Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Update on the vacancy in the See of Hereford

The Crown Nominations Commission held its second meeting to consider the See of Hereford on 25 and 26 February, and was unable to make a choice. The Commission will reconvene in May and June. The news was announced in this press release published on the Hereford diocesan website.

Archbishop of Canterbury
March 7th 2014

From the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Diocese of Hereford

Vacancy in the See of Hereford - meeting of the Crown Nominations Commission

An update from the Archbishop of Canterbury - Chair of the Commission

Many of you will have been keeping the Crown Nominations Commission in your prayers last week, for which many thanks. It is good for those of us undertaking this work to know that we are being prayed for.

We thought it important to provide an update on the progress of our deliberations which are still continuing. The Commission has had two meetings. Following interviews, we did not feel able to make a choice as to whom God is calling to be the next Bishop of Hereford and felt that we needed more time to discern the next stages for mission and ministry in the Diocese. Taking time over appointments is important and the Commission is utterly committed to finding the right person to be your Bishop. We are therefore making arrangements to reconvene on 1 May and 6 June 2014.

As ever, I will be keeping the whole diocese in my prayers.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 10:44am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

What does this mean? Are they keeping it open until women can be considered? There were absolutely no suitable male candidates? The diocese, though ancient, is no longer viable? What is certain is that it won't help the CNC traffic jam. Can seasoned CNC watchers interpret these runes, please?!

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 11:04am GMT

Oh dear, this is not the first time difficulty has been experienced in appointing a Bishop of Hereford. There was a dreadful, unsuccessful vituperative campaign against the appointment of Herbert Hensley Henson in order to prevent him taking on the See. It was so unpleasant that it became known as the Hereford Scandal. Thankfully Henson was appointed and was later translated to the once great See of Durham. Both archbishops Davidson and Lang were dead set against Henson's move to Durham but the Prime Minister of the day got his wish and HHH became a great but acerbic Bishop of Durham.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 12:13pm GMT

There should not be any more Episcopal appointments made until we know the outcome of the Women Bishops legislation in July. Then proper choices can be made from among the gifts, vocations and experiences of men and women. I am very glad that the appointments committee has made this decision.

Posted by: Sally Barnes on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 12:26pm GMT

Is the well of suitable male liberal candidates running dry then? If so, why not appoint a good solid Traditionalist? Alternatively, is it time to do a Leeds in the Midlands and amalgamate the three dioceses of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester? An ideal time to do it with both the dioceses of Hereford and Gloucester currently vacant.

ED: Gloucester is not vacant until November.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 12:42pm GMT

Was Jeffrey John in the running for this? Is this what the disagreement is all about?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 12:54pm GMT

Is this what the disagreement is all about?

I do not think Jeffrey was shortlisted.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 1:36pm GMT

I suspect a difference of opinion/wishes between the diocesan and national members of the CNC but I emphasise that I have absolutely _no_ evidence on which to base this suspicion.

Posted by: RPNewark on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 1:41pm GMT

In answer to Father David, there might be some logic to the amalgamation of Hereford and Worcester. However Gloucester more naturally looks to the south-west: a merger with Bristol would make more sense.

Posted by: Donatus on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 4:49pm GMT

If we are to hold all appointments until the possibility of women then lets wait on the facilitated conversations for the possibility of homosexual bishops. That way lesbians get a fair deal.

Posted by: commentator on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 6:53pm GMT

I know people will want to read all kinds of sinister and devious things into this announcement. I suspect, pace the gossip-mongers, that this is prosaically what it says it is.

Two major factors have changed over the past years in relation to the CNC. First, the increase in numbers of diocesan reps from 4 to 6, which means that they have more clout (not a veto, like that of parish reps) and can organise themselves to oppose candidates they don't want. (It was always possible to do this by getting central members of the CNC on board - London successfully saw off liberal candidates on two previous occasions with only 4 representatives).

Secondly, the innovation of interviewing candidates cannot but change the dynamic and increase the chance that nobody will be appointed. We have on many occasions declined to appoint to a parish because the evidence of interviews undermined what had been apparent on paper.

It's also not clear that there are huge numbers of good candidates around at present, particularly for a diocese which is almost entirely rural. It's also the diocese where there are almost no parishes opposed to the ordination of women - so it would be good for them to hang on for one of the first women bishops if none of those interviewed fitted the bill.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 7:20pm GMT

This is unusual (save for Canterbury in 2012, except that the CNC was less candid then). There needs to be at least two thirds to secure a nomination (i.e. 10 out of 14 votes). If a commission is divided (say 9:5), they must vote again in the knowledge that if members vote the same way deadlock with continue. However, it can also happen that two members switch their vote between the final two and cancel each other out. It is a sign either that the central members and the diocesan group are at odds or more likely the diocesan group is not united on which candidate they want. I experienced this as a central member when we had to vote a number of times to agree the second candidate. Sounds like they need our prayers (in Lent!)

