Tag Archives: Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

J. Roswell Flower: Pentecostal Church Leader, Publisher, Statesman, Educator

Flower family1400

Flower family, circa 1936 (L-R): David, Suzanne, George, Alice R., J. Roswell, Adele, Joseph, Roswell

This Week in AG History —August 16, 1970

By Darrin J. Rodgers
Originally published on AG News, 16 August 2018

J. Roswell Flower (1888-1970) was elected, at age 25, to serve as the first general secretary of the Assemblies of God. He went on to become one of the Fellowship’s most prominent leaders in its first four decades. When he went to be with the Lord, General Superintendent Thomas F. Zimmerman declared, “The name of J. Roswell Flower was synonymous with the Assemblies of God.”

Flower demonstrated remarkable leadership at a young age. He proved adept at writing and publishing, which gave him a platform in the emerging Pentecostal movement. In 1908, just over one year after his conversion, he began publishing a small magazine, The Pentecost. At the time, he was just 20 years old. In 1910, he gave the magazine to ministry colleague A. S. Copley. He married Alice Reynolds in 1911, and together they began another magazine, the Christian Evangel, in 1913. It was the only weekly Pentecostal periodical in existence.

When the Assemblies of God was organized in April 1914, Flower was only 25 years old. There were many people in attendance who were older and more experienced, yet delegates entrusted Flower to serve as the first general secretary. He also served as manager of Gospel Publishing House and, in 1919, he became the first Foreign Missions secretary.

Flower was an early champion of education. In 1922, he encouraged Pentecostals to support the establishment of a school in India in order to secure “greater and more permanent results for God.” He was one of the original faculty members of Central Bible Institute (CBI), which was founded in Springfield, Missouri, in 1922. In 1923, he proposed that all Assemblies of God missionaries be required to spend a term at CBI, which would allow church leaders to train and get to know the character and abilities of prospective missionaries. Flower’s proposal proved unpopular, however, and he was not re-elected at the 1923 General Council. He instead became Foreign Missions treasurer. Two years later, he was not re-elected to that position.

J. Roswell and Alice Flower moved to Pennsylvania, where they spent the next decade in pastoral and district leadership. In 1929, he was elected to serve as superintendent of the Eastern District Council. He was a regular lecturer at Bethel Bible Training School, an Assemblies of God school in New Jersey. Significantly, he helped Alice to establish a summer Bible school, located on the Eastern District campground, which was the forerunner of the University of Valley Forge. Flower emphasized education because he believed that careful study of the Bible would be essential for the growth and maturation of the Assemblies of God.

Delegates to the 1935 General Council elected Flower to again serve as general secretary, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1959. During this period Flower emerged as a leading Pentecostal statesman, encouraging cooperative efforts among believers with similar faith commitments. He labored to make the Assemblies of God a founding member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and he helped form the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America and the Pentecostal World Fellowship. Flower also was involved in civic leadership, serving on the Springfield City Council and on the boards of various organizations.

J. Roswell Flower’s remarkable leadership flowed out of his rich spiritual life. He and Alice modeled a home life that bore witness to the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Alice was a prolific author and preacher, and her sermons, books, and articles on the Christian home were widely read. They practiced what they preached. Five of their six children also entered full-time ministry; the sixth died while in Bible school.

It is appropriate that Flower became the namesake of the archives and museum located in the Assemblies of God national office. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, which is the largest Pentecostal archives in the world, preserves and promotes the heritage of a movement for which Flower helped lay the foundation.

Read the article, “J. R. Flower with Christ,” on page 4 of the Aug. 16, 1970, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “What the Holy Spirit Does,” by Harvey McAlister

• “We Preached in Romania” by Joe G. Mazzu Jr.

• “New Arkansas Teen Challenge Reaching Desperate Youth”

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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Ruthie Oberg on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation


Reformation Day Chapel from Assemblies of God USA on Vimeo.

