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A FAMILY RESOURCE

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faith comm unity

Illustration by Anne Berry

“God’s family cares for each other and worships God together.”

FAMILY FOOD TIME p. 4-5 GAME TIME p. 6 GOD’S WORD p.8 WORSHIP & CREATE p. 9-10 BLESSING p. 14


How 1 to 2 Use

It’s as easy as 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... Start by deciding on a day and time that works well for your entire family. It can be an evening, afternoon or morning. Just commit to building this time into your family’s natural rhythm. (It’s usually best to build this time around a meal!)

this Resource

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Remember to HAVE FUN! Strive to make each gathering unique to your own family as you enjoy spending time with God and each other.

Editor’s Note

A few years ago I was convinced that God was calling me to move about four hours north to a new community. I prayed. I sought wise counsel. I was convinced that this was what I was supposed to do. Within weeks after the move, the loneliness was deafening. I missed my faith community. I missed the buzz of the greetings and hugs as we gathered in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. I longed for times of corporate worship. I missed the people whose lives let me know they loved me, they were thankful for me, and that I mattered to them. So I moved back after only a year. I came back to people who had walked with me through broken times in my life—through both heartbreak and happiness. I returned to the friends who dove into the wreckage of my life and showed me who God is, time and time again. I’m home again now. I’m re-connected with my community where I am known for the good and bad of it all. It’s family, and it’s safe on a deep level, like a song where you recognize the lyrics the minute you hear the first note.

© 2011 David C. Cook. TruResources are developed in partnership with ROCKHARBOR Church and a national network of family and children’s ministry leaders. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

Look through the Homefront Monthly and see what stands out. Choose one or two experiences that you would like to incorporate into your family times this week. Don’t feel burdened to complete all the activities at once, but carefully select which ones will fit your family best. Each month of curriculum provides more than enough experiences to last you throughout the month.

As parents, it is important that we intentionally and strategically set up this kind of an environment where our children can be a part of a Faith Community— connected to those with like-minded faith. This month’s issue of HomeFront will provide your family with resources to enjoy with your faith community while being challenged on the importance of being known by others with shared beliefs and values.

DEBBIE GUINN | EDITOR The Tru Team | Costa Mesa

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ENVIRONMENT

FAITH COMMUNITY This month as we live in the environment of the Faith Community, we recognize afresh how God designed us to live relationally and to experience Him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. In Faith Community we experience an environment designed to equip and disciple us as parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness to our families, and to bring a depth of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer our children a rich identity. As we live with God in this community together, our love for each other reflects the love from Him that we have received.

VERSE OF THE MONTH Memorizing Scripture can be an incredible practice to engage in as a family. But words in and of themselves will not necessarily transform us; it is God’s Spirit in these words that transforms. We come to know God more when we are willing to open our hearts and receive His Holy Spirit through the words we memorize. Have fun with these verses and think of creative ways to invite your family to open up to God as they commit these verses to memory.

ELEMENTARY VERSE

MICHELLE ANTHONY | FAMILIES ROCKHARBOR Church | Costa Mesa, CA

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 PRESCHOOL/KINDER VERSE

“Cheer each other up with the hope you have. Build each other up. In fact, that’s what you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIrV)

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

God designed us to live in community and to experience Him in ways that can only happen in proximity to one another. The faith community serves to create an environment to equip and disciple parents, to celebrate God’s faithfulness, and to bring a richness of worship through tradition and rituals, which offer children an identity. Our love for each other reflects the love of God we have received

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by Angelina Pavone

FAMILY FOOD TIME Recipe: Salad & Pasta Bar

There are few things that can bring a group of people together like food. For our family, mealtime is when you hear the most laughter. There is something special about dining together and this is even truer when you invite others to share a meal with you. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

Whether it’s an elaborate dinner party or simply having a pizza delivered, great conversation is sure to follow when you gather around the table. This month, as we live in the environment of the Faith Community, we’d like to encourage you to invite others to enjoy this recipe with you. If you are hosting, you may choose to provide the pasta and the greens. It could be fun to have other families bring their favorite toppings, or you can split up the ingredients in any way that works for you! This simple group recipe guarantees that everyone will love the meal!

