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Chi Rho Connection, Vol. VI, No. 15

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  • Adam Debaugh
    ************************* CHI RHO CONNECTION The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press, Your LGBT Christian Publishing House Vol. VI, No. 15 3 September 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2005

      The eNewsletter of Chi Rho Press,
      Your LGBT Christian Publishing House
      Vol. VI, No. 15
      3 September 2005



      1. Report from the UFMCC General Conference
      2. A Hymn for Victims of Katrina
      3. Join LivingFusion.org
      4. Have you read "The Children are Free"?
      5. "Christian with a Twist"
      6. Sanctoral Cycle
      7. Adam's Last Word


      Welcome once again to the Chi Rho Connection, the
      electronic newsletter of Chi Rho Press. Thank you
      for passing this Chi Rho Connection on to others.

      To join our list, send an e-mail message to

      To remove yourself from this list send an e-mail to

      Please visit our Web site at http://www.chirhopress.com
      to see our entire lines of books, handouts, videos,
      tapes, tchochkas, and stained glass.

      Direct all other e-mail to Adam@....


      1. Report from the UFMCC General Conference
      By Adam DeBaugh

      The MCC General Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
      was an amazing week. There were vibrant and Spirit-
      filled worship services every day with brilliant
      preachers. Amazing workshops filled the schedule.
      Special lunches, dinners, and even breakfasts were
      available. And of course it was a wonderful time to
      renew old friendships and make new ones.

      There were people from at least 25 nations there,
      including people from Japan, Serbia, Croatia, and
      Bulgaria who are working to bring MCC to their countries.
      The best part of an MCC conference for me happens in the
      restaurants, lobbies, and hallways where old friends and
      new congregate to share their stories.

      Of course, General Conference is also a business conference
      and MCC had some important business on the agenda. The
      Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the MCC movement and Moderator
      of the denomination, is retiring this year and MCC
      overwhelmingly elected the Rev. Nancy Wilson as our
      new Moderator. It was decided to have our international
      conferences every three years instead of every two years.
      Some important by-law amendments were passed, mostly
      cleaning up legal language as a result of the massive
      transition to a new polity and structure over the past
      few years. The Conference voted overwhelmingly to keep
      the assessment to the denomination at 14% in light of
      difficult financial times.

      We gave Troy Perry a wonderful send-off as he prepares for
      his retirement. We celebrated the publication of a new
      book by long-time LGBT Presbyterian activist Chris Glaser.
      The book, called Troy Perry: Pastor and Prophet will be
      widely available soon. Chris, whose book Come Home! was
      published by Chi Rho Press and is still available (http://www.chirhopress.com/products/product_details/BookRevComeHome.html),
      announced that he is transferring the clergy
      credentials the Presbyterian Church never gave him (but
      which MCC honors and recognizes) and has accepted the
      pastorate of an MCC in Georgia.

      I met our newest author, Marco Rubio from Monterey, Mexico,
      who has written what will be Chi Rho Press' first book in
      Spanish, and many other people from our Spanish-speaking

      Since same-gender marriage had become legal throughout
      Canada just the week before we arrived, Canadian clergy
      offered to marry couples. There were directions and even
      a shuttle to the licensing office and there were 60
      weddings in a small chapel the hotel provided. I went
      to the wedding of two wonderful men from Seattle,
      Washington, USA, Steve and George who had been together
      for 16 years were married by the Rev. Jo Bell from Toronto
      and their former MCC pastor, the Rev. Wallace Lanchester,
      who is now retired. Travis and Lisa, new friends from
      Calgary, and I cried our eyes out! But it was totally
      lovely. After the wedding, Travis took us all out to
      dinner to celebrate with George and Steve, and Rev.
      Wallace and his partner.

      MCC sponsored a rally to thank Canada for passing same
      gender marriage rights, which got considerable media
      coverage. There was an excellent Human Right Lunch with
      Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas, Texas, USA speaking. Lupe
      is the first Latina, woman, lesbian to be elected Sheriff
      in Texas and a long time member of MCC.

