invited to Joan’s 2 Pentonville Close this Tuesday 28th August 7.30pm to celebrate her birthday! All women are very welcome. See Margaret Shanks for more information.

Wednesday Walkers 29th August: Meet 9.30am in Neville St near Sumner St for a walk around West Spreydon. Morning tea at Hodders Café! All welcome. Sonya 027 255 3397.

Crafty Crafters meets every Thursday 10am – 12 noon at Beckenham Methodist. $3 per session. New faces are always welcome. Lyndsey 388 1264.

Parish Breakfast: Sunday 16th September 8.45am hosted by the Walking Group. Details to follow.

Waltham Community Cottage Te Whare Roopu o Oterepo AGM TOMORROW 5.30pm at the Cottage, 201 Hastings St East. All welcome.

 Aprons from Your Sisters available for sale today $22. See Barb Meier.

 The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday 23rd September.

CHICKEN MANURE  – Christchurch South Rotary Club will be selling bags of chicken manure from Saturday 25th August, $6 per bag or 4 for $20, at   Thorrington School. Deliveries are available for orders of four or more bags. See Tony – 332 0554 for more details.

Organ Recital by Harry Meehan 2.30pm TODAY at St Andrew’s at Rangi Ruru, $5 entry.

 We need your help at the General Assembly of the PCANZ in the first week of October 2018. GA 2018 is being hosted by the churches of Alpine Presbytery and their members. If you are in a parish in the South Island north of the Waitaki River, we invite you to assist us in hosting Assembly this year. There are plenty of ways to help, whether you can give a whole day or just a few hours. Learn more about how you can help:

Family Quiz Night at St Anne’s Hall (7 Wilsons Rd) TONIGHT 5pm.  BYO drinks and nibbles or bring some cash to purchase soup & cheese rolls. $10 adults, $2 children

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Sunday 19 August 2018

While our Church Building is Repaired we are meeting each Sunday at The Mineral & Lapidary Club 110 Waltham Rd (next to Waltham School) at 10am.

We would love to have the opportunity to welcome you.


Sunday 19th August 2018


Next of kin…It would be helpful if people put the name of their next of kin and contact telephone number on the back of their nametag. This allows us to contact a family member should anything happen during a worship service. Please also include the names of any significant medications.

Foot Clinic TOMORROW 1-4pm at Beckenham Methodist. New volunteers always welcome. See Lyndsey McKay for details.

Wednesday Walkers 22nd August: Meet 9.30am at Simeon St entrance to Barrington Mall car park for a Spreydon Old and not so Old walk led by Janette and Cyril.  Coffee at Café Mosaic. All welcome. Cyril 0211611178 or Judith 0276881861.

Crafty Crafters meets every Thursday 10am – 12 noon at Beckenham Methodist. Lyndsey 388 1264.

Articles are now required for next ‘Messenger’. The deadline is THIS Friday, 24th August. Email:

Waltham Community Cottage Te Whare Roopu o Oterepo AGM Monday 27th August 5.30pm at the Cottage, 201 Hastings St East. All welcome.

Annual Reports: Please email all reports to Anna immediately! Deadline: 9am THIS Wednesday 22nd August. Recent photos of your group and/or activities would also be appreciated. The Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Sunday 23rd September.

 Family Quiz Night at St Anne’s Hall on NEXT Sunday 26th August 5pm.  BYO drinks and nibbles, and cash. This is a fundraiser for Opawa-St Martins Anglican Parish. Tickets ($10) available from Anna at the Office 332 6192. 

CHICKEN MANURE  – Christchurch South Rotary Club will be selling bags of chicken manure from Saturday 25th August, $6 per bag or 4 for $20, at   Thorrington School. Deliveries are available for orders of four or more bags. See Tony – 332 0554 for more details.

Organ Recital by John Dodgshun 2.30pm TODAY at St Andrew’s at Rangi Ruru, $5 entry.

Aprons from Your Sisters available for sale today $22. See Barb Meier after the service.

About Your Sisters Orphanage, Kisongo, Tanzania, East Africa: Your Sisters Orphanage was established in 2011 by an American woman, Libby Bailey, her partner Frank Mollel, and his Masai family.  It is divided into three parts, each complementing the other:

Creative Community Programme (CCP)This programme was implemented to provide the women of Kisongo village area a means towards economic self-sufficiency.

