NAR Leader Running for Governor in Pennsylvania - As a Democrat
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 10:32:34 PM EST
Kicks Off His Campaign at Philly LGBT Center

Max Myers spent the last six years as the head of the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening (ANGA). ANGA is led by internationally known apostle, Randy Clark, and includes the regional Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI) and GSSM housed in the Apostolic Resource Center in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a few miles from the state capitol.  

Required reading for some of the ANGA programs describes homosexuality as caused by demons. GSSM requires students to confess any homosexual sex on their application forms.  Nevertheless, Myers is running as a Democrat in the 2014 gubernatorial race and kicked off a two-day media campaign on Monday morning at Philadelphia's William Way LGBT Community Center.

Myers was an Assemblies of God pastor for most of his career.  In 2007 he joined Clark at ANGA to lead GSSM, a school with a three-year program teaching prophecy, supernatural healing, and deliverance (casting out demons), and other coursework.   During his six-year tenure, Myers expanded the school to include a branch in South Africa, and Brazil, as well as several U.S. satellites. GSSM classes included regular visits from leading apostolic and prophetic figures, including from the Revival Alliance network.  

Additional articles will feature more about GSSM and Myers.  For those unfamiliar with the New Apostolic Reformation or apostolic and prophetic movement, see the Resource Directory on the New Apostolic Reformation in the left panel.  For an overview from a conservative Christian viewpoint, read this ApologeticsIndex article by Holly Pivec, contributing writer to Christian Research Journal, former University Editor of Biola Magazine, and creator of a blog critiquing the NAR.

The NAR is a growing international movement in which churches are being organized into relational networks under the leadership of modern-day apostles and prophets.  The movement is "postdenominational" in nature and is forming in the belief that Christians sharing this worldview can come together to take "dominion" over culture and government.  A popular narrative used to describe this goal is called the "Seven Mountains Mandate" or the campaign to take over the seven spheres of culture - arts, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.  

 photo Randyclark_zps72b416ac.jpg

Apostle and leading spokesperson for the Seven Mountain campaign, Lance Wallnau, is on the board of Randy Clark's Global Awakening. Global Awakening-WLI course topics include "Invading the Seven Mountains," "Strategy and Protocol for Dominion I and II" and "Dominion over the Land."

The graphic at right is a course listing from the WLI catalog titled "Developing Structure for Apostolic Ministry" taught by C. Peter Wagner, Che Ahn and Randy Clark. The course description includes "the "transference of wealth", marketplace apostles, and the New Apostolic Reformation that we see transpiring in the body of Christ today."

Revival Alliance

Revival Alliance is a separate network from the International Coalition of Apostles, but has overlapping members. Revival Alliance is headed by Clark, Che Ahn, Heidi Baker, John Arnott, Bill Johnson, Georgian Banov, and their spouses. (Article continues below the Revival Alliance Chart.)

Revival Alliance Chart 3 photo chart3_zps06aba48e.jpg

Revival Alliance is the network that commissioned Todd Bentley in Lakeland in June 2008 in an unprecedented gathering of apostles including C. Peter Wagner and Rick Joyner.

Revival Alliance's Che Ahn is co-founder of TheCall and Lou Engle is a prophet in Ahn's apostolic network. Ahn's network also includes Becky Fischer of Kids in Ministry.  Both Fischer and Engle were in the popular documentary "Jesus Camp," although no mention was made of their role in the apostolic networks.  

Engle is also featured in the new movie "God Loves Uganda," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.  Engle led TheCall Uganda in 2010, which included Ugandan apostles and pastors in support of the nation's proposed "kill the gays" bill.

Randy Clark's ANGA is the host of the annual "Voice of the Apostles" and "School of Prophecy" gatherings.  This year's Voice of the Apostles is being held in Orlando and includes Revival Alliance and other apostles along with Reinhard Bonnke and Jack Hayford.

Also see a document that I prepared for Pennsylvania progressive organizations, gay rights leaders, and state political leaders, to educate them about the NAR and Myers' role at GSSM.

Recall this (Ms Tabachnick's) article's first paragraph:

Max Myers spent the last six years as the head of the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening (ANGA). ANGA is led by internationally known apostle, Randy Clark, and includes the regional Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI) and GSSM housed in the Apostolic Resource Center in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a few miles from the state capitol.

For whatever it's worth, some of these entities, which claim to be schools of some kind, fail the credibility test -- and, in fact, seem degree-millish -- on account of their accreditation claims.