Rev. Ruthie Oberg was the featured speaker for a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation at the Assemblies of God National Office chapel in Springfield, Missouri, on October 31, 2017. Watch her rousing history lesson above.

Ruthie Oberg, an events speaker with the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, is available to speak at your church or district function. Ruthie’s sermons and presentations about Pentecostal history are educational, entertaining, inspirational, and convicting.

Ruthie is an ordained Assemblies of God minister and has served in senior and associate pastoral roles for 25 years. She speaks at national conferences and has also produced a daily radio program. Her articles have appeared in the Pentecostal Evangel, Enrichment, and Assemblies of God Heritage, and she is a regular contributor to “This Week in AG History” for AG News.

Invite Ruthie Oberg for a Sunday service, weekend training event, or special historical celebration.  Schedule a service by calling the Heritage Center at 877-840-5200 or emailing roberg@ag.org.

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Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

 

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Secret Police Dossier on Persecuted Bulgarian Pentecostal Leader Deposited at Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center

StefanovStefan Stefanov (1948-1988), a deacon in the Assemblies of God church in Shumen, Bulgaria, was persecuted by the communist government in the 1970s and 1980s. Stefan’s father, Nikola, had started the Shumen congregation in the late 1940s and was imprisoned following the infamous Pastoral Trial of 1948-1949. The communist government, aiming to stamp out Christianity, labeled his son, Stefan, a “fanatic” because he refused to compromise his faith.  The secret police told Stefan that he must not allow children to attend church services, which were held in his house.  He refused to obey, was beaten numerous times, and was placed under house arrest and exiled to surrounding villages for three years (1975-1978). Shortly before he died in 1988, Stefan received a prophecy that he would not leave Bulgaria, but that his testimony would travel around the world through his sons, Borislav and Nikolai.

After the Bulgarian communist government fell, Borislav went to the archives of the secret police and was allowed to photocopy his father’s dossier. The dossier includes confiscated personal correspondence, transcripts of intercepted phone conversations, and reports from informants. Nikolai and his wife, Michelle, today deposited a copy of the dossier at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center is committed to preserving and sharing the testimonies of Pentecostals from the persecuted church!

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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Now Hiring: Two Professional Archivist Positions at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, MO

fphc-vault

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in Springfield, Missouri, seeks to hire an Archivist and a Digital Archivist. The two positions are full time with benefits (see job descriptions below).

The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC) is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. Located in the Assemblies of God National Office, the FPHC’s collections span the broader Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. Staff members have the privilege of interacting with scholars, church leaders, and those who lived the history. The positions are ideal for a trained librarian or archivist who loves our Pentecostal heritage. Our work here is very meaningful.

Please forward this information to people who would be a good fit for the positions of Archivist or Digital Archivist. These are important positions, and it will take special persons to fill them.

All candidates must complete the application on the Assemblies of God National Office HR website: https://jobopenings.ag.org/careers.aspx  I would be delighted to speak to inquirers.

Darrin J. Rodgers, M.A., J.D.
Director, Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802 USA
phone: (417) 862-1447, ext. 4400
toll free: (877) 840-5200
email: drodgers@ag.org
website: www.iFPHC.org

___________________

The position descriptions are listed below.

Archivist

Position summary:

The Archivist is a key member of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s curatorial and special collections team and plays a pivotal role in helping the FPHC to care for and promote its collections. S/he will be responsible for overseeing the organization, cataloging, processing, care and accessibility of its archival materials and rare book collections.

Experience required:

1) Two years work experience in a library or archives, including online cataloging; 2) Knowledge of archival principles of arrangement and description for cataloging, and familiarity with MARC data elements; 3) A working knowledge of Pentecostal history is needed for purposes of cataloging; 4) Computer/PC proficiency. Aptitude to catalog in multiple languages preferred.

Education/Training required:

Master’s Degree in Library/Archival Science or equivalent experience.

Personality qualities required:

Position requires good organizational skills, a high level of concentration, and attention to detail, in order to maintain necessary high quality and consistency.