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 7:45pm GMT

Avoiding these deadlocks is yet another argument for electing bishops on the model of the Episcopal Church: candidates are announced, introduce themselves to the vacant diocese, and a vote is held. Transparency and consent are paramount.

Perhaps Pete Broadbent could suggest this long-overdue reform to his episcopal colleagues?

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 10:47pm GMT

In answer to +Pete Broadbent, the six diocesan reps, if they act together and consistently with what they have previously agreed, DO have a veto. As Anthony Archer points out, to secure a nomination (and this comes after the number of candidates has been whittled down to just two), a candidate must be supported by 2/3rds of the members of the CNC - i.e. by 10 of the 14 voting members.

Unless there is a leak, we shall not (and should not) know whether, as RPNewark speculates, the deadlock in this case is due to a difference of opinion/wishes between the 'central' and diocesan members of the CNC. Whatever the voting 'split' however, Archbishop Justin is surely right in saying that the CNC must take time to find the right person to be the next Bishop of Hereford.

+Pete's comment that "It's also not clear that there are huge numbers of good candidates around at present, particularly for a diocese which is almost entirely rural" must be a matter of concern (if he is right) to those dioceses, such as St Eds & Ipswich, that are behind Hereford in the CNC 'queue'.

Posted by: David Lamming on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 11:35pm GMT

I don't think there's much to learn from ECUSA, thanks.

But the principle of electing bishops in the CofE merits sensible discussion irrespective of whether any other churches do it. As might a practice of interviewing for several sees at the same time, which would break the existing log jam and also allow for some considered policy on placing the first few women candidates. The current system has become far too bureaucratic and formulaic.

There's also the English cultural issue of priests who evince a mixture of reticence, false modesty and scheming. Many of the best candidates are genuinely nolo episcopari - and the ones who want it most are often the least suitable. If we were to move to an elected system, there would be some major changes in church culture to be made.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 11:51pm GMT

To the nolo episcopari point:

These days, priests might rightly hesitate to become part of such an apparently homophobic group as the House of Bishops.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 1:32am GMT

With the largest percentage of female clergy, and virtually no evangelical and FIF presence, surely Hereford would be an ideal diocese for the first woman bishop.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 6:28am GMT

All credit to Pete Broadbent for keeping an open mind on TEC's policy despite his dislike of the church itself.

(Sincere) nolo episcopari is a reasonable point that could be incorporated into an electoral system, say by a nominating panel with the power to add names to the ballot (with the potential candidate's permission, naturally).

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 7:17am GMT

Since a diocesan bishop is unlikely to be under 50 or over 60, has to be male, in orders a certain number of years, in full time ministry and is almost certain to have undergone residential training, it would be interesting to know ( from the publishers of Crockfords perhaps?) just how large the current pool is. getting smaller and smaller I imagine.

Posted by: PerryButler on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 8:25am GMT

+Pete says, "It's also the diocese where there are almost no parishes opposed to the ordination of women". If you look at the number of Resolutions A or B that is true. However there are to my knowledge two parishes in the Hereford Deanery, without A or B, who only have male priests taking services out of respect for their known views.
On the other hand the diocese has one of, if not the, largest proportion of female priests.
This balancing act exercised the mind of the V-in-S committee when preparing the Statement of Needs: http://tinyurl.com/Hfd-V-i-S
Robert Williams says, "virtually no evangelical and FIF presence" in Hereford - not my experience.
I would not have called +Anthony liberal either.
Pray and wait: not speculate.

Hensley Henson has been mentioned. Many years ago an elderly churchwarden told me, "My aunt said they got rid of him by no one asking him to dinner." Now we can't find one.

Posted by: Christopher Whitmey on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 10:03am GMT

Obviously, the CNC has failed to find "the only six penny item in a penny bazaar" as far as the See of Hereford is concerned.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 11:43am GMT

Maybe the see is being kept warm for the promotion of the Priest-in-charge of Ledwardine, the Reverend Merrily Watkins. I'm sure she'd do a wonderful job, though there might be blood on the carpet.

Pity she's fictonal.