In the US, educational accreditation is something ultimately controlled by the US Department of Education (USDE), and the USDE-sanctioned Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). USDE and CHEA do not directly accredit, but they approve all educational accreditors. No entity, in fact, may legitimately call itself an educational accreditor in the US unless it is approved by either or both of USDE and/or CHEA.

The exception could be an entity intending on becoming a USDE- and/or CHEA-approved accreditor that's so new that it hasn't yet been in business long enough, nor has it accredited enough schools, that it can even apply, yet, for either or both of USDE and/or CHEA approval; however, any such entity would nevertheless have a verifiable relationship with either or both of USDE and/or CHEA, and would, in any case, be operating entirely pursuant to its standards, just the same as if it were already approved by either or both of them.

For a US school to be accredited, then, as we, in the US, understand that term, its accreditor must be either or both of USDE- and/or CHEA-approved. Period. Nothing else counts.

I have argued in many places that so potent, in the mind of a degree-seeker wishing not to be scammed by degree mills, is the word "accredit," that it, and all of its derivations apropos education, should be protected in the same manner as is the word "lawyer" or the phrase "attorney at law" is protected in the sense that to call oneself either of those things, unless one is actually a member-in-good-standing of at least one US state's bar, is a crime, punishable by fine, restitution (if any), and not-insignificant prison time. I have many times thought about undertaking the arduous and likely years-long task of getting passed either a federal statute, or one in each state, which codifies the foregoing into law.

So, then, keep all of that in mind as you continue reading...

The so-called "accreditation" page on the Global School of Supernatural Ministry (GSSM) website contains the following language:

GSSM is not an accredited, degree granting educational institution. There are though, three schools that will give credit for work completed at GSSM. The first is the Wagner Leadership Institute: Global Awakening (WLI). The second is the South African Theological Seminary (SATS). The third is Christian Leadership University (CLU). South African Theological Seminary and Christian Leadership University are both accredited institutions. Please see their websites for more information.

GSSM neither claims that it, or WLI, are accredited; and since neither of them actually are, then so far, so good. GSSM's "is not an accredited, degree granting educational institution" language is carefully-worded legalese to keep it out of trouble with the State of Pennsylvania, which has the arguably toughest state standards for what can and can't call itself a school or degree-granting college or university.

Example: ITT Tech is, finally, regionally accredited, yet it still cannot offer bachelors degrees at any of its locations in the state of Pennsylvania... the only US state in which it is so restricted; and it must even say so, in small print, in all of its advertising. Pennsylvania's higher education department is, then, not to be messed with!

GSSM does claim, though, that SATS is accredited; and, as it turns out, it is... even as we, in the US, understand that term. SATS is accredited by South Africa's Council on Higher Education (CHE), the Education and Training Quality Assurer (ETQA) of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA); and SATS is registered with the South African Department of Education... all impressive things.

As someone who does higher educational consulting, one of whose areas of expertise is accreditation, I can attest that SAT's accreditation is on-par that of the US's; and that US foreign educational credential evaluators, such as AACRAO, or any NACES member agency, routinely declare a SATS degree as being on-par with one issued by a US regionally accredited, or ATS-accredited, seminary (both of which types of accreditation are both USDE- and CHEA-approved); and both of which types of foreign educational credential evaluations are routinely accepted by US employers; and by the US government for employment or sometimes even professional licensure purposes; and also by US colleges, universities and seminaries (whose accreditors are USDE- and/or CHEA-approved) for virtually all purposes, including professorship, or as requisite for entry into higher-level degree programs. SATS, then, is on the level.

CLU, though, is not; and though CLU admits, in the Government Accreditation section of its completely laughable "accreditation" page, that its so-called accreditor is not USDE-approved, what it does say on that page is very similar to the kind of intentionally-misleading nonsense and rhetorical sleight-of-hand that we tend to see on degree mill websites.

The CLU website's accreditation page's so-called "CLU Accreditation" section claims "accreditation" (and it uses that word which I argue should be protected such that its misuse, like CLU is doing, here, should be criminally prosecutable; and so around which I have placed quotes, as commentary) by Christian Accreditation International (CAI); and "certification" (whatever that even means when it's proffered in an "accrediation" section on an "accreditation" webpage) by the Apostolic Council for Educational Accountability (ACEA), neither of which are accreditors approved by either USDE or CHEA; and so they're not really accreditors, no matter what they claim. Furthermore, ACEA... er... hey... wait a minute...

...will you just look at that: ACEA was started by C. Peter Wagner, of WLI.

