Video Shares Highlights of March for America
On Saturday, July 23, Muslims hosted a March for America to denounce violence in general and any individuals or organizations, such as ISIS, that use the name Muslim or Islam as they seek to achieve their religious or political goals by the use of violence. Playing a major organizing role in the event was Imam Muhammad Musri, who’s not only the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, but also president of ISLAM, Inc., the nationwide organization that was the moving force behind the event. A highlights video of the event is now available for viewing.
“Friends Talking Faith” with The Three Wise Guys
Hear the varied perspectives of the Rev. Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri as each week they discuss how faith impacts both the simple and the complex aspects of life. These three clergy come together as friends to discuss topics from the perspective of the different religions they represent. They contend that “good religion works for peace, respects and values others regardless of their religious perspective, and works through acts of compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.” Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys airs on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm on 90.7 WMFE FM in Orlando. Tune in on your radio or listen online. You can also listen to any show already aired. On September 6 the program, titled “Overcoming Terrorism, Violence and Hate,” will feature a follow-up discussion about the July 23 March for America. The September 13 program, titled “The Politics of Immigration,” will feature a conversation with Sister Ann Kendrick of Apopka’s Hope CommUnity Center(1016 North Park Avenue, Apopka, FL 32712). The September 20 and 27 programs will address the ongoing national political conversation and how faith often informs and guides decisions regarding those issues.
For the Bible Tells Me So to Screen at Valencia East
In light of the June 12 Pulse tragedy and the conversations it has provoked about the role religion has played and still plays in society’s inclusion or exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, a number of organizations are collaborating on a screening of the 2007 multi-award-winning documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, directed by Daniel Karslake. The screening will be on Friday, September 9, at 6:00 pm at the Performing Arts Center on Valencia College’s East Campus (701 North Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando, FL 32825). The documentary is the first comprehensive look on film at the issue of homosexuality and religion—or, more specifically, homosexuality and the Bible. The screening, which is free, will be followed by a panel and discussion. For more information click here, send an email to Valencia College’s Peace and Justice Institute or phone 407-582-2709.
Mount Dora to Host ‘Mini Global Peace Film Festival’
The weekend of September 9 to 11, residents of Mount Dora and vicinity can get a foretaste of what the annual Global Peace Film Festival is like—and they won’t even have to drive to Orlando for the privilege. The films are coming to them. And for those who live elsewhere but love the ambiance of Mount Dora’s individualistic eateries and specialty boutiques, throwing a film into the mix might just be the necessary incentive to get an excursion on the schedule. In all, four films will be screened—one on Friday night, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. All will be shown at Modernism Museum Mount Dora (145 East Fourth Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757). Click here for times and ticket prices.
School Bullying Affects Sikh, Muslim, Hindu Students
“More than half of Sikh, Muslim and Hindu children [in the United States] have faced bullying at school because of their religion, according to advocacy organizations associated with these faiths.” So says a recent article on the Religion News Service website. So “for the first time, the government will begin collecting data on religion-related harassment in U.S. public schools. . . . Scholars who have studied religious discrimination applaud educators’ efforts to help students embrace religious differences. But parents, they say, remain essential to ending such bullying, whether their child is the bully or the bullied.” Click here to read the entire article.
Annual Caribbean Health Summit Set for September 10
The 14th Annual Caribbean Health Summit—sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention, Inc.—will be held Saturday, September 10, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm in the Commercial Building at the Central Florida Fairground (4603 West Colonial Drive, Orlando FL 32808). The event will feature free health screenings and health information. Screenings include PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), Cholesterol, Glucose, Eye Exam, Dental Exam, BMI (Body Mass Index), Blood Pressure, HIV (and other sexually transmitted diseases) and more. Mammograms can be scheduled by phoning 407-648-9440 ext. 13. Also featured will be Disney Kids and Family Zone. For more information, phone 407-648-9440.
Catholics to Host Forum on Political Responsibility
Good Shepherd Catholic Church (5900 Oleander Drive, Orlando, FL 32807) will host a forum on Sunday, September 11, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, titled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.” Deborah Stafford Shearer, director of the Office of Advocacy and Justice at the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, will share “why it is important for Catholics to be informed, and how to form our conscience for engagement in public policy.” For more information, email Lizette Hernandez, Youth Ministry Coordinator, or phone 321-217-5362 or 407-277-3939.
