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Sunday, 27 September 2020
This morning our 10 am service was a celebration of the Eucharist, and Father Stephen was with us as the Celebrant. The Church was decorated with lovely flowers which had been part of the wedding that had taken place on Saturday afternoon. The music before the service was two pieces from Frank Bridge's Six pieces for organ. During the Offertory the Choir sang John Henry Maunder's setting of the Hymn Rock of Ages with piano accompaniment. during communion Joanna played the Arabesque from the second book of Louis Vierne's 'Pieces en style libre' There was no voluntary.

We are working hard to keep to the Government and Church of England guidance on staying safe from covid 19, please when you are in church respect the guidance by using the hand sanitizer provided, wearing a face covering, and most importantly keeping the 2 meter distance, especially at the end of the service this is important to maintain, social interaction is very important, but as we are all getting harder of hearing, at this distance voices rise, so perhaps better to go out of church to chat!!!  

There is still time to order a Christmas cake or Pudding from Dr Platts, all profits to Church funds, last orders by October!

Please Note!!! Next Sunday we shall be celebrating Harvest. Our Service will start in the Barn opposite the path up to the Church leading from Church Farm Lane. We will meet there and at 9:45 bringing our harvest gifts and the process up to the Church to meet Father Stephen at the Altar where he will receive the gifts. If you are not able to take part in the procession you can meet us in Church at 10 am!!




Gustave Doré (1832-1883), Woodcut, ‘Am I a Pharisee?’


Dear Friends

Today’s gospel has much to do with authority, and particularly the authority of Jesus vis-à-vis the authority of the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus fearlessly goes straight into the lions’ den, so to speak – the Temple was a grandiose place, and the seat of religious authority, so a reaction was to be expected as the chief priests and the elders of the Temple ask him by what authority he teaches the crowd which has gathered around him, and also by what authority he performs acts of healing.

 Jesus cleverly uses the rabbis’ method of asking a question, rather than providing a direct response, as he enquires where, in their opinion, St John the Baptist’s baptism had come from – was it from heaven, or from some human origin?  This puts his interlocutors on the back foot, and sends them into a huddle to work out their best line of defence.  A political situation presents itself – they sense a trap whichever way they answer, and so reply that they do not know.  Jesus, in turn, replies, ‘neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’

 It is worth noting that Jesus uses the ‘I am’ phrase here and, if this narrative had been in St John’s Gospel, it could be interpreted as pointing, by implication, to his divine credentials – and thereby to the authority which is his.  However, Matthew may not be using the ‘I am’ phrase in this way.  In Jewish fashion, he tends to side-step the use of the holy name, which was considered dangerously irreverent, by referring instead to the ‘kingdom of heaven’.

 After this episode, and almost as an afterthought, Matthew adds the parable of the two sons.  It probably does not matter what their motives were.  The first son refuses to go into the vineyard, whereas the second, in rather ‘good goody’ vein, exercises one-upmanship by saying that he will go.  However, the message of the parable is that it is what the sons actually did, rather than what they said, that matters – the first son changes his mind and carries out the will of their father, whereas the second defaults on his promise.  Is Jesus saying here that we should not forfeit our place in the kingdom of heaven by capriciously changing our minds, and failing to carry out the will of God?

Fr Stephen. 



O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers
    of your people who call upon you;
and grant that they may both perceive and know
   what things they ought to do,
and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Philippians 2:1-13

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, 
any consolation from love, 
any sharing in the Spirit, 
any compassion and sympathy, 

make my joy complete: 
be of the same mind, 
having the same love, 
being in full accord and of one mind. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 

Let each of you look not to your own interests, 
but to the interests of others. 

Let the same mind be in you 
that was in Christ Jesus, 

who, though he was in the form of God, 
did not regard equality with God 
as something to be exploited, 

but emptied himself, 
taking the form of a slave, 
being born in human likeness. 
And being found in human form, 

he humbled himself 
and became obedient to the point of death— 
even death on a cross. 

