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Saturday, September 19, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: I Love to Tell the Story Edition

It all started via e-mail, this Preacher Party of ours, when one preacher wrote to another and they realized they were both online and they kept sending little words of encouragement via the Internets. And it crossed their minds that other preachers in the webring might need the same sort of cheering up as Saturday afternoon turned to evening, and thus the 11th Hour Preacher Party was born.

The first Antonio Banderas reference appeared in those very comments (49 in all). You see, one of the evening-long email festivals took place while my daughter and I were watching Shrek 2. I just love that Puss-in-Boots. Somehow the notion arose that in our dreams a completed sermon would be delivered by the voice of Puss, Antonio Banderas himself.

Also in the comments at the very first Preacher Party, my emailing friend reassured us all with the following--

Now for the two things that one of my homiletics professors told me was absolutely essential to preaching:

1) Let it go... the Holy Spirit has got your back.

2) If you got a dog, walk it proud.

This is our story, friends. We've been throwing this party for over three years now. It's the most-visited feature on the blog every week. It's been a place to make friends and get help and let off steam. Thanks to all of you for your participation and contributions over the years.

We've shared many cyber-treats and I promise you, they are absolutely calorie free. I'll supply the molasses glazed doughnuts and keep the coffee and Diet Coke coming today. Pull up a chair and get out your laptops. Let's preach a good one this week!

110 comments:

  1. I am not preaching tomorrow, but here is my sermon on the gospel preached in my Preaching Mark class.
    I'ts a Summons to Service

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  2. good morning pals,

    This week has been hectic and I am teaching an all day work shop today. So I dusted off an old sermon and I'll be preaching off lectionary tommorrow. Here's some coffee for you all.

    love and peace,

    ps. last week's neutral pulpit went very well. I have another neutral pulpit next week. yeah! God is good!

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  3. Well, I am preaching tomorrow, and spending today with my husband who leaves in the morning (on our anniversary, no less) for two months in what I'm calling FarZona. We have relatives to visit before he goes. I have a draft, thankfully, but still need a Children's Word. Because of a schedule that does only includes a children's word twice a month, and never in the summer, and not during a rotation model last spring, this will be my first time doing one in my current setting. The sanctuary is beautiful but very formal and I'm having trouble figuring out just what to do. If you have thoughts about the possible topics, please share!

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  4. g_g, thanks for sharing your good news.
    Who's out there writing?

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  5. Good morning! I am here, on my way to play soccer, and then home to do some serious cleaning and load a bunch of stuff to take to BigChurch this afternoon for their rummage sale. This weekend is the Apple Festival and so the square where the church is will be hopping! Hope the Saturday night service will be too. I have a sermon ready on the Mark passage about - who is the invisible person today? Hope it flies. I am more focused on getting stuff out of my house than preaching tonight. Hmmmm....

    Thanks for the fab introduction SB - and thanks to KZJ and you for recognizing what a great thing this party could be! Those words of wisdom about walking the dog and the HS have saved me many a time.

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  6. I've got a working draft, though I know it needs some fine-tuning. I'm baptizing Baby Girl tomorrow, so the sermon is tuned in to that -- and the Lectionary Scriptures were beyond ideal for a baptism! Didn't even try it.

    So far, I've got just coffee to share, but for later, there's a bag of Pepperidge Farm goodies that I won at the silent auction at a CWS banquet last week, and some Diet A&W that I've been hitting hard since Mary Beth suggested it a few weeks ago!

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  7. Did you know that today is official talk like a pirate day. I'm thinking I'll deliver my sermon in pirate language and wear an eye patch. Do you think that'll work?

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  8. Yes, and if you have a Facebook, you can change your whole page to Pirate language. It's hilarious! I especially like that it counts the minutes since someone has posted as "shot o'rum ago"

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  9. What a mate' we 'ave in Jesus. aaarrrr.

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  10. thanks for the history, Songbird! I'm not preaching tomorrow, but I have a funeral today, for a retired pastor's wife. Her husband's last words of advice to me were, "Make plain the gospel!" He cited Hab. 2:2.

    Also, class on prayer for three year olds, and big big stewardship meeting.

    so, it's a busy day.

    glad for you g_g!