Opera Orlando to Host Pulse Tribute Concert
In response to the tragic event at Pulse nightclub on June 12, Opera Orlando is coordinating a tribute concert, “One Voice Orlando—a Celebration in Song,” at the
Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts (445 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801) on Sunday night, September 11, at 8:00 pm. This benefit concert will feature some of opera’s brightest national stars and musicians from throughout Florida. Internationally renowned David Charles Abell will conduct. Legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes and News 13’s Ybeth Bruzual will be the evening’s hosts. Performers include soprano Ana Maria Martinez, tenor Javier Abreu and baritone Davis Gaines. Opera Orlando will be joined by the Orlando Ballet; a full orchestra with professional players from across Central Florida; and an opera chorus of more than 150 voices from opera companies throughout the state of Florida including Opera Tampa; St. Petersburg Opera; Opera Naples; First Coast Opera; and others. All performers are donating their services to help maximize the funds going to charity. In fact, Opera Orlando and its partners in this benefit concert have selected as proceed recipients several Central Florida organizations that work to build understanding of our region’s diversity and address the interpersonal challenges that many people in their community face every day. The charities are: the Orlando LGBTQ Community Center; Proyecto Somos Orlando; the Holocaust Center’s “UpStanders: Stand Up To Bullying Initiative;” the Interfaith Council of Central Florida; and the Zebra Coalition, which helps LGBTQ youth. But it was the Orlando Health’s Level One Trauma Center that was the impetus for the benefit concert, as a response to all of their work during and around the tragedy. Click here to purchase tickets.
New Interactive ‘Religious Landscape Study’ Released
The Pew Research Center, a specialist in providing “numbers, facts and trends shaping your world,” has made it unbelievably easy to get a detailed picture of what’s going on in just about every nook and cranny of the United States when it comes to faith and non-faith. So rather than trying to summarize that which is too broad to be summarized, it seems the best approach is for you to check out their interactive report for yourself. Just click here.
Interfaith Series to Begin in Casselberry on Sep 12
The public is invited to a free one-hour, once-a-month series of presentations on different faith traditions, which is being held at 3:00 pm on the second Monday of each month at the Lake of the Woods Clubhouse (300 Carolwood Point, Fern Park, Casselberry). The series, which ran from February through May earlier this year and then took a summer hiatus, is now resuming. It is titled: “Parallel Beliefs—A Comparative Study.” At each session the speaker presents for half an hour, followed by half an hour of questions from the audience. Upcoming dates, faith traditions and speakers are: September 12, Zoroastrianism; speaker Sarvar Demehri is one of only about 40 Zoroastrians in the Central Florida area, but her religion is one of the world’s oldest. October 10, Hinduism; speaker Anil Deshpande has resided in Central Florida for some 40 years and is active in the local Hindu community. November 14, Unitarian Universalism; speaker Rev. Kathy Schmitz is minister at First Unitarian Church of Orlando on Robinson Street. December 12, Humanism/Atheism; joint speakers David and Jocelyn Williamson are active in the Central Florida Freethought Community and the Florida Humanist Association. For more information, phone 321-228-4599. Click here for directions.
Documentary The Raising of America to Be Screened
The Orange County Children’s Cabinet will host a special screening of the documentary The Raising of America on Tuesday, September 13, from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm at Marks Street Senior Recreation Center (99 East Marks Street, Orlando, FL 32803). The film examines the questions: Why are so many children in America faring so poorly? What are the implications for the nation’s future? How can we, as a nation, do better? The series investigates these questions through different lenses: What does science tell us about the enduring importance of early life experiences on the brain and body? What is it like to be a parent today? And what policies and structures help or hinder the raising of healthy, happy and compassionate children? Click here to watch an extended trailer for the film. A panel discussion featuring local experts on early childhood will follow the screening. Admission is free and open to the community. Please share this information with your friends.
Interfaith Discussion: What Can We Do About Bigotry?
“How Can We Prevent Bigotry From Taking Root? How Can We Eradicate Bigotry When It Already Exists? What Is Bigotry? And What Does Your Faith Tradition Have to Say About It?” The foregoing questions and more will be addressed at the monthly Interfaith Discussion on Wednesday evening, September 14, sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. The discussion is held from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Adventist University of Health Sciences (671 Winyah Drive, Orlando, FL 32803) on Florida Hospital’s main campus. The exchanges are respectful, open and candid, and the participants represent a variety of faith traditions as well as those who question the validity of faith altogether. For directions to the meeting place, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited.