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name 
that is above every name, 

so that at the name of Jesus 
every knee should bend, 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 

and every tongue should confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father. 

Therefore, my beloved, 
just as you have always obeyed me, 
not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, 
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 

for it is God who is at work in you, 
enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

Matthew 21:23-32

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

When Jesus entered the temple, 
the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, 
and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, 
and who gave you this authority?" 

Jesus said to them, 
"I will also ask you one question; 
if you tell me the answer, 
then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 

Did the baptism of John come from heaven, 
or was it of human origin?" 
And they argued with one another, 
"If we say, 
"From heaven,' 
he will say to us, 
"Why then did you not believe him?' 

But if we say, 
"Of human origin,' 
we are afraid of the crowd; 
for all regard John as a prophet." 

 So they answered Jesus, 
"We do not know." 
And he said to them, 
"Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 

"What do you think? 
A man had two sons; 
he went to the first and said, 
"Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 

He answered, "I will not'; 
but later he changed his mind and went. 

The father went to the second and said the same; 
and he answered, "I go, sir'; 
but he did not go. 

Which of the two did the will of his father?" 
They said, "The first." 
Jesus said to them, 
"Truly I tell you, 
the tax collectors and the prostitutes 
are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 

For John came to you in the way of righteousness 
and you did not believe him, 
but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; 
and even after you saw it, 
you did not change your minds and believe him. 
Sunday, 20 September 2020
This morning our service was Mattins, and our readings from the King James version of the Bible. The Choir were able to sing the Venite and the set Psalm, but the Te Deum and Benedictus were said by everyone. The Choir also sang some short hymns. It was lovely to have some choral music again, the choir sit in the south Transept socially distanced from each other and a long way from every one else so we feel 'covid secure'.
The weather continues to bless us, with warn sunshine late into September which also helps to keep us safe.


‘Jonah and the Whale’ – Icon, based on an original fresco at Meteora

Dear Friends

Both our readings this morning, from the third chapter of Jonah, and the parable about the landowner who chose to pay all his labourers equally (Matthew 20:1-16), are, among other themes, about God’s freedom to be merciful to whomever he chooses.  There are, as some commentators have noted, elements of comedy, or even pantomime, in the story of Jonah, the ‘reluctant preacher’, who, rather than being delighted with the positive response of the people of Nineveh to his message, goes into a sulk because God has decided not to inflict the city with the punishment which had been threatened.

In today’s reading, we join the narrative in the middle of a battle of wills between God and Jonah, with Jonah lashing out furiously, insisting that it is now better for him to die rather than live.  He is sitting in a self-made booth, in a desert area outside the city, waiting to see what will happen, when, in an almost ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ episode, God causes a large bush to grow which provides shade and, for a while, makes Jonah happy.  But then comes a reversal when, the next day, a worm attacks the bush which withers as fast as it grew.  And the reversal continues as the sun’s heat increases, augmented by a sultry wind.  Inevitably, Jonah starts to complain again and insists, when God asks if he is right to be angry, that he certainly is.  God, however, has the last word, pointing out that, just as Jonah is upset about losing a bush, which he had not caused to grow, so God can be upset about a city full of people and animals (it seems that the writer is an animal-lover) who do ‘not know their right hand from their left’.  It is a vivid story, which certainly highlights God’s boundless compassion – but it leaves us, perhaps, with unanswered questions.  We never hear what happened to Jonah, who is left sulking in the desert.  Did God get to the bottom of his anger and resistance to the people of Nineveh’s repentance? Why did God choose Jonah to carry his message to the city, when it might have been easier to choose someone less stubborn?