There are about 20 women who sew together at the Orphanage and make lovely bags, aprons and children’s clothes.

These items are sold commercially. Some of the money goes towards running costs of the Orphanage, but most goes to the women themselves.

Orphanage for Girls:  The ‘Your Sisters’ orphanage is a sanctuary for young girls who have been orphaned or abandoned. It is their home, where they receive love, nurturing care and support in a family environment.

They ensure each child receives nutritious meals and clean water, and comfortable shelter. Clothing, health care, and access to quality education are very important provisions.

Volunteer & Travel Groups: Travellers and Volunteers can come and take part in a programme with the orphans, or the women; and combine this a visit to the Serengeti wildlife park, a climb up Kilimanjaro or relax on the beaches of Zanzibar. Any profits are fed back in to the work of the Orphanage.

Tanzania has a population of over 40 million, and nearly 90% of Tanzanians struggle to survive on less than $1.50 a day.

To find out more about ‘Your Sisters’, speak to Barbara & Rob Meier.


Managers’ Report

  • We are formulating conditions of use policy and establishing hire charges for the new church complex.


  • An update on the building was tabled. This shows we have significant cost increases in several areas with respect to our projected budget.

There have been a series of issues fitting the steel into the building. The consulting engineer originally estimated his time would cost $7500, but this has been revised up to $23,000.

Electrical work will be more extensive than originally designed – increasing the electrical budget by $33,000.

New sliding doors will be fitted to the lounge at a cost of $12,000.

We note our architect has also exceeded the estimated cost of his work.


  • A long discussion was held to address a proposal that we seek special funding from the congregation to meet costs of the rebuild. Managers support the Building Team in this initiative.


  • The neighbour’s garage will shortly be shifted onto our property for storage. It will need to be divided in half to avoid the need for a consent.


  • Insurance: Full insurance for non natural disaster (eg fire) has been secured for all our buildings. For natural disaster (eg earthquake) we are insured for indemnity only. The cost of this is $10,000.


  • Our Treasurer Joan Macdonald presented the annual accounts showing a net loss of $68,720. However our accounts are heavily influenced by the costs of the rebuild.


  • A draft budget for 2018-19 was presented and approved.
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Irenaeus of Lyon – John 6: 47-58

Irenaeus of Lyon – John 6: 47-58

I want to introduce you to someone who lived some 1900 years ago. Irenaeus the bishop of Lyon. He is one of what we call the early church fathers. These are people who were prominent in the church after the first apostles. He lived between 115 and 200AD we are not actually sure of the exact dates. We do know he was born in what is now Turkey into a Christian family. Not much is known about his early life except that he became a missionary in Lyon, France, not far from the Taize Community of today. When the local bishop was killed in a persecution of Christians, Irenaeus was chosen to fill the position and became the local leader of the Christian community there. These were interesting times as the Christian presence in the Roman Empire was miniscule. Some fascinating research by Rodney Stark tells us that by the year 150AD, the middle of Irenaeus’s life there were maybe 41,000 Christians in the whole Roman Empire. Less than 0.1% of the population were followers of Jesus, a tiny but growing minority. They usually met in one another’s homes, and they were often having fascinating debates about what it meant to be a Christian. At this stage they had no Bible as we know it, and they were very much adventurers in the faith, working out the shape of their faith in Jesus.

One of Irenaeus’ claim to fame was that he and other leaders saw the need to start to gather writings that might define true Christianity. Different groups of Christians were following quite different paths in their Christian journey and there was a growing need to define what this faith was all about. This was partly a reaction to a large and influential group of Christians, led by a fellow called Marcion, They thought the God of the Old Testament was thoroughly bloodthirsty and violent and this didn’t fit at all with the God of Jesus. So they wanted to ditch the whole Old Testament. We don’t know for sure but some scholars suggest the Marcion followers were about half of all Christians at one point and quite a few of you may well say ‘pity they didn’t win the day’. Irenaeus however liked the Old Testament. I don’t think the violence thrilled him, but the very earthy stories of God alive in the lives of very real fallible human beings did. The Greeks had ideas of perfection and being perfect, but the Hebrews and the Old Testament told an earthed story rooted in human experience. People did have failings but it wasn’t perfection that mattered in story after story in these writings. Rather it was trust and faithfulness rooted in real human beings that counted. That’s what God worked with trying to shape a new earth. For Irenaeus ditching the Old Testament was unthinkable. Real human lives were important. He actually penned a statement that was rather startling… the glory of God is the human being fully alive…After all in Jesus Irenaeus said God had chosen to enter human life.