Hindu University to Host Seminar on Peacebuilding
The Mahatma Gandhi Center for Non-Violence, Human Rights and World Peace at the Hindu University of America (5200 Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32811) is conducting a one-day seminar on Peacebuilding, on Saturday, September 17. Registration will be between 8:30 and 9:30 am. The format will include individual presentations, panels and considerable conversation and dialogue. Topics will include: Peacebuilding through Religion; Peacebuilding by Overcoming Barriers of Race, Ethnicity and Color; Using Tools of Law, Rights and Equality for Peacebuilding; Building Peace: Ways of Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Confucius and other Spiritual Leaders and Philosophers. A light vegetarian lunch will be served at 1:00 pm. The event will conclude at 5:15 pm. The goal of the event is to engage academicians, policymakers, businesspeople and leaders from religious and other interest groups in discussing the challenges of and opportunities for Peacebuilding. Click here for more information and to register.
Theologian Ellen Ott Marshall to Lead Workshop
Finding hope and peace amidst chaos and tragedy is the focus of a one-day workshop titled “Habits for Hard Times,” to be conducted from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, on Saturday, September 17, at First United Methodist Church of Orlando, (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, FL). The workshop will be led by Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Trans-formation at Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Atlanta). Dr. Marshall’s work focuses on the virtues of peace and hope, examining how Christians can appropriately respond to the discord, division, hatred and violence that is so prevalent in our world. She is the author of Choosing Peace through Daily Practices; Religion and Conflict Transformation: Essays in Faith, Power, and Relationship; Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom: Toward a Responsible Theology of Christian Hope; and Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics. Currently she’s working on a new book on how to live well in the midst of ongoing conflict. The workshop, which is free of charge, is open to the church and the community. (Lunch will be available between the morning and afternoon sessions for $15.) Online registration is appreciated but isn’t required. For more information, phone 407-849-6080.
Exercise Is Perfect Elixir for Brain, Doctor Says
John J. Ratey, MD—
author of the books SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
and Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization,
both of which discuss the importance of physical activity and play and its effect on the brain—will speak at the Bush Auditorium, Rollins College
, on Monday, September 19, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Dr. Ratey serves as associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is an internationally recognized expert in ADHD, autism and aggression. He has spent his career teaching and helping many
audiences understand how to take care of their brains, focusing on exercise as a tool. His work is frequently profiled in the media, where he’s been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS
, as well as in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, US News
and World Report, Men’s Health
and other national publications. The September 19 presentation, sponsored by the Rollins Center for Health Innovation
, is free of charge and the public is invited. No reservations or tickets required. Parking is available in the Suntrust Parking Garage at 203 East Lyman Avenue, Winter Park, FL. For more information, phone 407-646-2130
. A book signing will follow Dr. Ratey’s presentation.
Valencia College West Campus to Host Religion Fair
On Tuesday, September 20, a Religion Fair will be held on the West Campus of Valencia College (1800 South Kirkman Road, Orlando, FL 32811) from 10:00 to 11:15 am in Room 105 of the Health Service Building (HSB). Representatives of an array of faith traditions/worldviews will staff tables, pass out materials and answer questions concerning the worldview to which they subscribe. At11:30 am a group religious leaders from the community will participate in a panel discussion titled: “How Does My Faith Welcome LGBT People—a conversation with local clergy about how different religions address human sexuality.”
Global Peace Film Festival to Run from September 20 to 25
Central Florida’s annual Global Peace Film Festival, now in its 14th year, will, from September 20 to 25, be stimulating thought and stirring action on an array of socially and morally important issues. So plan to take advantage of as many of the movies as possible during this high point of Central Florida’s events calendar. The films, the venues, the discussion opportunities—they’re all in place and ready for you. Check out the GPFF website for screening schedules, screening venues, details of discussions and panels and a list of films, their descriptions and much more. Don’t miss out on this highly informative and thought-provoking opportunity. To learn more about how the Global Peace Film Festival came about, and to meet the person whose singlemindedness not only got it off the ground but has kept it going, click here. Not only can you enjoy attending the films, you can also enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes from volunteering to help. Spread the word about the festival to your friends, neighbors, relatives and even the strangers you meet on the street! Why keep quiet when something so good is there for everyone!
Collegiate Reporter Takes Quick Look at Baha’i Faith
The Interfaith Youth Core, a collegiate interfaith organization, is creating a series of brief, breezy, casual, colloquial—but definitely friendly and supportive—videos that look at the world’s various faith traditions. To learn a smattering of facts about the Baha’i faith from the IFYC, click here. To learn even more, click here. To learn even more and be able to ask questions, go hear Dr. Sheri Dressler speak at First Unitarian Church of Orlando on Wednesday night, November 2 (see item below for details). In fact, you might want to attend the entire series.
