Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 31 March 2021

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Why Don’t You Just Leave?!

Anonymous Surviving Church A Bloody Shambles: Surviving Church Between Good Friday and Easter

Christopher Wells The Living Church Church Order: neither nostalgic no progressive

La Repubblica interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “What I learnt from Covid, the threat of cancel culture and the truth on Harry & Meghan’s wedding”

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Richard Cox
Richard Cox
16 days ago

For some reason I have been unable to comment on the interesting Surviving Church blog itself, but – in case anyone is interested – for further, and in some senses strikingly similar, thoughts, please also see: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/blog/easter-2020-lamb-who-was-slain-has-come-reign?fbclid=IwAR2zV5dFEIYgFzTrUwsHm1TMSb81B5br6m6izjVjIFLdL826kwp7rXqGvQQ

Kate
Kate
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard Cox

It is definitely interesting and very, very well written. My concern is that it is also highly introspective and focused entirely on justice within the Church which is a shame in a week in which a former police officer is on trial for the murder of George Floyd and the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil is still very much in the news. The criminal justice system is also as uncaring as the CDM and BST. I think building a discussion on justice from the two paintings was excellent writing, but I would have preferred it to talk about justice… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
14 days ago
Reply to  Kate

There’s a limit to what you can discuss in any depth within the restricted word length of a blog (usually about 1500 words for Surviving Church). Of course, you could try writing a blog about justice yourself.

Kate
Kate
13 days ago
Reply to  Janet Fife

I have written a lot for print publications so I know all about word count and there would have been no trouble fitting something.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
13 days ago
Reply to  Kate

It’s a matter of how many themes you can treat *at depth* within a word limit. You can skip lightly over the top of any number, but if you want to get to grips with complexities you have to limit your field.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
15 days ago
Reply to  Richard Cox

Thank you for the link to the 2020 homily from Christ Church, Oxford. As you say, some strikingly similar thoughts, and what a change from some other views I have read about the Carracci “Butcher’s Shop” painting, offering purely secular meanings and missing its spiritual significance. That seems to have been the case even at Christ Church itself when the painting formerly hung in their kitchen!

Warwickensis
Warwickensis
16 days ago

I remember being systematically forced out of the CofE, ten years ago this month. Thank God, I found a place to be and I have thrived. The question that always bugged me, though, is what would have happened to my opponents if the roles were reversed. I would not have been able to change their minds and, to be frank, their theology is always going to exist. Their minds will not be changed. I could demonise them but that would be an affront to their God-given humanity. If I truly loved them, then I surely would not want them to… Read more »

Anon
Anon
15 days ago
Reply to  Warwickensis

Thank you for this profound comment, Warwickensis. I too have taken the step to leave the CofE, and your comment has caused me to reflect on the same question. In the aftermath of my experience, I had initially intended to remain in the CofE. I live close to a diocesan boundary, and the neighbouring diocese is one which trusted friends speak of more favourably than my own, so that was very much an option. In the immediate aftermath, I went to a church in another denomination, just intending to bind my wounds and then return to the CofE, perhaps at… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
15 days ago

I read in one of the weekend papers a quote attributed to Churchill: ‘if you haven’t offended anyone then you haven’t stood up for something you believe in’. Like Jayne Ozanne I feel at times as though I’m one foot in and one foot out with the CofE. It is my home and it is my vocation but not at any price. We have to call out the abusers and their abusive behaviours if we are to stay sane. They hate that of course but perhaps it is only then that we know we are vindicated.

Kate
Kate
15 days ago

Welby (on Brexit)
 
“I think we’re much more over it than we were before the pandemic. You’ve absolutely put your finger on it, the pandemic has marginalised that, relativise that.”
 
There speaks a Brexiteer. In Scotland, for instance, the discussion has changed to cold anger which is likely to result in a vote for Scottish independence and rejoining the EU.

Susannah Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Yes, I think it is a particularly English perspective that they voted for Brexit, and it’s all water under the bridge now, so the discussion is over. The Scottish perspective is that we do not at all think the discussion is over.