Posted by: cryptogram on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 3:47pm GMT

I sincerely hope that there won't be blood on the Hereford carpet. I remember when Maggie Thatcher used that self same phrase when appointing Brandon Jackson to the Deanery at Lincoln. We certainly don't want or need another disaster like that.

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 5:15pm GMT

I think it is possible this situation reflects faith not doubt and leadership not indecision. It is certainly more transparent. I leaves me more hopeful not less.

Posted by: David Runcorn on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 6:10pm GMT

Not sure I agree with +Willesden on the nolo episcopari point. That's usually taken as a modest refusal of something actually desired. There is little evidence of the first nominated candidate declining the see (and these days with interviews the candidates are asked if they would accept the nomination). In any event, nolo episcopari (a Roman Catholic construct) needs to be seen in the context of 1 Timothy 3:1. No, there are plenty of candidates; the system is not good at developing them. It is certainly true that the pool of suffragan bishops is not highly papabile, but since when did you need to be a suffragan to become a diocesan? The advent of woman bishops will help, but will hardly lead to an avalanche of female episcopal appointments. However, an early diocesan appointment of a woman would be excellent, followed by male diocesans realising that there needs to be gender balance in their episcopal team (certainly in the larger dioceses).

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Wednesday, 12 March 2014 at 10:51pm GMT

Anthony Archer "there needs to be gender balance in their episcopal team". Certainly gender balance in the priestly team is becoming a greater reality and also in the archideaconal team, as more venerable women are being appointed but after 20 years of the priesting of women the Decanal team remains predominantly male, out of 44 dioceses only 5 cathedrals will soon be headed by female Deans (York, Birmingham, Guildford, Salisbury and before too long Norwich). Hardly an avalanche, more of a trickle - I suspect the same will be the case in the episcopate - a slow drip, drip!

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 6:21am GMT

Father David: You've left out St Edmundsbury Cathedral where Dr Frances Ward was installed as Dean on 16 October 2010.

Posted by: David Lamming on Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 9:55am GMT

Will orientation balance come alongside gender? So often there is no question of including a homosexual in a markedly heterosexual group - take the House of Bishops. (lol)

Posted by: Commentator on Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 1:40pm GMT

"Will orientation balance come alongside gender?"
Will Jeffrey John be consecrated (long overdue!) before the first woman is ordained a bishop?
Apologies for omitting Frances Ward from among the list of female Very Reverends, which makes 6 out of 44, once Jane Hedges moves to East Anglia.

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 13 March 2014 at 6:44pm GMT

Will well-connected advocates of equal ordination go to bat on behalf of Jeffrey John & other gay and bisexual clergy? Are they driven by justice, or self-interest?

The deafening silence with which the eight "participant observers" in the House of Bishops greeted the infamous "pastoral advice" doesn't bode well.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 12:24am GMT

We, in ACANZP, have to thank the Church of England (and the Holy Spirit) for the fact that we now have our 3rd female Diocesan Bishop in the New Zealand Anglican Church.

The Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley is the Bishop of Waikato. She was ordained priest in 2005 in the Diocese of Oxford, UK, and served her curacy in a rural team of fifteen parishes. In 2008, she was appointed Tutor in New Testament Studies at Ripon College Cuddesdon, and was involved in the training and formation of ordinands and teaching in the University of Oxford. She was recruited to teach at Saint John's College Auckland, from whence she was called to become a bishop on our Church.

Let's hope that women clergy in the C.of E. will find preferment in that Church - before they are nabbed by other Churches in the Anglican Communion But; I'm glad we are the beneficiaries of the English Church's initial reluctance to recognise the gifts of their own female clergy.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 10:45am GMT

Well, James Byron (that's a famous surname - any relation?) we all know what Dom Gregory Dix said when observing the consecration of a new bishop when all his brother bishops surrounded him in a scrum like huddle. After the disastrous reception given to the publication of the Bishops Pastoral Letter what we need more than anything else is an archbishop with steel in his backbone. What would earn a current Archbishop more Brownie Points, following the P. R. disaster of the recent bishops missive, than all else would be the courage to consecrate Jeffrey John.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 10:53am GMT

So it would seem, Dear Fr. Ron, that if women are seeking preferment to the episcopate then New Zealand is the place to be! I wonder how many Anglican dioceses there are in N. Z. And what percentage 3 female diocesans represent out of the total Kiwi episcopate? Have these female episcopal pioneers achieved equality in numbers yet?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 12:33pm GMT

There are nine dioceses in the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, two of which are currently led by women, Christchurch (Victoria Matthews) and Waikato & Taranaki (Helen-Ann Hartley), where the jurisdiction is currently shared with the Archbishop. There appears to be one vacancy (Waiapu). The reason people talk of three women bishops in NZ is I think because Helen-Ann is the third to have been appointed, the first being Penny Jamieson (who was the first woman to be ordained diocesan bishop in the entire Anglican Communion, not the first woman bishop - that was Barbara Harris, Massachussetts suffragan). So on my reckoning that's two out of ten. 20% of the English bench of bishops (including Europe) would be 9. I think the CofE has some was to go!