Salad Ingredients: • Lettuce/Greens

• Bleu cheese

• Tomatoes

• Bacon

• Broccoli

• Garbanzo beans

• Carrots

• Snap peas

• Cucumber

• Oil & vinegar

• Avocado

• Dressing of your choice

• Bell pepper

• Sliced almonds

• Feta cheese

Pasta Ingredients: • Pasta noodles of any kind

• Parmesan cheese

• Meatballs

• Marinara sauce

• Feta cheese

• Tomatoes

• Meat sauce

• Sun-dried tomatoes

• Broccoli

• Alfredo sauce

• Grilled vegetables

• Red pepper flakes

• Butter

• Grilled chicken

• Pesto

Instructions: The ingredients are just suggestions. To make this recipe work, all you need to do is add your favorites!

1. 2. 3.

Precook the pasta and chop up the greens so it’s ready to serve when you are ready to eat, or when your guests arrive. Set out all of the ingredients that your family or guests have chosen. Let everyone make up his or her own bowls of salad and pasta.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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by Debbie Guinn

FAMILY FOOD TIME

Conversation Starters: Who Would You Choose And Why? One of the ways recognize those who are an important part of our community is by identifying who we would choose to be our companions in different scenarios.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

It’s interesting to determine who we might choose to have fun with, versus those we would choose to protect us or work alongside of us. Get your children talking by asking the following question:

Name the THREE PEOPLE with whom you would choose to…

Lead with you if you were president

Be lost with in a forest Be with you in a power outage

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Be stranded with on a desert island

Sit with on a 24-hour flight

Spend a day with at an amusement park Be stuck with in traffic

If you had a problem pray with you

Then ask, “Why would you choose these three people to be your community in each scenario?” Parents, be sure you answer too.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Debbie Guinn

GAME TIME The games we have selected this month are best done in a group setting. This would be a great opportunity for you to invite friends, family, or neighbors to join you for an afternoon or evening of fun. YOUNGER GAMES Who Am I? HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

Take a 3x5 card and write several characters names on the cards. Be sure to include characters that are familiar with young children (ex: Cinderella, Spiderman, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, etc.). Pass the cards out to only the children (no peeking!). Have them hold their card on their forehead and encourage them to begin to ask questions to discover who they are. For instance: Where do I live? Who are my friends? What color is my hair? Do I wear any special clothing? Allow them to continue to ask questions until they discover who they are. When everyone is finished put all the cards back in a pile and play again.

OLDER GAMES Roaring Rock, Paper, Scissors Rock, Paper, Scissors is typically a game for two players. However, this “roaring” edition is sure to provide a lot of laughs while fueling the encouragement and support of your community.

Divide all players into pairs. Each player makes a fist with one hand and holds the other open, palm upward. Together, they tap their fists in their open palms once, twice, and on the third time form one of three items: a rock (by keeping the hand in a fist), a sheet of paper (by holding the hand flat, palm down), or a pair of scissors (by extending their index and middle fingers and holding them apart).

H e r e’s H o w To P l a y :

The winner of each round is determined by the shape that each pair forms. For example, if one player forms “rock” and the other forms “scissors”, then the “rock” wins

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

rock

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(because a rock can smash scissors). If one player forms “scissors” and the other forms “paper”, the “scissors” win (because scissors can cut paper). If one player forms “paper” and the other forms “rock”, the “paper” wins (because a sheet of paper can cover a rock). If the same item is formed, it’s a tie.

After one round is completed, the loser from that round becomes the cheerleader for the winner. The winner of each round (accompanied by their cheerleader) is then matched with a new partner. After each round, the loser becomes the cheerleader for each new winner. This continues until you are down to two players with the entire room cheering and chanting the name of the two remaining winners. The larger the group the more “roaring” this game gets! paper

scissors


by Staci Igarashi

STORYTELLING Where Two or More are Gathered

I grew up in a very small resort community near North Lake Tahoe. My family members were the only permanent residents that lived on our street. My mom, sister, and I had to drive at least 30 minutes to reach our church. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

And to make things even more interesting, I was home schooled for the first eight years of my scholastic journey. So between living in a very small community and being home schooled, things were pretty quiet and sheltered. I loved being home schooled. I enjoyed the freedom to do my schoolwork in the car on the way to the ski resorts. I appreciated the one-on-one attention with my mom. I learned the importance of friendships with other Christians. I thrived in the little world that had been created around me. But the day came when I had to leave this safe world. Once I reached ninth grade I enrolled in our local public high school, where my dad was the band teacher. I didn’t realize that the transition would be so shocking. The first three months were overwhelming as I was hearing kids talk back to their teachers,