Andrew
Andrew
14 days ago
Reply to  Kate

The Nationalists claim that another referendum is necessary because Scotland was taken out of the EU against its will. They have never accepted either the referendum in 2014 when Scots decided to stay in the UK, or the one in 2016 when the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU. A majority of Welsh voters decided to leave, as well as the English. Without the million or so Brexit-voting Scots, we’d still be in the bloc. The optimum time for Indy Ref 2 for the Nationalists was probably in the immediate aftermath of the 2019 general election when we… Read more »

Kate
Kate
15 days ago

Welby (on Living in Love and Faith):   “The key thing, it seems to me, is whether you think that you are defined as a human being: by your sexuality or by your faith in Jesus Christ?   That’s a pretty loaded response, and it is important to unpack the error in it. People aren’t “defined by [their] sexuality”, it is a question of how one can most successfully navigate life. Ideally all Christians would remain single but some of us function best in a marriage: with support we can achieve more; be happier and more productive, caring and giving… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

‘Ideally all Christians would remain single’. Did you really mean that Kate? On what possible basis do you make that statement. St Paul believed it but that was because he thought the end times were imminent. He got that wrong and the Church has had to live with the changed circumstances as the realisation slowly dawned on it. And the subsequent Christian preoccupations and proscriptions about sex were inherited from Platonism and old men’s fears of women and sex and were about power and control. Surely, people function best in relationship for all the reasons you advance. There is no… Read more »

Kate
Kate
14 days ago
Reply to  Richard Ashby

I am always reluctant to rely on Paul too. I agree his writing can be very context specific, and that context isn’t always clear. But that’s irrelevant because Jesus was single and is our role model. We shouldn’t need words from Paul or anyone else.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
14 days ago
Reply to  Kate

‘…Jesus was single and is our role model.’ Whatever you might think that ‘Imitatio Christi’ means, it doesn’t mean that we should all adopt the lifestyle of an itinerant penniless preacher in first century Palestine any more than that we should all convert to Judaism. As for needing only Jesus’ words, much of what he is recorded to have said is contradictory, and mediated through those who wrote decades after his death as well as through translation. It’s the job of us all to be intelligent and thinking in teasing out the intention and meaning behind the various subtleties of… Read more »

Susannah Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

“People aren’t asking for same sex relationships because they identify as gay more than as a Christian – that’s a very false dichotomy: people are asking for same sex relationships because they can live a more fulfilled Christian life in a relationship than single, because they find someone they love, and the sexual orientation bit is frankly an irrelevance.” Very good comment. Sexuality is not an alternative to a Christ-centred life. It is part of the flourishing, wholeness, and fullness of life that God wants all of us to enter into. By posing it as a dichotomy… an either/or… Justin… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

An individual may not define themselves by their sexuality or gender but sadly others do. This is why we have things like the Sex Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act, Race Discrimination Act. People are discriminated against for being who they are and not white, male and in a position of power. The interview with the ABC shows great ignorance of the struggle of people which is on going. LLF is part of this struggle and mirrors the drive towards silencing of difference and what is non binary while pretending to engage. This is an interview which really reveals why the… Read more »

Kate
Kate
15 days ago

Welby (on Harry and Meghan): “The legal wedding was on the Saturday. I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false. “   That’s sophistry and someone with theological training like the Archbishop of Canterbury knows it. For instance, Hindus in Britain have both a “legal wedding” to quote the Archbishop of Canterbury and a religious wedding. I suspect Meghan was telling the truth and that the couple, with the cooperation of the Archbishop, actually did enter into what they saw as… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

I read from somewhere in the US that Meghan had subsequently admitted that there was no ‘marriage’ in the garden of Kensington Palace, the polite explanation being that she had ‘misunderstood’. One hopes that was equally true of her husband. Cantuar is completely right not to discuss such intimate details publicly. He has been put in a position of unnecessary embarrassment over this whole affair. The couple were prepared for Christian marriage in the C of E, as required by the Canons, like any other. This is confirmed by what the Dean of Windsor said in a video recorded before… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate: I should have added to my comment that as well as the C of E’s own Canons, the Marriage Act 1949 imposes explicit requirements for a valid C of E wedding. The idea that people can opt out and do their own thing simply doesn’t hold water. This is the law of the land, and there are no exceptions. Other denominations and other faiths don’t come into this particular discussion. This was all set out in detail here on TA at the time of the furore caused by that interview on US television.

Kate
Kate
14 days ago

Which is why Justin very carefully referred to their “legal wedding” rather than more broadly their wedding. Can you really not see that for an archbishop to stress “legal wedding” rather than sacrament is pretty pointed evidence that reinforces Meghan’s view that they were “married” in some sense beforehand? Why else would Justin use the phrase “legal wedding”?

NJW
NJW
13 days ago
Reply to  Kate

There is a particular and specific point that a priest in the Church of England is not allowed to conduct a marriage if they know that a previous ceremony has taken place. If the Archbishop had solemnised or allowed to be solemnised a marriage according to the rites of the Church of England when he knew that the couple were already married (or perceived to be married), he would have committed a basic breach of marriage law – which in his position would have been extraordinary. The legal guidance on marriages is very clear that there can only be one… Read more »

Robin Ward
Robin Ward
13 days ago
Reply to  NJW

This is not the case, as Canon B36 says.