First Unitarian to Host Series About ‘Faith Neighbors’
First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1901 East Robinson Street, Orlando, FL 32803) will begin a nine-week Wednesday-night series on September 21, titled “Conversation With Our Faith Neighbors.” The series, which will run weekly until Wednesday night, November 16, will feature the following speakers and faith traditions: Sep 21, Rabbi David Kay, Judaism; Sept 28, Rev. Dr. Jason Micheli, Christianity; Oct 5, Imam Hatim Hamidullah, Islam; Oct 12, Rana Tiwari, Hinduism; Oct 19, Dr. Claudia Schippert, Buddhism; Oct 26, Navtej Khalsa, Sikhism; Nov 2, Dr. Sheri Dressler, Baha’i; Nov 9, (speaker to be confirmed), Unitarian Universalism; Nov 16, David and Jocelyn Williamson, Atheism/Humanism. Each event will begin at 6:00 pm with a light meal, followed at 6:40 pm by a short time of guided reflection, based on the faith of the evening’s presenter. The presentation will start at 7:00 pm and run for half an hour, followed by half an hour of audience questions. At 8:00 pm there will be refreshments and a social time, during which the conversation and questions can continue. To ensure that the right amount of food is prepared, those planning participate in the meal are asked to RSVP by email no later than Tuesday at 10:00 am (i.e. the day before each event). For more information, phone 407-898-3621. Child care is available with RSVP. The series if free and the public is invited.
Sikh Answers Common-But-Not-Always-Asked Questions
Would I be considered rude if I were to ask people whose religious practice includes non-mainstream attire why they dress as they do? It probably depends on how I ask. But Rupinder Singh
, a turban-wearing Sikh, volunteers the answers before
questioners can ask! Not only will you smile from time to time as you read his lighthearted explanations, you’ll also learn some things about Sikhism
that you probably might not have known. Now enjoy “11 things you wanted to know about my turban but were too afraid to ask
World-Renowned Surgeon and Author to Speak Sep 21
Dr. Atul Gawande—renowned surgeon and author of the books Complications; Better; The Checklist Manifesto; and, most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End—will discuss aging, death and how medicine can improve the process of these inevitable conditions, when he delivers a lecture (with the same title as his latest book) at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 21, at Walt Disney Theater in the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (445 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801). Dr. Gawande says the ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life—all the way to the very end. Dr. Gawande is a writer, professor, public health researcher and surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston). His bold vision for improving performance and safety in health care have made him one of the nation’s leading speakers in medicine. Florida Hospital is hosting Dr. Gawande as part of its Distinguished Lecture Series. These unique programs feature experts who discuss leading issues in health care and diverse medical topics. The goal of the Distinguished Lecture Series, traditionally hosted at Florida Hospital Orlando, is to educate and equip our community with the tools they need to improve their health and wellness. For more information and to register, click here. Seating is limited. Admission is free with RSVP, but garage and parking fees apply. Click here for parking options.
Interfaith Evening of Sacred Music: We Pray for Peace
Stetson University Interfaith Initiatives, the Deland Meditation Support Group and other faith-based organizations are collaborating to host an “Interfaith Evening of Sacred Music: We Pray for Peace” event at the Lee Chapel on the campus of Stetson University (421 North Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32724) at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, September 21. The event, being held on the United Nations International Day of Peace, will feature participants from many faith traditions as they come together to share a hymn, dance, chant or poem as a call for peace and interfaith understanding. The event is free and all are welcome. Attendees are invited to bring a non-perishable food item to contribute to the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia’s Emergency Food Bank. For more information email Jora Youngor Lindsey Graves.
Muslims Thanking Friends and Neighbors, Hosting Picnic
The Islamic Center of Orlando last month sent out an email message of appreciation, which is abbreviated here: “Thank you so much to all of you who came and attended one of our many Interfaith Iftars at the Islamic Center of Orlando during the holy month of Ramadan. It was a very special and important time for us, and we feel blessed to have been able to share it so wonderfully and beautifully with you. This year, Ramadan was an especially trying time for us as Muslims in America, and the tremendous outpouring of support we received from the community was essential in helping us to continue moving ahead with the work that we do here. It is in that spirit, that we have begun to plan what will be our largest interfaith gathering yet. We would be honored if you could attend our interfaith family picnic at the Islamic Center of Orlando. The event, scheduled for Saturday, September 24, at 5:00 pm, will be held on the soccer fields behind the Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando. Kindly RSVP by email or by phone (407-495-6139) by September 22.