Salary:

The salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience (Salary Range Code 19).

Job duties:

1) Process/Catalog archival materials.

  • Accession, process, inventory and catalog archival materials and publications;
  • Create MARC-format catalog records for FPHC online catalog;
  • Create word processed finding aids to facilitate access to archives and manuscript collections;
  • Establish name and subject entries and ensure the implementation of current, consistent cataloging standards; and
  • Identify manuscript materials in need of conservation treatment and recommend appropriate treatment.

2) Reference services.

3) Fulfill special tasks assigned by the Director.

______________________

Digital Archivist

Position summary:

The Digital Archivist is a key member of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center’s curatorial and special collections team. S/he will be responsible for overseeing the development of the FPHC website and digital resources.  The Digital Archivist will also process archival materials and supervises Archives Specialists.

Experience required:

1) Two years work experience in a library or archives or in a related history field; 2)  Knowledge of archival principles and procedures; 3) Computer/PC proficiency. Familiarity with scanning, Adobe Acrobat, WordPress, DSpace, CONTENTdm, and video and audio editing preferred.

Education/Training required:

Master’s Degree in Library/Archival Science or equivalent experience.

Personality qualities required:

Position requires good organizational skills, a high level of concentration, and attention to detail, in order to maintain necessary high quality and consistency.

Salary:

The salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience (Salary Range Code 20).

Job duties:
1. Maintain and develop Heritage Center website.

2. Digitize archival materials.

  • Scan, OCR, or capture photographs, text, audio, and video materials according to the accepted archival standards;
  • Assign appropriate identification as well as physical location for files;
  • Provide means for physical and file-format migration when needed; and
  • Establish working relations with outside vendors when assistance is needed.

3. Process paper archival materials as assigned by the Director.

4. Train and supervise part-time Archives Specialists.

5. Other responsibilities.

  • Keep abreast of technology and procedures useful in creating digital access to archival materials;
  • Assist the Director in developing and maintaining digital exhibits in the Museum;
  • Maintain quality control on scanning equipment;
  • Work with freelancers and vendors on projects; and
  • Complete other assignments as delegated by the Director.

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Alexander C. Stewart Deposits Important African-American Pentecostal Collection at FPHC

Stewart3

William L. Bonner (left), Chief Apostle of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., with Alexander C. and Shirlene Stewart on their wedding day, June 22, 1985, at Solomon’s Temple, Detroit, Michigan.

Alexander C. Stewart, the respected historian of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. (COOLJC), has deposited an important African-American Pentecostal collection at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC).

Stewart has a long history in both Trinitarian and Oneness African-American churches. He was raised in Bethel Gospel Assembly, the large Harlem congregation affiliated with the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God. In 1974, while still in high school, he accepted the Oneness message and became a member of Greater Refuge Temple, the COOLJC headquarters church located in Harlem. Immediately upon joining his new church, he began collecting historical materials relating to African-American Oneness Pentecostalism.

Stewart described his passion for preserving Pentecostal history: “My life was changed, and I wanted to ensure the preservation of the legacy, heritage and contributions of African Americans and African-Caribbean Americans to Pentecostalism and American religion. As denominations and religious movements mature, generations become disconnected from the values, struggles and sacrifices of their founders. We must remember where we came from, and we must know our roots, so we can shape the future for this generation and the next.”

Alexander Stewart has served the COOLJC in various capacities. In 1988, he was appointed Chairman of the Church History Committee for the Greater Refuge Temple Board of Youth Education. He was editor of the Board’s periodical, Educationally Speaking. In 1991, he was appointed Assistant Historian, serving under Dr. Robert C. Spellman. Stewart and his wife, Shirlene, moved in 1993 to Columbia, South Carolina, and assisted Chief Apostle William L. Bonner in planting a new congregation. When the W. L. Bonner School of Theology (now W. L. Bonner College) was established in Columbia in 1995, Alexander and Shirlene were founding faculty members. He holds a Masters of Theology (Parkerburg Bible College, 2002) and a Masters of Theological Studies (Regent University, 2014).