So, then, welcome, reader, to my world of anti-degree-mill and anti-bogus-accreditor activism. Incidiously- and incestuously-circular relationships that are prima facie conflicts of interest -- and which bear what lawyers learn in their preparation for the ethics either separate exam, or part of the bar exam (depending on the state), is not only the appearance of impropriety but, worse, is its very definition -- are extraordinarily common among the mills... especially the religious ones, like CLU.

But it gets worse. Continuing, arrogantly, from the "Government Accreditation" section of its website's "accreditation" webpage:

Accreditation is "a review by your peers" that ensures that you are offering a quality program. CLU has received that. CLU's peers are other Spirit-filled Christian educators, such as C. Peter Wagner's Apostolic Council for Educational Accountability and Christian Accreditation International. The U.S. Department of Education is not a peer of Christian Leadership University.

Government-recognized accreditation is not necessary for the religious vocations we are training people in, which include: Biblical Studies, Christian Arts, Christian Counseling, Christian Entrepreneurship, Christian Leadership, Divine Healing, Divinity, Intercession, Ministry, Missions and Evangelism, Prophetic Ministry, Theology, Worship Ministry, and Youth Ministry. People can function and hold jobs in all of these areas without government-recognized accreditation.

Individuals seeking employment in government-licensed positions such as public school teachers, state-licensed psychologists or psychiatrists, and non-church-related counselors definitely need government-recognized accredited degrees. Generally, people working in ministry positions do not need a government-accredited degree. In fact, a number of churches take a stand against the Church voluntarily placing itself under government regulations.

We believe that our standards exceed those of the government...

Well, of course, anyone who understands accreditation knows that it's not an assurance of maximal or optimal standards of quality. Rather, it's an assurance of standards below which the school, by its accreditation, is guaranteed not to have descended, yet still have its credits transferable to other accredited schools, or its finished degrees be requisite for entry into higher-level degree programs at said other accredited schools.

Lots of accredited schools' standards exceed those of government -- Harvard and/or Yale, for example, just to name two; there are many others -- yet they still honor accreditation, and would never do business without it. One proof that accrediation is a minmal, and not a maximal or optimal standard is that Harvard and Yale, for example, again, have the exact same "regional" accreditation as one's local community college; yet no one who hasn't fallen on his/her head too many times in life would ever consider arguing that one's local community college is on-par with either Harvard or Yale. So CLU's posit, while seemingly just convoluted logic, is actually intentionally intented to mislead, as all degree mills do in precisely this manner, on their "accreditatio" pages.

CLU's further millishness from the immediately-previously quoted from its website, and which is classically seen on most other relgious degree mill websites, includes both the posit that "[g]overnment-recognized accreditation is not necessary for the religious vocations," and the similar "people working in ministry positions do not need a government-accredited degree;" as well as the even more classic "a number of churches take a stand against the Church voluntarily placing itself under government regulations."

Of course, CLU's not a church. It's, allegedly, a university, which naturally demands government regulation in order to be credible. Note the carefully-worded sleight-of-hand of it. Most mills aren't so careful, and allege that many Christian colleges, universities and seminaries resist accreditation because they don't want to be controlled by government...

...never mind that the aforementioned USDE- and CHEA-approved ATS accredits every single mainline denominational seminary in the country! For the both socio-politically and theologically conservative, non-denominational, Right-winged schools, either of the USDE- and CHEA-approved ABHE or TRACS fit the bill nicely; and would never, in a million years, mess with how any of their accredited schools teach theology... at least not in any manner that should bother the likes of CLU, since what it believes, and what ABHE and TRACS believe, are in sync.

Regarding the ridiculous assertion that an education accredited by a government-approved agency isn't necessary for ministry, all of the colleges, universities and seminaries that are ATS, ABHE or TRACS accredited -- be they liberal/progressive/Left, center/moderate, or conservative/Right -- would all beg to differ. Martin Luther, based, in part, on scripture, made a big deal out of those who deign to prech obtaining a credible and proper religious education. Statistically, most churches out there which employ clergy demand that they have, at bare minimum, the professionally normative Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree; and that said degree be from a seminary or religious college/university that's ATS, ABHE or TRACS accredited. Most denominations, and even most non-denominational groups, are unambiguously clear about that.

So, then, what's really the problem for CLU -- and pretty much all religious degree mills like it -- is that it cannot not possibly meet any USDE- and/or CHEA-approved accreditor's standards for financial soundness, administrative effectiveness, or academic rigor. Simple as that. And so their apologetics regarding accreditation center around that no religious school should be under government's thumb. It's just nonesense.