Irenaeus also leapt into an argument about how many gospels of the dozens then in circulation should be included in the writings that were being gathered into what we know as the New Testament. He advanced the creative idea that must be four since there had been four faces in the vision of Ezekiel: a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Although his logic may appear rather strange to us, there are only four gospels in the New Testament and if you know your symbols you’ll also recognize the signs of the gospel writers – a man for Matthew, a lion for Mark, an ox for Luke, and an eagle for John! That we have four gospels is due some quirky arguments and dear old Irenaeus.

But it’s this quote I want to focus on. the glory of God is the human being fully alive. We see God’s glory in a human being fully alive. Irenaeus was struck by the claim that Jesus was a real human being and yet was alive with God. His favourite festival was Christmas because that celebration the incarnation, God alive in a human being. There was a huge influence of what is called gnostic teaching and practice which focused on the opposite. Some were saying God was to be found by denying our human –ness, our every day-ness, and looking for spirit filled experiences. They wanted to split life into separate physical and spiritual spheres. Some adopted ascetic practices that denied the body as a way to God, and others said it didn’t really matter how you lived in your body because that life didn’t count, and so we have stories of free sexual expression and wild parties. Life in the Spirit and life in the body were two different things. Irenaeus said, ‘no this bodily earthy stuff is infused with the spirit.’ Look for God in all that is created. Honour your bodies, honour the earth, and honour the spirit that lives within these physical realities. The glory of God is the human being fully alive.

Questions raged about whether Jesus was really human, did the resurrection involve the body or was it just a spiritual reality, and was salvation a release from this world or a transformation of this world. The gnostic or dualists who sought to separate body and spirit said Jesus wasn’t really human, the resurrection was a spiritual event, and salvation involved exiting this world. Irenaeus stood on the other side of the fence. Jesus was human, the resurrection involved the body, and salvation was about transformation of this earth we call home. .

You may say what difference does this make. Consider this…many Christians in the United States in particular say don’t get too hung up about caring for the earth because we are going to heaven anyway. If the earth burns up, who cares because we are going to a better place. In fact some would say the sooner the better. Wow, Irenaeus would have something to say about that. But this influence of devaluing the earth and the body also shows in other ways. Many of us fail to take our lives seriously. Too easily we slip into patterns of life that say this is as good as it gets. Is it laziness or is it fear, or is it a lack of faith but we never take the risk of exploring aliveness. We want to be sure we have bases covered, we fear stepping out of the norm, we worry about what others may think, we like to stick with the crowd. Fully alive… well ‘half alive’ is the best we can hope for.

Consider this…Jesus makes it abundantly clear that as we engage with him we will find true life, abundant life, full aliveness. I think that’s what the message in today’s reading about eating flesh and bread is about, finding sustenance, seeing a vision of how to live well, dwelling in each other’s company so something of the life of Jesus enters our very bodies and minds. Eat this bread that I offer, take mylife into your life and you’ll find true aliveness. It’s a bold claim that is at the heart of our celebration of communion (The Lord’s Supper). If you want to be truly alive engaging with Jesus will help.

I want to get specific. Jesus opens our eyes to a journey sharing, adventure sharing God. Yes the God of the Old Testament may appear bloodthirsty, but clearly this was not the God of Jesus. Marcion got that right. So maybe the writers telling us about the Amalekites, men women and children, being slaughtered at God’s command got it wrong. What they got right, however, was the sense of God as a journey sharing, adventure sharing God. A God of the exodus, a God of Abraham and Sarah, a God of Ruth, a God of David. People who took risks. People who saw life as a journey of adventure. People who simply put their trust in God. Our God shares our human journey, our God loves a good adventure, our God takes risks, our God is interested more in a faith-filled journey than in perfection.