      The worship services, plenary sessions, and business meetings
      were all translated simultaneously into Spanish, a first step
      that greatly excited my friends Axel (pastor), Jurgen (lay
      delegate), and Jens from our church in Stuttgart, Germany.
      They recognized this as an important first step for MCC and
      one day soon other languages, including German, will be added
      to our simultaneous translation program.

      Bishop Gene Robinson (Episcopal) of New Hampshire, USA
      preached and was wonderful. Bishop Robinson pointed out
      that he was only the first OPENLY Gay Episcopal Bishop!
      Bishop Stephen Charleston (also Episcopal), who is
      President and Dean of Episcopal Divinity School in
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA also preached an amazing
      sermon for MCC! The Director of Communications of the
      United Church of Christ (in the USA) was there and spoke,
      in part because he is Nancy Wilson's cousin, but also
      representing the UCC, more and more our sibling denomination.

      A new HIV initiative was introduced to support an HIV
      orphanage in Zimbabwe with an initial grant from an
      individual in our Atlanta church for $10,000 a year for
      five years, matched by MCC and also by the City of Refuge
      UCC in San Francisco (whose Rev. Yvette Flunder was at
      conference to talk about this new initiative). People
      with HIV had a special breakfast and lots of amazing
      ministry. "We are a Church with HIV." Tee shirts
      emblazoned with "HIV +" on the front were sold to raise
      additional money for our HIV ministries and though the
      back had information about the Zimbabwe project, the front
      certainly made a lot of people in Calgary stop. Being
      Canadians, of course, no one was rude! Lots of HIV negative
      people were wearing the tee shirts, an amazing show of
      solidarity and support.

      You should have seen the worship services in the Singer
      Concert Hall. The sight of 1,500 queer Christians with
      their voices lifted in song and prayer and worship was
      inspiring and a powerful witness.

      In all, it was a brilliant conference and I am proud and
      excited to be part of MCC.


      2. A Hymn for Victims of Katrina

      James Michael Hayes of MCC Boston, Massachusetts, USA sent
      this hymn along to the MCC LayLink list-serve in honor of
      those suffering from the onslaught of hurricane Katrina in
      the southern US. The hymn is called, God Of My Life, To
      Thee I Call (music published in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
      in 1850)

      God of my life, to Thee I call;
      Afflicted, at Thy feet I fall;
      When the great water floods prevail
      Leave not my trembling heart to fail!

      Friend of the friendless and the saint,
      Where should I lodge my deep complaint?
      Where but with Thee, Whose open door
      Invites the helpless and the poor!

      Did ever mourner plead with Thee,
      And Thou refuse that mourner�s plea?
      Does not the Word still fixed remain
      That none shall seek Thy face in vain?

      That were a grief I could not bear,
      Didst Thou not hear and answer prayer;
      But a prayer hearing, answering God
      Supports me under every load.

      Fair is the lot that�s cast for me!
      I have an Advocate with Thee;
      They whom the world caresses most,
      Have no such privilege to boast.

      Poor though I am, despised, forgot,
      Yet God, my God, forgets me not;
      And one is safe, and must succeed,
      For whom the Lord vouchsafes to plead.

      Words by William Cowper (1731-1800)
      Cowper (pronounced �Cooper�), whose father was chaplain
      to King George II, went through the motions of becoming
      an attorney, but never practiced law. He lived near Olney,
      Buckinghamshire, England the namesake town of the Olney
      Hymns, which he co-wrote with John Newton, author of Amazing
      Grace. Cowper also wrote poetry, including �The Negro�s
      Complaint,� an anti-slavery work, and the 5,000-line �The

      Music by Virgil Corydon Taylor (1817-1891)
      Taylor lived for a while in Hartford, Connecticut, then
      moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, where he played the organ
      at the Central Baptist Church and the First Dutch Reformed
      Church. He then took a position as organist at a Baptist
      church in Brooklyn, New York. He later moved to Niagara
      Falls, New York, and finally Des Moines, Iowa.

      Sacred Minstrel or American Church Music Book (New York: 1846)
      Choral Anthems (Boston, Massachusetts: 1850)


      3. Please Join LivingFusion.org

      We at Chi Rho Press want to issue to you a special
      invitation to join a wonderful new, interactive Web site
      sponsored by MCC. LivingFusion.org is, a wonderful way
      to network with literally thousands of LGBT Christian
      people all over the world.