NJW
NJW
11 days ago
Reply to  Robin Ward

Canon B36.1 refers to a religious service following a civil ceremony – for which provision is made under Canon B2 in the form of ‘An Order of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage’. Canon B36.2 is quite specific that any service should not be connected with banns, licence or certificate and that the registers should not be completed. Hence the service that took place in St George’s Chapel would have contravened Canon B36, taking the form of a service that had been preceded by special licence, where the minister acted as registrar, and which was entered in the marriage… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
10 days ago
Reply to  NJW

A priest can read the marriage liturgy over a couple as many times as he or she and the couple likes, provided there is only one set of preliminaries and one registration.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
11 days ago
Reply to  Robin Ward

I didn’t intend to return to the fray, but I have only just seen this comment and NJW’s response. From Canon 36.1 “If any persons have contracted marriage before the civil registrar under the provisions of the statute law … ” etc. That was clearly not the case here. I don’t know how many times section 22 of the Marrige Act 1949 has been quoted in these discussions since the claim was made that there had been an earlier marriage. It states “All marriages solemnized according to the rites of the Church of England shall be solemnized in the presence of… Read more »

NJW
NJW
9 days ago

In line with what Rowland states, the advice from the GRO on the two points is: “If the couple wish to have two valid marriage ceremonies performed on the same day, they should be advised that this is not possible. The couple could choose to have either a religious marriage ceremony or a civil marriage ceremony followed by a religious blessing.” and “A couple who are already lawfully married cannot choose to re-marry each other, unless there is some doubt as to the validity of the earlier marriage [and] where…the couple merely wish to go through another marriage ceremony with… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

I think that is a bit harsh to old JW. When answering trap questions from a journalist, a little bit of sophistry is excusable. He doesn’t want to trigger the headline ” Archbish says Megan a liar” or ” Welby’s fake wedding” or anything similar. He is sensible not to even start commenting on private matters because there will be one follow-up question after another. So he talks about a hypothetical situation and leaves us to join the dots. And in this he is following the example of Christ who also made evasive answers to trap questions on occasions.

Kate
Kate
14 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

That’s well argued if it was a trap question but I am not certain it was.

Susannah Clark
15 days ago
Reply to  Kate

True marriage before God is not dependent on civil legalities. If their promises to each other, pre-public service, were deeply meaningful to them… more than the rigmarole of the big public event… then may God bless those promises and give them grace in all their years to come.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
15 days ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I’m sure we all share your wish for their future. But ‘civil legalities’ are necessary when it comes to such matters as property rights, inheritance and legitimacy of children. Those are virtually non-existent without a legal marriage.

Kate
Kate
14 days ago

Which is exactly the point. The televised wedding was the legal civil ceremony but the couple thought they were married in the garden and a) that’s a reasonable view of marriage before God as Susannah explains and ) that’s what they understood at the time, even if their ‘misunderstanding’ has been corrected.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
14 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Very sad, to me, that a Solemnisation of Holy Matrimony could be termed a ‘rigmarole’. I can see no valid objection to the archbishop’s statement. He is right to refer to it as a pastorally private matter. Can we now just leave it there.

Kate
Kate
14 days ago

The couple were paraded like circus animals for a public spectacle. Of course it was a rigmarole in those circumstances. I suspect that the experience is part of why they decided to retire from royal life. Some people can treat it as an actor does a stage performance – they obviously can’t and I don’t think they should be criticised for that.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
13 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Comments on this subject are all over the place on this thread, but I gratefully adopt all that NJW has written to you on this subject, and there isn’t really any more to be said. In fact, if you read the material here and on earlier threads all of it has been said already, chapter and verse fully set out for you. There is a limit to how much people like me (and NJW) having gone to a fair amount of trouble, can or should have to repeat ourselves and be contradicted by personal opinions which don’t stand up in… Read more »

Richard
Richard
9 days ago
Reply to  Kate

You wrote that they were “paraded like circus animals for a public spectacle.” Do you think the big wedding was against their wishes? Would Meghan have preferred only close family attend… instead of A-list celebrities? This was a very grand affair, especially for a divorcee. I do not believe they were “led to the slaughter.”