Jesus opens our eyes to the gift of yourself. Each of us sacred, valued. Each of us with a part to play. The glory of God is to be found in living your life and being who you are according to Irenaeus. His call to us is not to deny our life but to enter into it more fully. His call to us is to look deeper and discover your soul – your inner calling. You’ll know when you are touching base with this calling because you will feel alive. Keep searching for your deep passions and deep desires and trust that these passions and desires are of God. The life of God within. I need to stress the deep here because we are not talking about the desire for a new car, or an easy life….go deeper. A good practice is to regularly look at your life and ask, ‘when did I really feel alive?’ ‘What was going on?’ ‘Why was I buzzing and feeling so energized?’ Usually when we touch base with our true calling there is a release of energy in our beings because we get in tune with our soul, our deep places, our deep desires.

Jesus opens our eyes to the truth that life is found in linking our lives with others and working to bring new life into the world. Life is found in giving. Life is found in team. Life is found in making a difference together.

“The glory of God is the person fully alive.” Say ‘YES’ to yourself often. Engage with your life – it is a gift of great value. Listen to the inner murmurings. Search for the inner calling, and give yourself with others to making a difference.

“The glory of God is the person fully alive”.
Thank God for Irenaeus!

Dugald Wilson 12th August 2018

Question: What would you do if you had time and money to do anything? ( If we keep asking this question we’ll get a glimpse of inner calling.)

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Aliveness John 6:24-35

Aliveness John 6: 24-35

When I phoned Lee to set up a time to visit there was no-one home and I had to leave a message on her answerphone. It turned out that she was outside gardening. At 84 Lee was not someone to sit inside on a warm day watching TV but was keen to be active and to keep on living. I had known her over ten years and I had discovered she was someone who lived life. If the day had been colder she probably would have been inside baking or out in her car distributing some baking to someone in need. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Lee was more of a Martha that a Mary in the biblical sense. Like Martha she liked to keep busy, but like Mary she paused to sit at the teacher’s feet. She regularly as she put it prayed as she took a little walk around the neighbourhood each morning. On Sunday she would always be at church greeting others and doing what she could to make newcomers welcome. She went out of her way to notice people who might be alone or new and instead of sitting in the same seat every Sunday moved around to wherever she could connect with strangers or those she thought might appreciate a listening ear. After worship she loved to chew the fat over some point in the sermon that had caught her attention. She was no saint, just plainspoken and happy to be herself, warm, and accepting – a faith honed out of real life experience.

When I did finally catch up with Lee she reminded me that it had been 18 months since her husband of 56 years had passed away. There was a moment of stillness and a tear, but her face lit up again as she reencountered how they had gone on their honeymoon as two innocent young people in a borrowed car and a few pounds in their pocket. There was another tear as she talked about her first night alone after all those years, and it was evident that she had a very deep sense of the loss. Tears are part of life she said as she moved on to update me on news of her family.

When I asked Lee about her new journey, she recounted a story that revealed much on her attitude and outlook. It seems a friend had questioned her about going to the movies not long after her husband had died, implying that Lee was not grieving appropriately. Lee reminded the woman that it was her husband that had died and not her and that she was getting on with living. I remember she flashed me a smile and a wink as she shared her response. She went on to say that did feel bereft, but that she had made her mind up to live each day with purpose and resolve. She volunteered that at the heart of this resolve was her faith and her belief that God had special things for her to do. I asked her about that and she explained that her way of looking at things was pretty simple. God had made her the way she was and had a purpose for her life. “I love being generous and I love encouraging others,” she said. “These things give me a real buzz. I believe we all have a ministry and when I’m in touch with my ministry I really come alive. It’s exciting.” I thought the Apostle Paul might find some big words to describe what she was saying like Living in Christ or Living in the Spirit, but Lee’s simple way of seeing things made sense to me.