Perhaps, in addition to the generosity and compassion of God, the story carries a further message for us.  God has a way of undermining our religious trappings, to get at what is really underneath.  Even if we appear to be faithful disciples, what about our underlying motives and driving forces, our own besetting sins that we manage to cover up most of the time?  What are our equivalents of Jonah’s simmering and raging anger?  Jonah’s attitudes, after all, were not without foundation and were rooted in something deeper than mere chauvinism, since Assyria’s strategy for expansion was to deport the surviving peoples of conquered lands, including Jonah’s own people.  Nevertheless, God extends his sovereign mercy to the people of Nineveh, as well as to Jonah himself, and this, surely, gives us hope when we consider our own need for repentance.

Fr Stephen


God, who of thy generous mercy didst send the Holy Spirit 
     upon thy Church in the burning fire of thy love:
grant that thy people may be fervent
     in the fellowship of the gospel
that, ever abiding in thee,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 45:9-22

A reading from the book of Isaiah 

Woe to you who strive with your Maker, 
earthen vessels with the potter! 
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, 
"What are you making"? 
or "Your work has no handles"? 

Woe to anyone who says to a father, 
"What are you begetting?" 
or to a woman, "With what are you in labour?" 

Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, 
and its Maker: 
Will you question me about my children, 
or command me concerning the work of my hands? 

I made the earth, 
and created humankind upon it; i
t was my hands that stretched out the heavens, 
and I commanded all their host. 

I have aroused Cyrus in righteousness, 
and I will make all his paths straight; 
he shall build my city and set my exiles free, 
not for price or reward, says the Lord of hosts. 

Thus says the Lord: 
The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, 
and the Sabeans, tall of stature, 
shall come over to you and be yours, 
they shall follow you; 
they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. 
They will make supplication to you, saying, 
"God is with you alone, 
and there is no other; there is no god besides him." 

Truly, you are a God who hides himself, 
O God of Israel, the Savior. 

All of them are put to shame and confounded, 
the makers of idols go in confusion together. 

But Israel is saved by the Lord with everlasting salvation; 
you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity. 

For thus says the Lord, 
who created the heavens (he is God!), 
who formed the earth and made it 
(he established it; he did not create it a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!): 
I am the Lord, and there is no other. 

I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; 
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
"Seek me in chaos." 
I the Lord speak the truth, 
I declare what is right. 

 Assemble yourselves and come together, 
draw near, you survivors of the nations! 
They have no knowledge— 
those who carry about their wooden idols, 
and keep on praying to a god that cannot save. 

Declare and present your case; 
let them take counsel together! 
Who told this long ago? 
Who declared it of old? 
Was it not I, the Lord? 
There is no other god besides me, 
a righteous God and a Saviour; 
there is no one besides me. 

Turn to me and be saved, 
all the ends of the earth! 
For I am God, and there is no other. 

Matthew 20:1-16

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said to his disciples.

The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner 
who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 

After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, 
he sent them into his vineyard. 

When he went out about nine o'clock, 
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 

and he said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, 
and I will pay you whatever is right.' 
So they went. 

When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, 
he did the same. 

And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; 
and he said to them, "Why are you standing here idle all day?' 7

They said to him, "Because no one has hired us.' 
He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard.' 

When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, 
"Call the laborers and give them their pay, 
beginning with the last and then going to the first.' 

When those hired about five o'clock came, 
each of them received the usual daily wage. 

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; 
but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 

And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 

saying, "These last worked only one hour, 
and you have made them equal to us 
who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' 

But he replied to one of them, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; 
did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 

Take what belongs to you and go; 
I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 

Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? 
Or are you envious because I am generous?' 

So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Sunday, 13 September 2020

This morning we met at 10am for a celebration of the Eucharist. Father Stephen was the Celebrant, and for the first time since March we were able to have a small group of the choir sing part of the service. Seated at 2 m distance from each other and wearing visors and positioned in the south transept away from the rest of the congregation they were able to sing the Gloria, the responses the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei  using the setting by Dom Gregory Murray. It was lovely to hear voices singing in praise again in our church.