A careful researcher and writer, Stewart has edited or written for numerous scholarly and church-related publications. His first book, The Silent Spokesman: Bishop Robert Clarence Lawson (1994), was co-authored with Sherry Sherrod DuPree. He also served as editorial and research consultant for the 1999 biography of Presiding Bishop William L. Bonner, And the High Places I’ll Bring Down. He also wrote three articles in The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (Blackwell, 2011), edited by Dr. George Thomas Kurian. He is a longtime member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and he has presented three papers at the society’s annual meetings.

Stewart

A few publications from the Alexander C. Stewart Collection.

The Alexander C. Stewart Collection consists of 6 linear feet of publications, newspaper clippings, and correspondence, primarily relating to the COOLJC, other African-American Oneness Pentecostal churches, and Bethel Gospel Assembly. The bulk of the collection documents the development of the COOLJC over the past 30 years, with special attention to denominational publications and W. L. Bonner College.

Stewart began depositing materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center over 20 years ago and has continued to add items over the years. Due to the collection’s size and importance, the items have been brought together and recataloged as a special collection, which will aid researchers. Stewart has placed additional collections of materials at the following repositories: the United Pentecostal Historical Center (Hazelwood, MO), Schomburg Center for Black Research (New York Public Library), and Pan-African Archive of the William Seymour College (Bowie, MD).

The Alexander C. Stewart Collection is important, as it provides researchers access to materials that may otherwise be difficult to find. African-Americans, other than the iconic figures of William J. Seymour and Charles H. Mason, are often neglected in standard Pentecostal history books. This is ironic, as African-Americans played leading roles in the origins and development of Pentecostalism in America. In concentrating on the development of certain white segments of the movement, historians often have under-represented the stories of ethnic minorities and those in the plethora of smaller Pentecostal denominations. In recent years, the FPHC has attempted to remedy this problem by building bridges across the racial, linguistic, national, and denominational divides, intentionally collecting materials from the broader Pentecostal movement.

The Alexander C. Stewart collection fills in important gaps in the FPHC’s collections by making accessible a large amount of primary and secondary source materials on the COOLJC, which is the second largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination in the United States. The Alexander C. Stewart Collection takes its place alongside other significant African-American Pentecostal collections deposited at the FPHC in recent years, including:

_________________

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

 

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Collection of Madison R. Tatman, Oneness Pentecostal Pioneer, Deposited at FPHC

Tatman

The personal papers and publications of Madison R. Tatman (1872-1953), an early Pentecostal evangelist who was active in both Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostal circles, were recently deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. Known as the “Cyclone Evangelist,” Tatman traveled across North America and interacted with many key figures of the early Pentecostal movement.

Tatman started in the ministry in 1902 in the General Eldership of the Churches of God in North America (also known as the Winebrenner Church of God), a German Arminian Baptist denomination with congregations located mostly in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. After experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the spring of 1906, Tatman identified with the Pentecostal movement and transferred his credentials to the Apostolic Faith Mission.

Articles and revival reports by Tatman appeared in various early Pentecostal periodicals. He also published a book of sermons and poetry, 12 Loaves of Living Bread (1935), and several tracts and booklets. One of Tatman’s tracts, “Why I Left the Mission” (1911), detailed his disagreements with Chicago Pentecostal leader William H. Durham. In 1915, Tatman was re-baptized in the name of Jesus and received credentials from the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.

In 1924, he transferred his credentials to the Assemblies of God, noting that he disliked “the quarreling, fighting, quibbling and strike over different doctrinal points” among the Oneness advocates. While in the Assemblies of God, he served as pastor of Glad Tidings Revival Assembly in Oakland, California. Tatman left the Assemblies of God in 1927 and returned to the Oneness fold and served as a pastor and evangelist until his death in 1953.