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 2:56pm GMT

"The deafening silence with which the eight "participant observers" in the House of Bishops greeted the infamous "pastoral advice" doesn't bode well." James Byron

Quite. They either all agreed with it - which is bad. Or they all agreed to be silenced - equally bad, or even worse, perhaps.

I've said before, elsewhere, that I think it is naive to hope that the CNC will suddenly decide to choose women with integrity and backbone as bishops when they (almost without exception) choose spineless 'company men' as bishops at present. I'm sure they will manage to find and nominate drippy and/or self-interested women that are every bit as drippy and/or self-interested as their male counterparts.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 4:28pm GMT

There is of course a racially segregated episcopate in the Anglican Church in New Zealand

Posted by: Robin Ward on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 7:22pm GMT

The New Zealanders will no doubt respond to Robin Ward, but meanwhile the official church website explains it this way
http://www.anglican.org.nz/About/History

A Revised Constitution
The General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui adopted a revised constitution in 1992, which provides an opportunity for each of the three partners, tikanga (= way, style, or cultural model) Maori, tikanga Pakeha (European), tikanga Pasifika, to express its mind as an equal partner in the decision-making process of the General Synod and to exercise mission and ministry to God's people within the culture of each partner. With the adoption of this constitution, the Church of the Province of New Zealand became The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia/ Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o te Moana Nui a Kiwa. The seven dioceses in New Zealand and the Diocese of Polynesia remain unchanged, but within Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa five Hui Amorangi (= regional bishoprics) were established, and four bishops have been ordained to serve those areas in conjunction with the Bishop of Aotearoa.

I think this means there are a total of twelve dioceses but I could have misunderstood.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 14 March 2014 at 10:10pm GMT

One of my hobbies is to try and divert whatever the original subject is about onto a different track. It is interesting where the thread can lead to. To take this one from the failure to appoint a bishop for rural Herefordshire all the way to Father Ron's native New Zealand and a discussion on how many dioceses there are down under and how many are occupied by women bishops is quite remarkable. From the Welsh border to the antipodes - a triumph!

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at 6:53am GMT

Laurence Cunnington presents us with a pretty harsh picture of the current episcopal leadership of the Established Church and I'm afraid that I have to agree with him. His somewhat unkind view of the Bench is, alas confirmed as each succeeding new dull appointment is announced. In my entire life I have not known such an uninspiring group of nonentities as the current crop of bishops. Maybe the unscriptural and untraditional innovation of women bishops might just add a splash of colour and new life but the silence of the lambs (the eight participant observers) alas indicates otherwise. With so many dioceses vacant we have a marvellous opportunity to enhance the episcopate with a bit of vim and vigour. Surely we aren't so completely devoid of visionaries, mystics, prophets and spiritual giants to fill the empty cathedras?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at 9:05am GMT

The description "drippy/self-interested/company men/spineless" is easy to conjure up. I'm not sure that it's in any way accurate. But what would I know? It might just translate into "people I don't like who don't agree with my theological position". In which case, try playing the ball, rather than the man. Speaking as someone who would never describe myself as drippy or self-interested or a company man, or spineless, I kind of wonder whether you know anything at all about the House of Bishops.

But we're an easy target - that's what bishops get. I think it would be helpful to disentangle the dislike of the decisions we take from the character assassination - unless you have well-founded grounds for using the adjectives that you do?

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at 10:20am GMT

Quite correct Bishop Pete in your footballing analogy - to play the ball not the man. Or, as the late great Tony Benn would have it, concentrate on the ishoos (sic) rather than the personalities. But then again it is the personalities who create the issues, so is it all that surprising that the current bench of bishops are proving to be such an easy target when taking into consideration their recent Pastoral Epistle, I wonder what that great writer of letters -St. Paul - would make of your recent offering?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at 11:47am GMT

"I kind of wonder whether you know anything at all about the House of Bishops." "I think it would be helpful to disentangle the dislike of the decisions we take from the character assassination - unless you have well-founded grounds for using the adjectives that you do?" Pete Broadbent

I know a number of bishops personally and my partner knows many more. The adjectives I used were well chosen - without naming individuals, their position can be characterised typically by their saying and doing one thing in public as bishops and saying and doing something else entirely in private. Others have appeared to me to have been career-driven largely by the desire to hold the title 'The Right Rev'd Bishop'. I can't say I blame them for that human vanity, it's one I share.