We were delighted to have the family of the couple who were having their Banns read with us, especially as the Grandparents of the Groom were with them, whom we know well, as the Grandfather is a former Church Warden!

So we give thanks to God for our church, and the ability to worship in it, as we pray for the control of the pandemic and the safety of every one.



William Blake, ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, c1799-1807, British Museum

Dear Friends

We come into church Sunday by Sunday, if we are able to, and one of the first things we do is to prepare ourselves for worship by saying the Collect for Purity, asking the Lord to cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit, and then, almost straight away, ‘confess our sins to Almighty God’ – a similar act of preparation and repentance.

This is not the same as a detailed examination of conscience such as is made during a personal ‘confession’ to a priest, but is part of the congregation coming together for worship.  It is a recognition that, as fallen humanity, we are all in need of forgiveness, something our Gospel reading for this Sunday (Matthew 18:21-35) is all about – if we wish to be forgiven, then we likewise should forgive those who are ‘indebted to us’.

Like prayer itself, this can be done anywhere, but somehow coming to church seems to help us to focus, and gives the act gravitas and particular meaning.  The Latin hymn ‘Locus Iste’, which is quite often heard in church of the feast of dedication, recalls the story of Jacob from the book of Genesis.  Jacob is making his way to his ancestral land and goes to sleep in the open with a stone on which to rest his head.  He dreams that a ladder is set up between earth and heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it.  When he wakes he exclaims, ‘This is none other than the house of God; this is the gateway to heaven.’  He anoints the stone he has used as a pillow and sets it up as a shrine.  Like his forefather Abraham in the narrative of the burning bush, he realises that certain places are holy because of the presence of God, and, from time immemorial, humans have established churches and places of worship which are reserved for prayer and ceremony, with the specific intention of giving the glory to God.

The current pandemic has given us a sense of deprivation as we can no longer gather in our normal way to worship together, but we can still pray and receive Holy Communion, albeit in one kind only for the time being.

It has been very gratifying to see some of our regular worshippers from the 8.00am services, as well as those who normally attend at 10.00am, coming along loyally and faithfully, devoutly receiving the host (from the Latin ‘hostias’, meaning ‘victim’, thus recalling Good Friday as well as the mystery of the Resurrection of Easter Sunday).

I’m sure that such loyalty and faithfulness will be repaid once the current crisis has passed, and that we shall appreciate all the more receiving Communion in its fullness Sunday by Sunday as soon as restrictions are lifted.

Fr Stephen

PS: Perhaps the best-known setting of ‘Locus Iste’ is by Anton Bruckner.


Almighty God,
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth:
through Jesus Chris your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Romans 14:1-12

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans

Welcome those who are weak in faith, 
but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 

Some believe in eating anything, 
while the weak eat only vegetables. 

Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, 
and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; 
for God has welcomed them. 

Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? 
It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. 
And they will be upheld, 
for the Lord is able to make them stand. 

Some judge one day to be better than another, 
while others judge all days to be alike. 
Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 

Those who observe the day, 
observe it in honor of the Lord. 
Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, 
since they give thanks to God; 
while those who abstain, 
abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God. 

We do not live to ourselves, 
and we do not die to ourselves. 

If we live, we live to the Lord, 
and if we die, we die to the Lord; 
so then, whether we live or whether we die, 
we are the Lord's. 

For to this end Christ died and lived again, 
so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? 
Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? 
For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 

For it is written, 
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, 
and every tongue shall give praise to God." 

So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Matthew 18:21-35

hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Peter came and said to Jesus, 
"Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, 
how often should I forgive? 
As many as seven times?"

Jesus said to him, 
"Not seven times, 
but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 

"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king 
who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 

When he began the reckoning,
 one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 

and, as he could not pay, 
his lord ordered him to be sold, 
together with his wife and children and all his possessions, 
and payment to be made. 

So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, 
"Have patience with me, 
and I will pay you everything.' 