      In it�s own words, "LivingFusion contains a full range of
      searching and messaging systems. It is the place to meet

      More and more people have joined LivingFusion, the new
      UFMCC networking and chat site. It features pictures,
      profiles, a personal calendar, news about MCC, search
      capabilities, and lots more!

      You can get to know and see pictures of, e-mail, and chat
      with MCCers and others around the globe.

      You might even find a special friend who shares your faith
      and other things.

      Or you might reconnect with an old friend from the past!

      Whatever your interest, check out LivingFusion by clicking
      the link below or copying it into your browser. You'll be
      glad you did.

      Please join LivingFusionMCC today. I think the link sent out
      previously may have been incorrect. You may use this link to

      You don�t have to be an MCC member to join LivingFusion and
      to take advantage of the opportunity to meet LGBT Christians
      and our friends all over the world. Please follow the link
      above and join today!


      4. Have you read "The Children are Free"?

      "The Children are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence
      on Same-sex Relationships," by Rev. Jeff Miner and John
      Tyler Connoley. (ISBN: 0-9719296-0-2) 91 pages.
      $12.95 each, six or more copies for $9.75 each.
      See it on our Web site at

      Published by Jesus Metropolitan Community Church,
      Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, this book is a positive and
      concise new look at what the Bible really says about
      homosexuality and same-sex relationships.

      The book is divided into four chapters. The first is
      "The Clobber Passages" and deals with the scripture in
      both the Hebrew and the Christian Testaments that have
      in the past been used to condemn homosexual people.
      The second chapter is "Finding Affirmation in Scripture,"
      in which the authors explore same-sex love found in the
      Scriptures and positive role models for sexual minority

      The third chapter is about "How Jesus Applied
      Scripture" and deals with Christ's take on the issues.
      The fourth chapter discusses at length "Relearning an
      Ancient Lesson," using stories of the early church in
      the Book of Acts to illuminate our struggle to
      understand God's will for us today. A "Final Word"
      is addressed "To Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People."
      This slim volume is an excellent resource for people
      who are struggling with their sexuality and spirituality
      and who have been taught that the Bible automatically
      condemns sexual minority people.

      Here's what some reviewers have said. "If you're
      confused by all the misinformation about homosexuality
      and the Bible, read 'The Children Are Free.' The
      authors have created a wonderful, timely, easy to
      read summary of the evidence that will inform and
      inspire your search. Let the Spirit of Truth set
      you free."
      -- Rev. Dr. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce, past
      professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and former
      writer for Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell.

      "This book reaffirmed my belief in God and gave me a
      renewed sense of hope."
      -- Justin Copeland, gay youth.

      "It was refreshing to read this loving and supportive
      treatment. I can hardly wait to use this material in
      discussions with my Christian friends and neighbors."
      -- Sue Hazer, mother of a lesbian daughter and member
      of PFLAG.

      "This brand new book is one of the best yet for
      Christians who are struggling to find a pro-gay
      understanding of Scripture. Short, clear, and
      amazingly easy to read, this book does much more
      than offering loopholes or excuses with regards
      to the Bible. Instead, the authors combine careful
      research with a tremendous respect for God's Word,
      and they use humor, personal stories, and numerous
      Biblical examples to make their case. A must-read
      for anyone wanting to understand the Bible better!"
      -- from www.gaychristian.net.

      "Many books have argued that the Bible does not
      condemn same-sex relationships. In the vast majority
      of cases, however, the arguments sound like loopholes
      and excuses, not a sincere reading of Holy Scripture.
      (Sadly, this includes even the ever popular 'What the
      Bible Really Says About Homosexuality.')

      "This book is remarkably different! The authors don't
      make excuses or water down the text; instead, they
      take the Bible seriously and treat it respectfully,
      allowing the Bible itself to provide the best evidence
      of their case. Meanwhile, this book is so short,
      simple, and easy to read that anyone can benefit from

      "'The Children Are Free' is chock full of anecdotes
      and examples, making it a delight to read, even for
      people who don't normally read about the Bible. Those
      of us more familiar with the subject will appreciate
      the clarity of the authors' argument.