In classic millist style, CLU's "accreditation" page relies, far more heavily for evidence of its credibility, on (and devotes web page space, accordingly to), its associations, affiliations and testimonials. That's pretty much how all the mills play it when they've got no credible accreditation claim on which to stand. How CLU is playing it is textbook (an irony of phrase, considering).

Curiously, WLI, on its "about" page, does not claim "accreditation" from CAI or any other entity; nor does it claim ACEA "certification" of its namesake's own creation. I suspect that's because it's in California: a state which, if WLI claimed too much, would almost certainly say that it needs to be regulated by the state's relatively new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), which is much tougher than its predecessor Bureau for Private Postsecondary Vocational Education (BPPVE).

Bottom line: the only claim of any real worth which GSSM makes on its accreditation page is that SATS will accept it credits. And knowing SATS as I do (and I do: though it's too theologically and socio-politically far Right for my tastes, I have nevertheless long communicated with it regarding its various programs; and its Principal once asked me if I'd be interested in writing a course delivery software system for it... sadly, my health, at the time, wasn't up to the task), I'll believe that of GSSM's claims when I see it.

So, if integrity from this little cabal matters at all, then I'd say there's a problem. Of course, that, in large measure, was Ms Tabachnick's article's at least partial point, in the first place. Their all being integrity-challenged is now simply further documented. Perhaps Ms Tabachnick will want to add all this to her document, referenced and linked-to in the final paragraph of her story to which this is a comment. Happy to help.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com

by DesElms on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 04:51:53 AM EST
The local Assemblies of God ersatz "University" used to teach their ministry students methods of infiltrating and taking over other churches 30 years ago... when I belonged to that cult I hung out with the students being so trained and was involved in their "ways and means" discussions.  Recent conversations with a walkaway who attended that school in the late 90s indicate that they'd expanded to teaching them how to disrupt meetings and block organizations from communicating with the public since I'd walked - down to "How to approach a table by a bad organization and keep innocent people from getting information from it".  She'd pointed out a group of youth trained by that school as they approached and tried to block access to our church's table... she recognized the pattern because it was exactly how she'd been trained.

Rumors also about that they teach their "education" students "How to bring Jesus into the classroom without getting the attention of the government" and their "counseling" students "how to de-gay without getting in trouble" float around.  I think they've expanded to business... who knows what they teach there?

They've achieved accreditation by the same organization who accredited my (state) university.  Don't the accreditation agencies look out for that sort of thing?

I talked with one of their graduates about science a few years ago, and from the conversation, there was no evolution in their classes either (except maybe to deny its reality - he was unclear and evasive).

Their graduates are popping up in businesses and organizations all over the place.  One I talked with held a central position in a homeless shelter, but his attitude was "they're broken and need to be fixed", which is central to dominionist teachings about poverty (caused by personal failings) but which has been disproved by science.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:14:33 AM EST

Their students are well known for skirting if not outright violating the law, when it comes to proselytizing or violating separation of church and state, btw.

In 2006 or 2008, a group rumored to be from that school was caught east of here destroying Democrats' political signs before the election, and bragged that they'd destroyed hundreds of them.  I hear rumors of misdeeds like that every now and then.  Other rumors point to that school as the organizer of such stuff.  Yet it seems that nobody investigates.

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:23:05 AM EST

ArchaeoBob ASKED: They've achieved accreditation by the same organization who accredited my (state) university. Don't the accreditation agencies look out for that sort of thing?

MY RESPONSE: No. Sadly. The accreditation agencies care about a school's financial soundness, its administrative effectiveness, and its academic rigor. Theoretically, if a school taught nothing but "underwater basketweaving," and did it with real academic rigor of the kind found at regular universities; and if the underwater basketweaving school were financially sound and administratively well-run, then it could be accredited. It's at least theoretically more about pedagogy, than about content.

Of course, it's not quite as simplistic as that, but it's close. It's at least conceptually like that.

Don't believe it? Liberty University is regionally accredited. And to more fully grasp just how wacky that is, given the content it espouses, watch this video of Richard Dawkins speaking at nearby Randolph Macon Women's College. It really is "an educational disgrace."

The point, though, is that even a college or university or seminary espousing such as what Liberty does may nevertheless be accredited by a USDE- and/or CHEA-approved agency as long as it meets said agency's standards for financial soundness, administrative effectiveness, and academic rigor.

Hope that helps.

Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com

by DesElms on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 01:34:09 AM EST
It does, as sad as it is.  If they're even doing a fraction of some of the things the kids I hung around were talking about, I don't see how they got away with the "academic rigor" part of it.

Back then it was a diploma mill that people actually attended. Sometimes the entire class session was spent "in prayer" because the "professor" got bad vibes from something (maybe he/she was guilt-tripping a student).