“WE ALL HAVE A NEED AND DESIRE TO BE WITH THOSE WHO ARE LIKE US AND BELIEVE WHAT WE DO.” swearing, and discussing things I had never heard of. Almost immediately, I started to search for some sort of community amongst the worldly place in which I now found myself. This wasn’t my familiar bubble anymore. I felt alone and needed a friend who shared the same values as I did. I needed a refuge. Since my dad was a teacher at the school, I tried to talk to him about my need for community, but he was not a Christian and so he didn’t understand what it was that I was missing. But God did and He heard my cry. I discovered that my geometry teacher, Mr. Fandle, was a Christian. He was an older man with smiling eyes and a sweetspirited laugh. He made it clear that he was not able to verbally talk about his beliefs in class, but everyday he wrote a verse on the board for all of us to see. It

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

Photo by Jenny Lee

was like I hit gold! I found a teacher—possibly the only one in the school—who loved Jesus. I learned that Mr. Fandle opened up his room during lunch to any students who wanted to pray. He couldn’t lead the prayer group himself, but if students wanted to meet and pray, they were welcome to use his room. So every Wednesday at lunch, I found solace and comfort in his classroom. I met with other kids who were believers. There were only a handful of us, but we had formed a tiny faith community. I wouldn’t trade the experience at my public high school for anything. Being in a place where I could be a light in a dark place was hard but God showed me that I wasn’t alone. We all have a need and desire to be with those who are like us and believe what we do. We find courage in knowing we are not alone. I hope that this story can be a conversation starter for your family.

Talk with your children about the times when you knew you needed a friend. Who were the friends that you found the most comfort in, and why? Today, thank God for those He has placed in your life. God knows you can’t do it alone and He doesn’t want you to either.

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by Rae Lynn Lott & Debbie Guinn

GOD’S WORD Friends Through Fire

When Babylon took over the nation of Judah and destroyed Jerusalem, the nation also took captive Hebrew men of nobility to serve them. Among those who were taken into captivity were Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

What comfort it must have brought to these four young men to realize they had each other. Together, they could stand firm in their convictions when faced with circumstances that asked them to compromise their faith. Without each other it is possible they could have forgotten who they were. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s shared beliefs and values provided a powerful foundation for them to stand against a culture that was demanding them to turn from God. Illustration by Anne Berry

During the captivity, the Babylonians changed all Hebrew names to Babylonian ones. Daniel became “Belteshazzar” and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah became “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” The goal of the Babylonian king was to make these followers of Israel’s God conform to the Babylonian culture and religion. Even though these men found themselves completely submerged into Babylonian culture—even to the point of having their names changed—they chose not to compromise their faith. Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego’s first challenge came when they were asked to eat Babylonian meat. This meat most likely was offered to idols or prepared in ways that violated Hebrew law. Daniel and his friends chose to obey God’s law, and therefore ate only the fruits and vegetables they were offered. God rewarded them for their unwillingness to compromise. They became even stronger than the other men who ate the king’s food. The Babylonians attempted to make these Hebrew men conform to their culture and ways. Though,

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HEAR IT: It appears that Daniel and his friends became a strong support system for one another. One such incident, where three of these friends chose to stand together, was when they were asked by King Nebuchadnezzar to bow before a statue built of gold. Read this part of The Big God Story together in Daniel 3.

DO IT: After reading Daniel 3, share together as a family, about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in. Discuss together if you shared this experience with anyone who was likeminded when you made your stand. If yes, how did that encourage you? If not, describe how you think being with others of like-minded faith might have impacted that situation.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

Daniel and his friends reflected Babylonian culture through their appearance, the names they were given, and the language they spoke, their similarity was only skin-deep. Though on the outside they may have looked like Babylonians, their hearts did not serve the Babylonian gods. Daniel and his friends continued to serve the one, true God.