Regarding your second point, it has little or nothing to do with whether I agree with a particular bishop's theological position. For example, the last-but-one Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, George Cassidy, held views which were, to me, homophobic and bigoted. I actually respected him far more for his consistency and genuineness than those Bishops that failed to vote against the recent pastoral guidance and then have subsequently had private conversations distancing themselves from their own decisions.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Saturday, 15 March 2014 at 1:11pm GMT

"I think this means there are a total of twelve dioceses but I could have misunderstood."
- Simon Sarmiento -

Simon, here is the official listing of the Dioceses/Hui Amorangi of our ACANZP:

1. Diocese of Polynesia (Tikanga Pasefika)
2. Te Pohopitanga O Aotearoa (Tikanga Maori)
a. Hui Amorangi ki Te Tai Tokerau
b. Hui amorangi ki Te Manawa o te Wheke
c. Hui amorangi ki Te Tairawhiti
d. Hui Amorangi ki Te Upoko o te Ika
e. Hui Amorangi ki Te Waipounamu
3. Diocese of Auckland
4. Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki
5. Diocese of Waiapu
6. Diocese of Wellington
7. Diocese of Nelson
8. Diocese of Christchurch
9. Diocese of Dunedin

There are 3 Bishops in Polynesia
There are 5 Bishops in Pihopitanga (Maori)
There are 7 Diocesan Bishops in Tikanga Pakeha
There is 1 Assistant Bishop in Auckland Diocese

Total 16 Bishops in ACANZP

N.B. Tikanga Maori Bishops have right to special jurisdiction over Maori people in every Diocese of ACANZP

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 16 March 2014 at 11:11am GMT

Thank God for the Anglican Communion, long may it reign. The C of E would be greatly impoverished without it.

Posted by: Father David on Sunday, 16 March 2014 at 1:16pm GMT

Is Bishop Broadbent in the House of Bishops or the College of Bishops. I'm not sure but I think there is a difference. And is he self-interested when he defends himself as showing none of the unflattering characteristics or not. I'm not quite sure.

Posted by: commentator on Sunday, 16 March 2014 at 6:40pm GMT

I offer this with some hesitation, but am wondering how news of a press release that I thought showed refreshing transparency and conviction has become such a thoroughly mean-spirited thread? It seems to be open season for a wholesale rubbishing of the present leadership of the CofE. The only bishop named here with respect is nevertheless a ‘bigot’ – but a consistent one. The rest are dismissed en block, un-named but many ‘personally known’. So they know who they are presumably but are judged here without fear of contradiction. The only bishop to respond to this relentless negativity has his judgment questioned as he is a bishop and therefore self interested.
Lord who can stand?

Posted by: David Runcorn on Monday, 17 March 2014 at 10:48am GMT

I'm in the College (all bishops with a see or a licence are in the College). I'm also in the House as an elected suffragan from the Southern Province (the House is a creature of the Convocations and General Synod). As to whether I behave in the ways described - that's for others to judge. I don't think that any of the adjectives (drippy/self-interested/company men/spineless) describe me. You'd have to ask those who know me whether I'm self-deluded.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Monday, 17 March 2014 at 11:52am GMT

@ Pete Broadbent. I don't flatter myself that you are likely to care what a complete stranger thinks of you, but I did not have you in mind when I made my original comment. It wasn't a personal attack.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Monday, 17 March 2014 at 2:35pm GMT

David Runcorn do you not know, that lgbt folk have a low opinion of the bishops behaviour towards us over many years ?

Why would we want to pretend otherwise ? We tend to be honest, God help us.

Peter Broadbent was also disarmingly honest, when he wrote (above) :

'There's also the English cultural issue of priests who evince a mixture of reticence, false modesty and scheming. Many of the best candidates are genuinely nolo episcopari - '

Posted by: Revd Laurie Roberts on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 at 12:55am GMT

"I don't think there's much to learn from ECUSA, thanks."

Yeah. We aren't about to adopt your model of top down leadership, either. It seems devoid of spirit and even basic kindness, which can not be said of TEC. Unity with human rights abusers, really? Really?

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 at 12:28am GMT
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