In any case, good work (and good luck) on fighting the mills.  I get inundated with offers of "diplomas" through my school email and find them all extremely offensive, because what they offer for nothing (except some money), I already paid for in hard work, and will be paying for the rest of my life.

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 06:32:44 PM EST

Two relatively brief observations, both about Rachel's main post and about ACEA/accreditation:

  1. I may have posted this here before, but the NAR and leaders of its "relationally" submitted subministries are NON-PARTISAN in a conventional sense. They believe they have the divine mandate and authority to take over government, period. It could be via Republicans, Democrats, even Greens... they don't care. They are very opportunist in this area. If all or part of our nation begins tacking back to center or center left, they will go there. They certainly are well ahead of the national GOP as evidenced by the CPAC postmortem in trying to appeal to more diverse demographic groups. This does not make them less dangerous... in fact, it makes them MORE dangerous. Several years ago, Every Nation and sometime NAR "prophet" Jim Laffoon (author of A Divine Alliance where he stated that apostles have all the prerogative of deity) bragged about how he had laid hands on former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco (D) and prophesied she would become governor. And of course based on Rachel's groundbreaking work on the NAR we know that Samuel Rodriguez's National Hispanic Leadership Conference is another way the NAR is attempting to leverage its perceived governmental authority over the Democratic leaning Latino population in the US.

  2. Since the NAR believes that its apostles are the true government over earth--they just haven't completed taking over yet--the ACEA is the "accreditation" arm that they posit would take over for secular regional accrediting agencies once they assume control over the US. (And they believe they will not just that they might). While functionally, yes, it means that WLI and its other so-called universities are essentially degree mils, there is a level of sincerity here you don't see with other degree mills... they really do believe that the ACEA has sole authority to accredit, and is better than other accreditors, because they have, to use Laffoon's language, the "divine prerogative" to accredit, just as their educational institutions have the "divine prerogative" to educate.

BTW, I walked away from my former NAR church 9 years ago this spring (not knowing up until that time they were anything other than a more conventional charismatic megachurch) right before I was supposed to start taking classes in their "leadership school," which at that time was recommended by Wagner and the nascent ACEA. I was a junior higher ed administrator at the time and started digging into their so-called accreditation and that's when everything started to unravel for me... when I realized what the h**l I had gotten myself into! My church had tagged me for leadership training precisely because of my higher ed experience and one of the carrots they held out for me to stay was to run the "college" they were going to start at my local church's campus.

by ulyankee on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:34:52 AM EST
Rachel, I read the flier that you prepared for local organizations... while you state correctly that the NAR is "aggressively political, teaching that like-minded believers must take over the 'seven mountains' of society and culture including government," I would recommend further emphasizing that this group's apostolic leaders believe that this is the avenue by which THEY will assume what it believes is divine governmental authority over society, culture, and government. So, if Myers wins the election, as he is under the authority of an apostle (I'm assuming it will still be Randy Clark), this apostle will actually view himself as having authority over Pennsylvania's government, and thus have the divine authority to rule by decree (even if the apostolic decrees take place behind closed doors). They don't just believe they rule FOR God... they believe they rule AS God.

by ulyankee on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:14:32 AM EST
There was only so far that I could go with people who have never heard of the movement before. It's already hard for them to believe that something like this is going on a few miles from Harrisburg.

In listening to Myers' teachings, the messages are there.  But you have to know the lingo and worldview of the movement.   Ulyankee, if you have not seen it already, take a look at Myers' book "The Tail that Wags the Dog: A Journey Towards Supernatural Leadership."  

by Rachel Tabachnick on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:50:03 AM EST

It's pretty easy to trigger the "But it's a CHURCH, it can't be THAT BAD!" response, and too much information will do that.  I have to be careful when talking to people... you can sometimes see them getting close to that point and it's important to back off.

Very few people know how dire things are, and until something happens that exposes the depths of their evil, people have a hard time seeing the danger and harm in groups like the NAR.  

I hope your flier is widely read - and the facts are recognized (that they ring bells so to speak).

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 10:40:25 AM EST

I think that many people in the churches being drawn into the NAR networks have no idea what this is about.  I also think that this is one reason the movement leadership does not want the exposure.  

You also provide valuable insight about the training programs and plans.  GSSM is one of many the training programs that has emerged around the country.  Credit for GSSM courses can only be used at Wagner Leadership Institute, South African Theological Seminary, and Christian Leadership University.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 11:22:28 AM EST

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Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (1 comment)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)

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