      "Other, similar books made me think, 'Yeah, I guess
      I can see that,' but this one left me wondering, 'How
      could you come to any other conclusion?'"
      -- from amazon.com, a reader from Raleigh, NC, USA

      About the Authors:
      Jeff Miner is the pastor of Jesus Metropolitan
      Community Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was
      raised in fundamentalist independent Baptist churches,
      and received his undergraduate degree from Bob Jones
      University. In college, Jeff felt called to the
      ministry, but deferred that calling while trying
      to come to terms with being gay. In the meantime,
      he attended Harvard Law School, graduating with
      honors in 1983. Several years later, after intensive
      study of the Bible and homosexuality, Jeff came to
      peace with being gay. Soon he discovered the
      Metropolitan Community Churches, a Christian
      denomination that has arisen out of the gay, lesbian,
      bisexual, and transgender community. There, Jeff
      realized he could fulfill his call to ministry. He
      completed his clergy training and was ordained in 1997.

      Before his ordination, Jeff worked as an attorney
      for 13 years, last serving as Deputy Chief Council
      for a federal banking agency.

      Jeff lives with his spouse, David Zier. They were
      joined in Holy Union on September 8, 1990, and live
      in Indianapolis.

      John Tyler Connoley is the son of Wesleyan
      missionaries. He spent most of his childhood years
      in Zambia, Africa, and has lived in Korea, the
      Philippines, and all of the West Coast states.

      He came out to himself in 1991, while attending
      Indiana Wesleyan University, and has since sought
      to live a life that integrates his deep faith in
      God with his sexuality. While working on "The
      Children Are Free," Tyler completed his M.A. in
      Biblical studies at Earlham School of Religion in
      Richmond, Indiana.

      He is married to Rob Connoley.

      See and order this exciting new book on our Web site at


      5. "Christian with a Twist"

      Here is a selection from our second major book of
      reflections, "Christian with a Twist: Reflections
      on Scripture that are a bit more inclusive, a bit
      more relevant, and with a bit of a bite," by the
      late William Gaston.

      "Christian with a Twist" is available for $19.95 each,
      $14.95 each for six or more copies, plus shipping and
      handling. You can read more about it and order it at

      As the subtitle suggests, Bill's writing has a bit
      of a bite, and we believe you will enjoy his sharp,
      but loving take on Scripture, life, and faith.

      Here is a selection entitled "Saved by Faith" from the
      Ordinary Time section of "Christian with a Twist."

      Please read Galatians 2:15-21

      Oftentimes it seems that our religious practices and beliefs
      are based more on the teachings of Paul than the teachings of
      Jesus. Maybe it is because Paul's ministry was longer and he
      talked a lot. I suppose I should relate to that. I talk a
      lot, too, and probably am as opinionated and as sanctimonious
      as Paul. Maybe that is why I have trouble with him.

      In today's passage my trouble with Paul is not so much what he
      says, but what I find myself reading between the lines. He is
      saying that we are justified by faith in Jesus, not by the law.
      Who can argue with that? It sounds as good as mother and apple

      Somehow though, I get the feeling that Paul has created a new
      law. What if my faith in Jesus is not the same as his? Who
      determines what is faith? This may be a harder law to follow
      than the old law. I may not even know if I have complied or

      There is a harshness here that does not seem like Jesus:
      "Servant of sin," "transgressor," "no longer I who live,"
      and "died for nothing." These all seem like warnings that
      I better be getting something right. Jesus said that sins
      are forgiven, that we should not judge, that God wants us
      to have life abundantly, and that life is eternal.

      With all respect to Paul and the church he established, I
      think it may be better to strive to have the faith OF Jesus
      rather than faith IN Jesus. That way I can look at how I am
      living and compare it to how Jesus lived to measure my success.
      Paul's way, it seems is that I have to rely on the judgment of
      others. I am not very comfortable with that. It is, after all,
      Jesus whom I am willing to call Lord, not the church that seems
      to have made laws about the faith that is supposed to have
      replaced the law.