Madison R. Tatman’s personal papers and publications, deposited at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center by an anonymous donor, consist of approximately 250 pages of sermon notes, correspondence, poetry, newspaper clippings, tracts, an unpublished book manuscript, and 20 photographs. The Tatman collection, which provides valuable insight into segments of the Pentecostal movement that are otherwise poorly documented, will be a boon to researchers.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: www.iFPHC.org

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James L. Tyson Deposits Important African-American Oneness Pentecostal Collection at FPHC

James Tyson

Bishop James L. Tyson (left) with Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Darrin Rodgers, showcasing his collection

The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), organized in 1907 in Los Angeles in the midst of the Azusa Street revival, emerged to become the largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination in the United States. The influence of the PAW stretched far, and its intentional interracial character continued long after the fires of the Azusa Street revival dimmed. Its most prominent presiding bishop, G. T. Haywood, was so esteemed by early Assemblies of God leaders that, when the Oneness movement became a point of contention in 1915, Haywood was asked to represent the Oneness position on the Assemblies of God’s General Council floor.

Despite the significance of the PAW, its history has been neglected by most standard histories of the Pentecostal movement. Over thirty years ago, James Laverne Tyson, the son of PAW Bishop James E. Tyson, felt the call to document and publish the history of his ancestral church. He interviewed the founding fathers and mothers of the PAW and collected rare publications and photographs. He authored eight books and numerous pamphlets, mostly about PAW history. His first book, Before I Sleep (1976), is a biography of Haywood, and his seminal work, The Early Pentecostal Revival (1992), is the benchmark history of the PAW from its inception to 1930.

Tyson recently retired from the pastorate and, in November 2015, he deposited his collection of PAW historical materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center, which is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. Tyson noted, “Decades ago when I started my historical research, one of the first places I went was the Assemblies of God Archives.” The former director, Wayne Warner, provided Tyson with access to information about the earliest years of the Pentecostal movement. The Assemblies of God Archives was renamed the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center in 1999. Tyson continued, “Now, at the end of my career, it is fitting that my life’s work should reside at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center for future generations of scholars who can pick up where I left off.”

Researchers at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center are now able to view the James L. Tyson Collection, which includes approximately 550 periodical issues, 150 books, 540 original photographs, and 4 linear feet of his files and research notes. The bulk of the publications date from the early 1920s through the late 1970s and include numerous histories of significant congregations, souvenir journals from PAW events, funeral programs, and assorted minute books and directories. Importantly, the collection includes the original 1918/1919 and 1919/1920 PAW minute books. The photographs, many of which have never been published, mostly date from the 1910s through the 1960s and include large rolled prints of early conventions. The collection includes many publications from the PAW’s historic headquarters church, Christ Temple (Indianapolis, Indiana), which Tyson’s father pastored. While the collection includes chiefly PAW materials, it also includes rare items from groups that broke away from the PAW, including the Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ World Wide (founded by Smallwood E. Williams) and the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith (founded by S. N. Hancock). Tyson previously owned additional artifacts and publications, which he had already given to several PAW bishops.

Christian Outlook

This original May 1931 issue of The Christian Outlook, the official periodical of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, is among the approximately 540 periodical issues in the James L. Tyson Collection.

The James L. Tyson Collection fills in a significant gap in the collections of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center. In recent years, the FPHC has acquired several major African-American Pentecostal collections, including:

Bishop J. O. Patterson, Sr. Collection (Patterson served as Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, 1968-1989)
Mother Lizzie Robinson/Rev. Elijah L. Hill Collection (Robinson was the founder of the Church of God in Christ Women’s Department)
• Robert James McGoings, Jr. Collection (McGoings was a prominent African-American Oneness Pentecostal from Baltimore, Maryland)
• Alexander Stewart Collection (Stewart was raised in the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God and is the historian for the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, which is the second largest African-American Oneness Pentecostal denomination)

__________________
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archives and research center in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200
Email: archives@ag.org
Website: http://www.iFPHC.org

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