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
14 days ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

The interiorization theme is now our dominant (Western) cultural filter, one supposes. ‘Deeply meaningful to them/us/me’ is now the standard. If one so wishes, one can also gloss that with ‘the deity.’ So even if MM had it successfully explained to her that she didn’t get ‘married’ prior to the ‘marriage,’ the ‘deeply meaningful to them marriage’ may have more significance in our present frame of reference. The license, preparation, publicly witnessed and consented to vows before God, and so forth, is a (vastly expensive) external shell. And so her instinct was to declare it such. The tut-tutting of Archbishops… Read more »

Susannah Clark
9 days ago
Reply to  C R SEITZ

There is marriage ‘the legal document’ and marriage ‘of hearts and minds’. I am fine with both being part of a commitment, but I certainly prioritise the second over the first. The quality of the relationship and life commitment between two people is essentially more important and more substantial than the legal paperwork that, like a picture frame, contains the picture. . I think marriage is wonderful and precious as a personal, a communal, and a faith expression before God. So I think it’s great when both the formal/legal and the personal are brought together – before God, before the… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Susannah Clark
Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
14 days ago
Reply to  Susannah Clark

I think that is highly debatable. There is a very strong and significant historic link between the sacrament of marriage in church and the legality of what it effects. I’m sure God is happy and capable of blessing the good intent of promises between people in love – but that is not the same as marriage, which is a very particular state of being. I think it more accurate to say that Christian theology and liturgy allows the utterly legalistic state of being that is marriage to be brought before God and blessed. (Which is why I have always thought… Read more »

Kate
Kate
13 days ago

Which is part of way merely blessing same sex marriages will not be an acceptable compromise.

Richard
Richard
14 days ago
Reply to  Kate

It is only the “legal” wedding that has legal standing. The CofE, as the church by law established, requires witnesses. There were none; Justin did not sign anything. At Orthodox weddings, there are no vows. The couple make promises to God, facing the altar, not each other. Vows can be exchanged at another time, for example the rehearsal dinnoer or the reception. The wedding is the event with an officiant who signs a document. The Arcbishop was clearly providing a pastoral service to the couple, but it was not a wedding. If they consider that exchange of vows to be… Read more »

Kate
Kate
14 days ago
Reply to  Richard

“It is only the “legal” wedding that has legal standing. The CofE, as the church by law established, requires witnesses.”

True. But equally vows given before God can create a Christian marriage even if it isn’t recognised in law. (That was the situation with Roman Catholic weddings until not very long ago so it has to be the case.)

NJW
NJW
13 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Except that if that is the case, then the law is clear – that if such a prior marriage was deemed to exist and not dissolved, then the legal ceremony had no legal effect.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
15 days ago

Both Jayne Ozanne and Anonymous wonder whether it would be better to go than to stay. Whether going not only sends important signals but would reduce our stress and anxiety and do wonders for our mental health while staying achieves absolutely nothing. It would be so easy to go. The past year has destroyed much of what kept us in the community: the easy fellowship, the shared experiences or worship and volunteering, practical things like coffee after service and a café where you could be sure of meeting someone you knew, the meetings and the seminars, the study groups and… Read more »

Michael
Michael
14 days ago
Reply to  Richard Ashby

Richard Ashby – 100% my thoughts. I will be leaving the Church of England on Easter Monday after 40 years. I have regularly emailed the local vicar, the archdeacon, the bishop, for a whole year. My fundamental question – which they refuse to answer – is this: by what authority does the local vicar on a Sunday morning celebrate communion twice in his living room, sometimes live streamed, sometimes pre-recorded back to back a day or so earlier. There is no authority either in Scripture or tradition or rubrics. He is sending out a very clear message. Only he is… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael

There is at least one C of E church, St Nicholas, Wallasey, providing Communion in both kinds. Communicants bring their own receptacles .

https://www.stnicholaswallasey.co.uk/page/45/services-april-2021

I realise this is no use to you but shows that where there is a will there is a way.

Having failed to get a satisfactory response from the staff (bishop, archdeacon, vicar) have you considered writing to your representatives on synods or PCC, churchwardens (whose duty is to represent the laity), or your MP?

Michael
Michael
13 days ago
Reply to  T Pott

T Pott thanks for your very helpful response. Unfortunately there is a solid brick wall made up of bishop-vicar-PCC. There are no churchwardens which may be unusual in an English market town. The PCC comprises two married couples (there were three until recently) and six others. It is impossible to break in and join them. I wrote to the PCC secretary to ask for my objections to be placed on record but he declined. I am free to attend town council meetings, to ask questions, to read the minutes. It is the opposite with the PCC. They are making decisions… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
12 days ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael

I am sorry that you have decided to leave the Church of England but hope you will not leave Thinking Anglicans. I too have had experience of the secretiveness of the Church of England which has given me a jaundiced attitude towards the institution.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael, I hope you find a church where you can have the sacraments and feel truly at home among the congregation.

Kate
Kate
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael

Michael, I feel for you.