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For many of us, the most exciting part of a birthday party (besides eating the cake, perhaps) is singing the “Happy Birthday” song. It is the moment in the party when everyone stops to focus their attention on the guest of honor. Voices are joined, whether on key or off, to recognize and celebrate the honoree. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

by Jeff Fernandez, Debbie Guinn & Jennifer Cho Salaff

WORSHIP

WE OFTEN THINK OF WORSHIP AS SINGING, BUT WE CAN WORSHIP GOD IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS: PRAYER, SILENCE, ART, DANCE, GIVING, SHARING, AND THANKSGIVING —JUST TO NAME A FEW. MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR FAMILY WORSHIP TIME, BUT PREPARE YOURSELF TO HOLD THESE PLANS LOOSELY IF THE HOLY SPIRIT LEADS YOU IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. It’s not necessarily the song itself that makes someone feel special. It’s the fact that their loved ones are gathered to celebrate them and in that short moment, all attention is focused on them as multiple people choose to sing one song.

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If singing “Happy Birthday” can stir such emotion in us, can you image how the God of the universe must feel when His beautiful and beloved creation (that’s us!) chooses to gather together to sing His praise? That’s why is it important that we gather as a faith community and worship God together, in addition to our private worship. The faith community is a place where we can be strengthened, be known, remember God, and celebrate in worship.

W orship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Psalm 100:2 This month, grab your favorite worship CD and the instruments from the Create section of this issue and invite your faith community to join you as you have fun worshipping God together.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Kayla Adams

CREATE This month, we want to encourage you and your family to spend time creating and worshipping with other members of your faith community. David encourages us in Psalm 150 to use instruments while praising God—the trumpet, the harp, the strings, the tambourine, and even the symbols. What better way to illustrate the importance of a community worshipping together than to have families gather with their homemade instruments.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

Each of these instruments are easy to make with household items and are simple enough that even your youngest child can make them with a little help from their older siblings. After creating your own instruments, read the Worship section of this issue for an activity that your can do with your faith community.

Bead Noise Maker SUPPLIES: •8 ½ x 11 piece of Cardstock or thick construction paper • A large popsicle stick • Twine (String or Ribbon will work fine too) • 10 large beads

• A stapler

DIRECTIONS: Take your construction paper and cut out two circles that are the same size. Place the popsicle stick ½ way through your two pieces and staple them all together.

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Cut 10 pieces of your twine and tie a bead to each end. Punch two holes in your cardstock and tie five pieces on each side. To make noise, twist your popsicle stick back and forth.

Paper Cup Shakers SUPPLIES: • A Paper Cup and Lid • Dried rice • Tape • Any extras you want to decorate with DIRECTIONS: Pour rice into your cup until it is about half-way full. Attach the lid to the top and secure with tape. Decorate with paper and stickers and markers so that your child can make it their own!

Paper Tambourine SUPPLIES:

• (2) Paper Plates • Dried beans • Stapler

• Streamers or Ribbon to add on for fun

DIRECTIONS: Take the pinto beans and place an even layer across the bottom of one of your paper plates. Place the other plate on top of it and staple around the edges. Be sure to staple close enough so that none of your beans come out while shaking your tambourine. Kids can make them their own by decorating with streamers, paint, construction paper, stickers, markers and any other fun items you have at your house. © 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.


by Kayla Adams

PRAYER

Praying For Your Kids’ Friends

I remember the day that my parents dropped me off for college. As we walked back to the car to say goodbye, all of the excitement began to wear off as the realization of having no friends hit me fast. I hugged both of my parents and after a few tears, made my way back up to my room. Over the next few days, I was so overwhelmed with this new phase of life that I went into “hermit mode”. I went to class and came back to my room. I didn’t go to any of the new student activities. I didn’t even make it into the cafeteria for meals. After a few weeks of this, I ran into a girl I had met during orientation the previous summer. She introduced me to a few of her friends and after going

out for dinner, I discovered that one of them was a Christian. We immediate clicked and even discovered that we were in a class together. I can’t even explain to you the joy I felt that day. Knowing that the Lord had provided just one person to help get me through that season of my life. I called my mom. With tears, she responded, “I have been praying for weeks that you would find just one girl to connect with.” Knowing that she and my dad had been praying for the people I would meet brought such a peace into my life. My mom said she had been praying for my friends since I was a little girl. “Dad and I have always prayed that you would surround yourself with people who know the Lord and who are wise and will push you to grow as a person and in your faith,” she told me.

Photo by Trever Hoehne

I’ve started looking at the people who have mentored me, who have walked beside me during the lows, who have celebrated the highs, and even those who have been there for trivial day-to-day happenings. It has become so completely evident to me that the Lord’s hand has been in every one of those relationships and that there was a purpose that I didn’t always see until later down the road.