      6. Sanctoral Cycle

      As a regular feature in the Chi Rho Connection, we
      are offering up traditional saints listed in the 2005
      Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary from today until
      our next scheduled electronic newsletter.


      Wed., Aug. 31, St. Aidan. Gentleness: It is the meek,
      the gentle and the humble who spiritually conquer the
      world. The less we give way to impatience in our
      dealings with others, the more the spirit of God works
      in us and for us. We have to overcome inward feelings
      of pride and irritation as well as their outward
      expressions. "But the meek shall inherit the land
      and enjoy great peace" (Psalm 37:11).

      Thurs., Sep. 1, St. Giles (Patron saint: homeless, disabled).
      The riches of poverty: The finest of chains can hold a small
      bird captive and prevent it from flying away. We cannot fully
      enjoy the blessings nor love that God has for us as long as one
      tiny single tie binds our hearts to sin. "Sorrowful, yet always
      rejoicing; poor yet making many rich; having nothing and yet
      possessing everything" (2 Corinthians 6:10).

      Diversity Dates: Hispanic Heritage Month
      Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

      Fri., Sep. 2, St. Stephen of Hungary. With God all plans come
      to fruition: Saint Stephen was a man with a mission. This
      mission he managed to accomplish in the course of his life and
      the reforms he instituted lasted for centuries to come. His
      most important contribution, though, was to bring to Hungary
      the status of a nation. Though small, this country would come
      to effect Europe in some very important ways in future centuries.

      Sat., Sep. 3, St. Pius X. Simplicity of living: Simplicity of
      life and spirit, humbleness and gentleness, carried St. Pius X
      to all of the world's hearts and thus God glorified him to the
      world. "I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die
      poor," St. Pius X.

      Sun., Sep. 4, St. Rose of Viterbo. Use of today: Rose died
      when she was seventeen but she died a saint. Many of us have
      lived much longer, yet with what result? Every minute of every
      day there is something we can do for God. Let us learn from St.
      Rose's example to be up and doing every single day. "In the
      time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I
      helped you" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

      Mon., Sep. 5, St. Laurence Giustiniani. Seeking divine
      wisdom: "Why do you go about trying to satisfy your mind
      first with one thing and then another? Rest is to be found
      only in the boundless treasures of divine wisdom," St. Laurence

      Tues., Sep. 6, St. Symphorosa. Suffering: History shows that
      Hadrian threatened to burn St. Symphorosa alive as a sacrifice
      to his gods. She told him this was beyond his power, if she
      was burnt, she would be offered up, not to demons, but to Christ
      the Son of God, and the fire that consumed her body would add
      light to her crown. Her trial is an example to us that no
      matter what comes our way, it is a means of consecrating
      ourselves anew to Christ.

      Wed., Sep. 7, St. Tarbula. Guarding chastity: Whatever your
      state of life may be, you too are dedicated to Christ and bound
      to follow him in purity of body and soul. "But among you there
      must be not even a hint of sexual impurity, or of any kind of
      impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's
      holy people" (Ephesians 5:3).

      Thurs., Sep. 8, St. Poemen. Kind judgments: We can never
      arrive at true purity of heart until we believe ourselves to
      be more worthless than anybody else. This is not difficult,
      for even if we were to see a murderer we could say, "He has
      only killed one person, while I have put my soul to death many
      times by my sins." "If we pass over people's faults in silence,
      God also will hide ours, but if we divulge them, God will make
      known our own," St. Poemen.

      Fri., Sep. 9, St. Peter Claver (Patron saint: African Americans).
      Our neighbor's needs: When we see someone in need, either for
      body or for soul, do not ask why someone else did not help, but
      be thankful for the opportunity to do it yourself. "Who is weak,
      and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not
      inwardly burn?" (2 Corinthians 11:29).

      Sat., Sep. 10, St. Nicholas of Tolentino. A good death: Would
      you die the death of the just? There is only one way of making
      sure of doing so. Live the life of the just. For it is
      impossible that one who has been faithful to God in life
      should make a bad or unhappy end. "I love life only because
      it leads quickly to death," St. Nicholas of Tolentino.