Anon
Anon
14 days ago
Reply to  Richard Ashby

Richard, thank you for this. I have wrestled with some of the same questions. There were some positives from my involvement in the CofE. My final incumbent was probably one of the great formative influences on my life, and first persuaded me to consider leading worship. If I hadn’t received that invitation from him, I doubt that I would have ever reached that point myself. We are still in contact, and he has been supportive of me in my decision that I don’t feel that I can walk further with the CofE. However, on a whole, I do feel conned,… Read more »

John Wallace
John Wallace
13 days ago
Reply to  Anon

I have in these times been tempted but see that other churches, certainly around me are just as failing and I could not accept their theology. The joy of the C of E still is its breadth of churchmanship and theology. I would feel so constrained in any other church. God has entrusted the Gospel to ‘frail earthen vessels and things of no worth’. As such we persevere. I pray for those of you who are leaving that what you find will be supportive and not a ‘frying pan into the fire’ situation. Easter blessings to all who follow Thinking… Read more »

Anon
Anon
13 days ago
Reply to  John Wallace

John, I felt for a long time like you, and would not have contemplated leaving the CofE. However, I increasingly suspect that the picture varies dramatically from one diocese to the next. Ultimately, I could no longer stand our local diocesan bishop tolerating bullying behaviour from their clergy which would have seen me (and probably many others) presented to a disciplinary hearing if I had behaved in a similar way in my secular employment. I will be honest, I really struggle to get my head around this paradox regarding an institution which professes to proclaim Christ Crucified, even whilst realising… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
13 days ago

During the Church’s ‘Great Triduum’ – the Great Three Days when we consider the dereliction, death, and rising of Christ at Easter; it is time for the Church of England’s leadership to listen to the cries of people like Jayne Ozanne, whose inspirational ministry of encouragement of the LGBT+ people in the Church is still being resisted by the Church. At a time when even Pope Francis is publicly acknowledging the existence of a class of people whose sexuality-gender makeup is different from the binary ‘norm’ (see his latest 2-hour documentary recently broadcast on New Zealand television); surely the Church… Read more »

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
13 days ago

RE: La Repubblica interviews the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: “What I learnt from Covid, the threat of cancel culture and the truth on Harry & Meghan’s wedding” Lord Lexden OBE writing in the Daily Telegraph yesterday – Good Friday: SIR – Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, states: “We can’t erase the past…We have to learn from it” [report, March 31]. He ought to have learnt from the recent past that when an error is made, correction and apology must follow. The process by which the Church decided in 2015, with his approval, that Bishop George Bell had abused a young girl… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Michael
Michael
13 days ago

Moral failure sums it up. Also in the Daily Telegraph today, the latest madness from the Government. Lord Greenhalgh, a government adviser, states that singing in church is currently only permitted by a handful of church singers and only if it is an essential act of worship. I wasn’t aware that some worship is not essential, although the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote a year ago that all public worship is non essential. So why is he in Canterbury Cathedral tomorrow? Lord Greenhalgh also raises the prospect of coronavirus vaccination passports in a church setting. According to him, the Government has… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
12 days ago
Reply to  Michael

It’s surprising how the authorities have so readily capitulated to online ‘worship’ and rendered ‘in-person’ worship an exclusive activity for the privileged few. It seems to go against the ethos of what church entails. As you say, it’s as though the laity were lepers – a potential Covid hazard to be kept out. And yet there is very little outcry from those who normally bang on about the excluded and marginalized. It was left to Judge Lord Braid to rule against the Scottish administration’s ban on public worship as a breach of human rights. In respect of online ‘worship’ he said:… Read more »

Tim Chesterton
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

That might be an alternative to worship but it is not worship’

Wow. What an incredibly judgemental thing to say. And what a slap in the face to those of us who have worked so hard to keep our worshipping communities together through all the restrictions of Covid.

Jo B
Jo B
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

As someone who practised spiritual communion before it became widespread these last 12 months (I live in a remote area that makes regular reception impossible) I find the contempt with which it is treated by some folk baffling. It is not, to be sure, the fullness of the sacrament, but it is most certainly worship. That we should forego receiving temporarily in order to protect our brothers and sisters in Christ seems to be a no-brainer, and the vehemence of the objections seems both disproportionate and to reflect pastoral relationships that had broken down pre-covid.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael

I am so sorry to hear your dilemma. We have had in person worship for many months now. You have to make a reservation. The space is carefully cordoned off to keep proper distance. Face masks required. Individual (pre-consecrated) wafers are collected when one enters, from baskets, and we commune in the pew at the proper time. To the best of my knowledge there have been NO cases of covid spread in our church or in the diocese.

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