“It has become so completely evident to me that the Lord’s hand has been in every one of those relationships.”

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

There are almost seven billion people in the world. Of those billions, we surround ourselves with a very small group of people we call our friends. They are our community, our family—the people who we walk through life with. Some of these friendships are for a season, some of them continue throughout our life. Regardless of how long they last, they have an influence on our decisions and our thoughts. They are a part of who we are and shape the people we become.

This month, we’d like to encourage you to pray for your childrens’ friends. For the friends they have now, for the friends they make in junior high, high school, and even college. Pray that they would not only choose good friends, but that they would be a good friend to others. Be specific and pray that they would not only find friends who are willing to listen, who are thoughtful and kind, and have forgiving hearts—but that they would be that kind of friend as well. Pray that God would send them friends who love them for who they are, and will encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

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Sundae Sunday

For years, my parents and their close friends from Bible studies, church gatherings, and mentoring relationships have come over on Sunday to share food and share life. All of these people are dear to me and have entered into my life at different points, helping to mold and change me into who I am today. Although some of us are now separated by states, we still make it a point to have “family gatherings” at our house and I still crave that time with them each Sunday.

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream!

To cultivate community with your neighbors, family and friends, try this tradition: Sundae, Sunday! Every Sunday (or one Sunday a month), choose a home for your group to gather together and make ice cream sundaes. The host home provides the ice cream and the guests provide a topping to share with everyone. Some fun toppings might be sprinkles, marshmallows, hot fudge, nuts, candy bar pieces, etc. This is a perfect time to share community together over a sweet treat!

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Photos by Kayla Adams

A TRADITION IS THE HANDING DOWN OF STATEMENTS, BELIEFS, LEGENDS OR CUSTOMS FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. WHAT TRADITIONS ARE IN PLACE FOR YOUR FAMILY? WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO PASS DOWN TO THE NEXT GENERATION? IT IS ALWAYS FUN TO CREATE NEW TRADITIONS WITH EACH GENERATION.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

by Natalie Venerri

TRADITIONS


When Couples Pray

My wife and I found ourselves in need of prayer over issues dealing with infertility. For two and a half years, we struggled not only with the inability to conceive but also with the pain that comes from not knowing which direction to take or how to find peace in waiting. HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

by Tommy Larson

MARRIAGE

There is, of course, the fear that such a sensitive issue could also drive a wedge between a husband and wife. We prayed without ceasing over this issue and we truly believe that our marriage avoided such a wedge through the commitment to be united in prayer. Eventually, we did find peace in waiting and realized that we needed to be all right with the fact that God might be silent for a season. In the midst of waiting, God gave us an indescribable peace and encouragement through our faith community. People rallied around us who believed in the power of prayer. Some prayed for a miracle, others prayed for a peace, while others prayed for a strengthening of our marriage.

As you look to the month ahead, choose a married couple in your faith community who may need encouragement. You might be surprised to find that God is calling the you to pray or reach out to a couple that you don’t know all that well. Unity through prayer is one of the strongest ways to strengthen the faith community and your own marriage as well. We can believe with certainty that God will bless relationships that are built of a foundation of faith.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF ANOTHER COUPLE APPROACHED YOU AND TOLD YOU THAT THEY HAD BEEN PRAYING FOR YOU ALL MONTH?”

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by Debbie Guinn

BLESSING We need God’s wisdom to know how to navigate in a world that is hostile toward Him. We need each other for accountability and encouragement. This month add your child’s name to this passage of Scripture as you read it aloud over him/her.

HOMEFRONT | ENVIRONMENT | FAITH COMMUNITY

BLESSING

your child’s name “____________ be very careful how you live. Do not live like people who aren’t wise. Live like people who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil. So don’t be foolish. Instead, understand what the Lord wants.” Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIrV) A blessing can be a prayer of commission, a Bible passage or words of encouragement. As your children are blessed, tell them that they have the opportunity to also be a blessing to others. Encourage them to freely give away to others the joy and love they have received from God. Blessings can also be spoken over a child for the purpose of declaring God’s protection, joy and wisdom over him.

HomeFront Weekly: Don’t forget to grab your HomeFront weekly’s when picking up your kids from service. There is a preschool & elementary version to choose from. These weekly’s will help prepare your children for the weekend ahead at church.

© 2011 David C. Cook. All rights reserved.

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David C. Cook - Homefront, Faith Community  

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