Interfaith Council to Host Panel After Film Screening
Each year at the Global Peace Film Festival the Interfaith Council of Central Florida sponsors a film and hosts a panel discussion at its conclusion. This year’s film is Newtown, which will be screened at the Bush Auditorium on the campus of Rollins College at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 25. And what is the movie about? Click here to watch a trailer and to hear what the director hoped to achieve. Here’s how the film is described on the GPFF website: “Filmed over the course of nearly three years, Newtown uses deeply personal, never-before-heard testimonies to tell the story of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting—the most schoolchildren shot to death together in American history. Through raw and heartbreaking interviews with parents, siblings, teachers, doctors and first responders, Newtown documents a traumatized community still reeling from the senseless killing, fractured by grief but driven toward a sense of purpose.” It’s a documentary that can be instructive to Central Florida as we continue to work our own way through the aftermath of the Pulse shooting on June 12. The movie is free, but those who attend still need to register on line to get their free ticket.
Christian Motivational Speaker Scheduled for Sanford
The Central Florida Dream Center and an array of other organizations are collaborating to bring Christian motivational speaker Joe Gibbs to the Sanford Civic Center (401 East Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771) on Wednesday, September 28, from 6:30 to 8:00 am, where he will discuss the need for a Game Plan for Life. Gibbs, a Hall of Fame football coach and accomplished NASCAR team owner, can point to his own experience to inspire and motivate in the areas of leadership, teamwork, perseverance, hard work and values. As a head coach, he took the NFL’s once-failing Redskins to four Super Bowls and three world championships by improving team dynamics and persevering against the odds. As leader of the Joe Gibbs Racing team, he won the Daytona 500 in his second year of racing and subsequently won two Winston Cup Championships. And as the impetus behind a residential, educational and counseling center that puts troubled teens back on their feet, he has shared his family values and drive for success with others not as fortunate. He’s the author of Racing to Win: Establish Your Game Plan for Success; Fourth and One; and The New York Times bestseller Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success. Click here for more information, ticket price and to register.
Valencia Students Organize Interfaith Health Forum
The Wellness Ambassadors, a student-run group on the East Campus of Valencia College, have organized a Health Forum to be held in The Atrium (Building 3) from 12:00 noon to 1:15 pm on Wednesday, September 28. Guest speakers, provided by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and representing five faith traditions/worldviews, will each address the question: “What teachings and values of your faith tradition/worldview do you feel most assist you as you seek to live healthfully?” After the five brief presentations, the audience will have time to ask questions. The participating faith traditions/worldviews will be Buddhist, Christian, Humanist, Jewish and Muslim. The event is free, and the public is invited.
University Colloquium Series to Look at Faith and Loss
For the past three academic years, Adventist University of Health Sciences has hosted a free Colloquium series—“an interdisciplinary program designed to engage University students, faculty, staff and members of the community in conversation. Each year the University selects a theme, and identifies two books to act as catalysts for conversation.” Themes have been: 2013 – 2014, Moral Courage; 2014 – 2015, Resilience; and 2015 – 2016, Integrity. Theme for 2016 – 2017 is Faith and Loss. The first presentation of the series will be Wednesday, September 28, at 7:00 pm at Florida Hospital Seventh-day Adventist Church (2800 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804), featuring Dr. Don Williams, author of the book A Time for Every Season. Click here for more details.
Teachers, Submit Lesson Plan . . . Maybe Win $500
If you’re a teacher, an environmentalist, in need of additional classroom supplies and an advocate of multi-tasking, then what you’re about to read may be just down your alley. SaveOnEnergy.com is willing to pay for the best lesson plans it receives for teaching students in grades 1 to 12 about energy and sustainability. Thus the organization will award six $500 grants, in the form of Visa Reward Cards, to be used toward classroom materials and activities. The six winners’ lesson plans will be featured on SaveOnEnergy.com for other teachers to use as resources for their classrooms. Click here to learn more about the lesson-plan competition and to see the approaches taken by last year’s winners.
Faith-Based Entities to Host Health-Equity Luncheon
The Florida Council of Churches and Interfaith Florida–both of which are Tampa-based, Florida-wide organizations—are coordinating a free interfaith luncheon that will be held at Carter Tabernacle CME Church (1 South Cottage Hill Road, Orlando, FL 32805), at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, October 5. The luncheon, for faith leaders and leading laypersons who are deeply concerned about Florida’s widespread lack of access to healthcare, will provide opportunity to discuss the latest findings on the healthcare crisis Florida faces both locally and statewide. Lack of access to affordable, quality healthcare is one of the major causes of impoverishment in our community. Click here for more information and to register.
Your Tax-Deductible Contributions Always Appreciated
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys radio program, we invite you to contribute on a regular basis to these community-based, community-benefitting activities. It may be every month, once a quarter or annually. And it may be a large contribution or small. But whatever it is, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in helping to make our community more harmonious and peaceful. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Or you can click here to contribute online. Thank you for your help.
“There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”
Betty Alter, Newsletter Production and Administration
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