And out of pity for him, 
the lord of that slave released him 
and forgave him the debt. 

But that same slave, as he went out, 
came upon one of his fellow slaves 
who owed him a hundred denarii;
and seizing him by the throat, he said, 
"Pay what you owe.' 

Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, 
"Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' 

But he refused; 
then he went and threw him into prison 
until he would pay the debt. 

When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, 
they were greatly distressed, 
and they went and reported to their lord 
all that had taken place. 

Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 
"You wicked slave! 
I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 

Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, 
as I had mercy on you?' 

And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured 
until he would pay his entire debt. 

So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, 
if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart."
Sunday, 6 September 2020
This morning we met at 10 am for our Family Eucharist, and to celebrate our Patronal Festival. St Mary our Lady has many days devoted to her, be we have taken the celebration of her birth as our Patronal festival. It was a great joy to see some of our families and children in church for this service. Sunday School has not yet resumed, and Mrs Field told us that the Sunday School team have decided to let everyone get used to the return to regular school, and we hope  to start again after half term.
Mrs Field gave us a presentation about St Mary, and her brave attitude to the scary prospect of becoming the mother of Our Lord, and absolute faith in God over this event and all the amazing events she was part of during Jesus ministry, Crucifixion and Resurrection.

The music played by Joanna today also reflected St Mary. Before the service we heard a suit from the Lebanese born composer Naji Hakim, 'Mariales' 5 pieces based on the Gregorian chant of an office hymn for the Blessed Virgin Mary.
During the service we had an offertoire from Leon Boellmann and the Arabesque from Louis Vierne's 'pieces en style libre' At the end Karg-Elert's setting of Nun Danket alle Gott' provided a suitably frstive note.

We had our first Churchyard working party on Saturday and the church yard is looking very good, thanks to all who have kept it tidy during the lockdown and have come back to our regular once a month working parties.

Don't forget to order your Christmas cakes and puddings proceeds to St Marys. order from Dr Platts before October!!

We had our first wedding since the lockdown on Saturday afternoon and were treated to the lovely flowers still in church this morning. Many congratulations to the happy couple!



Almighty God,
you called your Church to bear witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Almighty God,
who looked upon the lowliness of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and chose her to be the mother of your only Son:
grant that we who are redeemed by his blood
may share with her in the glory of your eternal kingdom;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Galatians 4:4-7

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians.

When the fullness of time had come, 
God sent his Son, born of a woman, 
born under the law, 

in order to redeem those who were under the law, 
so that we might receive adoption as children. 

And because you are children, 
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 
"Abba! Father!" 

So you are no longer a slave but a child, 
and if a child then also an heir, through God. 

Luke 2:22-40

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

When the time came for their purification 
according to the law of Moses, 
Mary and Joesph brought Jesus up to Jerusalem 
to present him to the Lord 

(as it is written in the law of the Lord, 
"Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), 

and they offered a sacrifice 
according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, 
"a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons." 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; th
is man was righteous and devout, 
looking forward to the consolation of Israel, 
and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 

It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit 
that he would not see death 
before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 

Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; 
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, 
to do for him what was customary under the law, 

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

"Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, 
according to your word; 

for my eyes have seen your salvation, 

which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 

a light for revelation to the Gentiles 
and for glory to your people Israel." 

And the child's father and mother 
were amazed at what was being said about him. 

Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, 
"This child is destined 
for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, 
and to be a sign that will be opposed 

so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—
and a sword will pierce your own soul too." 

There was also a prophet, Anna 
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was of a great age, 
having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 

then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. 
She never left the temple 
but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 

At that moment she came, and began to praise God 
and to speak about the child
to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 

When they had finished everything 
required by the law of the Lord, 
they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; 
and the favor of God was upon him. 

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. St Mary's Facebook page
  2. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  3. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  4. Prayer for today.
  5. The C of E youtube channel.
  6. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  7. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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