      Sun., Sep. 11, Bd. Charles Spinola. Death for Christ: So
      deeply was Bd. Charles steeped in the wisdom of the cross
      that he not only welcomed suffering in every way and bore
      it when most crushing, but even in the prison of Omura,
      more terrible as he said, than death by fire, he imposed
      mortifications on himself. "For to me, to live is Christ
      and to die is gain" (Philemon 1:21).

      Mon., Sep. 12, St. Guy. Reverence for the house of God:
      Jesus was nine months in Mary's womb, three hours on the
      cross, and three days in the grave, but sacramentally, he
      is in the tabernacle always. Does our reverence before him
      bear witness to this blessed truth? "Zeal for your house
      will consume me!" (John 2:17).

      Tues., Sep. 13, St. Francis di Girolamo. Attending to sermons:
      In spite of the wisdom and power with which St. Francis
      preached, his sermons were of no use to those who listened
      with hardened hearts. If we would hear preachers aright,
      we must examine our own conscience instead of criticizing
      what is being said. "They who hear the divine warning unmoved
      are not worthy to be healed," St. Augustine.

      Wed., Sep. 14, St. Speratus. Perseverance: Beg God for the
      gift of perseverance. Do not hesitate, do not look back, do
      not listen to suggestions against faith nor virtue. Go forward
      day by day along the road which you have chosen, to God who is
      your lover forever. "But they that stand firm to the end will
      be saved" (Matthew 24:13).

      Thurs., Sep. 15, St. Catherine of Genoa. Purgatory: St.
      Catherine said that the bitterness of the suffering of
      Purgatory could not be expressed or understood. Frequent
      reflection on Purgatory will help us to escape it, by
      avoiding the least imperfection that hinders our approach
      to God. "Yet God was merciful; and forgave their iniquities
      and did not destroy them" (Psalm 78:38).


      Order the 2004-2005 Liturgical Calendar and Lectionary,
      complete with the entire year's Sanctoral Cycle, at
      this link:


      7. Adam's Last Word

      The disaster on the Gulf Coast of the United States raises so
      many important questions.

      The first, of course, is how people of faith can help those of
      our sisters and brothers who are in such need. MCC has created
      a Hurricane Relief Fund that will assist our congregations and
      others in the stricken area. I encourage you to contribute.

      Please send your checks to MCC Hurricane Relief Fund, 8704 Santa
      Monica Blvd., 2nd Floor, West Hollywood, CA 90069-4548, USA, and
      note that it is for the MCC Hurricane Relief Fund. If you would
      prefer to have a donation charged to your credit card, you can
      send that information to MargaretMahlman@.... Or
      to make your donation immediately available for disaster relief,
      visit www.MCCchurch.org and make your gift right now on-line.


      As we attempt to help financially, other questions come to mind
      as well: why would an evacuation be ordered in New Orleans but
      no provisions are made for the poor who have no transportation
      and little money with which to flee the city?

      Why would the President of the United States remain at his
      vacation home in Texas, knowing that a huge and fatal hurricane
      is bearing down on the Gulf Coast of the US? And then after
      Katrina hit, why would he remain on vacation for another
      couple of days?

      Why would the President say that the breach in the levees
      protecting New Orleans from the waters of Lake Pontrachain
      was "unexpected" despite many reports that predicted just
      this sort of disaster?

      Why has the US Corps of Engineers not been given the resources
      to enhance the levees, despite those reports that proved the
      levees to be woefully inadequate?

      Why did FEMA not have relief supplies on the ground near the
      Gulf Coast rather than waiting until after the hurricane hit?

      Why has it taken so long, dear God, so long to get help to this
      devastated area?

      Why have people been sitting on their rooftops for four days in
      some cases, waiting for someone to rescue them?

      Why have people been allowed to die in the streets of New Orleans?

      Let us pray for the growing, if belated response of our government
      to this crisis, and more importantly let us pray for the victims
      of Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath.


      Please check out the Chi Rho Cards! Our line of
      greeting cards, by the talented New York artist Timothy
      Leetch, are now available. See the descriptions of the
      cards on our Web site at:

      Order some cards today!


      Gracia y paz,

      R. Adam DeBaugh, Director, Adam@....


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