I found Lee’s faith infectious. Though she glimpsed in the rear view mirror she did not dwell in the past. She had made the decision to fully live out her life with gusto, engagement, and that childlike attitude that so appealed to Jesus the willingness to learn something new. She seemed to have discovered her calling and her path of contributing to the greater good. Being alive for her has something to do with serving. When I stood to leave she told me to wait a moment and scurried off to the kitchen. She returned bearing some biscuits that she had made that very morning. Graceful, generous to the end. There was something about Lee that many people noticed. She was alive, she was gracious and generous, and there was a deep joy even with the tears. There was authenticity. She was who she was without smoke and mirrors and she was happy to be who she was. She didn’t find fault in others although she could let you know when something wasn’t right. She accepted all sorts of people as they were and encouraged them. Young people could be a pain, but she took time to try and understand and appreciate what their lives might be like. She had a heart for the struggling, and if she were alive today she would have purchased Fairtrade bananas, and she just might have joined the bike brigade to do her bit for climate change.

Jesus talked often about something he called eternal life. He claims the crowds were searching for the food of eternal life. The gospel writer, John, makes it clear that he believes if you follow Jesus you’ll find this life. I think Lee had discovered the truth of what Jesus was on about. She had discovered a quality of life that was much more than just existing. I think it had much to do with believing she was in God’s hands, and God had something new to teach her each day. Fear was not something she seemed to worry about… fear of others, fear of death. She seemed to have a deep trust in God that all would be well. She was not alone. She was living with purpose and meaning. She had great patterns and rituals in her life that sustained her and encouraged life. She had friends she could talk with and at 84 she still saw life as an adventure. She was willing to risk herself, to step out and give things a go. She was not stuck in a rut but was still walking along the road, discovering, learning, growing. Life was good.

In my younger days I used to think eternal life was all about going to heaven when I died. That’s what religion was about. I didn’t read the gospels closely enough. I do believe we return into God when we die, but Jesus was quite adamant that eternal life begins now. When he talks of eternal life he’s talking about a quality of life that begins now. I saw much of that in my friend Lee. She had a quality of aliveness that I think would have made Jesus smile and say, you are on to it.

I think we all have a deep desire in our beings to be more alive. We want to be less fearful. Who cares about what others think. Wouldn’t it be good to be 100% authentic, and to know deep joy. Wouldn’t it be good to be so in touch with our gifts that we didn’t need to compete with others but could be great encouragers of others. Wouldn’t it be great to feel we were using our gifts whatever they might be in service of God to help build a new earth? To know we were part of God’s plan to see less lonely people, less violence, and more peace in the world.

Our faith isn’t about insurance policies for when we die nor is it about appeasing an angry God. It’s about discovering an aliveness in our lives now. It’s about overcoming the fears that shrink and imprison us. It’s about trusting God and living with a sense of adventure and authenticity. It’s about learning to live with generosity and compassion for all God’s creatures. It’s about serving and learning to be courageous, with a grateful heart.
Sadly many people look at Christians and seem to think religion is something that shrinks, starves, imposes, cages, and freezes aliveness rather than fostering it. I felt a great sadness when I read of a recent survey of young people that found Christian young people were more inclined to judge others and to be less generous to people in need. Teaching our children about Jesus shouldn’t make them more judgmental and less generous.
Sadly many people think to be a Christian means you have to believe all sorts of things about Jesus. Jesus is God’s son, Jesus paid the price of our sin, Jesus will give you a ticket to heaven. Our gospel proclaims we need to believe in Jesus. Christianity is not primarily about what we think in our heads, but is about a way of life. The word belief actually comes from two words ‘by’ and ‘live’ or if we put them the other way round ‘live by’. True belief shows in our actions. Frankly I don’t think it greatly matters whether you believe the virgin birth actually happened, or whether Jesus actually walked on water. I’m much more interested in how Jesus impacts your life and how he brings eternal life and aliveness into your daily walk. Self-acceptance, overcoming fear, upholding the power of love and compassion in the way we live.

I believe God is doing new things in our time. One of those is that God is calling us as a Christian community to be beacons of aliveness. I’ve used the example of Lee, but in case you are wondering I see plenty of signs of aliveness amongst us.
I am the bread of life said Jesus. I have come to give people aliveness. What is this bread, what is at the heart of this life do you think? How does Jesus bring aliveness into your life? I invite you to talk with neighbours briefly about some of the things you have discovered about this aliveness Jesus was talking about?

Dugald Wilson 5 August 2018

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