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  11. Avast, me Soul-an-Hearties! Stap me vitals if ye're not the best motley...(and saintly) crew this wee saltie ever careened or caroused with! In the spirit o Grainne Ui Mhaille, Anne Bonney and Mary Reade, happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

    No screevin' for this wench-- but here's some lobscouse and grog for those what needs it as they scour the seven seas for words to steal.

    (Does this pulpit make my pirate's booty look big?)

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  12. (D*mn and blast. GodGrrrl beat me to it. Arrrrgh!)

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  13. But nain will beat ye *at* it, MaineCelt.

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  14. Arrrrgh, the bigger the booty, the better the Pirate. Arrrrgh.

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  15. My two dogs have been joined by two others for the weekend so there is lots of running around but I don't have to do it. After working both days off last weekend, I am at home this one. All I have to do is work on the sermon and we all know that doesn't count as work, right?
    At a meeting Thursday, I mentioned that Proverbs 31 is not my favorite portion of Scripture. That got me to thinking that I probably need to preach it. My feminista side, which doesn't take up arms very often, is struggling with this and I need - suddenly - to shift my research focus. So it's off to textweek and FOTW for inspiration.
    As for cyber goodies, about all I can offer is power bars. They come in two flavors - double dark chocolate or dark chocolate with almonds! A glass of milk, fat free of course, comes with every one.

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  16. Not writing yet. I'm helping to send the kids off with my husband for a preschool birthday party while I head to my second funeral of the week. I knew it had been too long since I had any. After that I've got the last few minutes of a meeting for folks chairing committees to plan the PC(USA) GA in 2010. That's me. I'm the Information Booth chair! Any of you who make it here next July better come visit my snazzy booth!

    Anyway, sermon writing will hopefully go smoothly later. I have a pretty good outline that doesn't necessarily deal with the question I was dying to deal with, but I just couldn't make that sermon flow. So, oh well. If the Spirit shows up with the sermon of my dreams later today, I'll go with that. Otherwise I've got this one that is ready to be written.

    I'm preaching Mark. I wanted to deal with the fear. I just couldn't find my way out of it after dwelling in all the things we are afraid of. The unasked questions.

    Oooh oooh - - maybe we get our answers not by intellectually understanding, but by doing - - welcoming, following.

    We "get" the cross, not by understanding it with our minds, but living it with our lives.

    Does that preach? Did I literally just get my break through????

    Opinions craved!

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  17. Also, thanks for the history. I have heard the history of the whole blog, but not that party, which was definitely my "way in" to the ring. Many thanks for your wisdom in the past, present, and the future.

    (And I must be one of the best pirates out there! ARRRRRRRR!)

    Blessings at your daughter's baptism, Sarah. I have not baptized my own two children, but I've always wondered what it would be like if I did!

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  18. Hi all,
    Who knew it was talk like a pirate day?? Thank goodness for the Intarwebs, or I never would have known.

    Great news about last week GG!

    Songbird, sorry to hear that hubby has to go again, especially on the anniversary and all.... I guess that means the pre-anniversary celebration can be extra special.

    Sermon: Done. I'm focusing on a blend of the final verse from James about drawing nearer to Christ. The theme is that his hand is always there waiting for our hand to reach back take his. In other words, the decision part is ours, not Christ's. I'm using some great lyrics from "Dear Mother God" which is in our Voices United hymn book, and quoting the verses at different points in the sermon.

    "Dear Mother God, your wings are warm around us, we are enfolded in your love and care; safe in the dark, your heart beat’s pulse surrounds us, you call to us, for you are always there.

    You call to us, for we are in your image. We wait on you, the nest is cold and bare, high overhead your wing-beats call us onward. Filled with power, we ride the empty air.

    Let not our freedom scorn the needs of others – we climb the clouds until our strong heart sings; may we enfold our sisters and our brothers, till all are strong, till all have eagle’s wings.” (VU 270. lyrics, Janet Wooton. Music, R.R. Terry)

    I'm putting a fair bit of focus on the verse that says, 'We wait on you' - b/c it seems that so many so-called "seekers" out there are waiting for some kind of transcendent happy meal to be delivered with a prize and all (that term isn't in my sermon, btw) - but WE have to be the proactive ones in our own spiritual journey.

    Now - I'm off to a genealogy workshop with two of my sisters. See y'all later.
    Sorry for the long post!!!

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  19. Transcendent happy meal. Maybe my favorite description ever. I say, but it in the sermon!

    Ugh. My husband got a new keyboard at the sermon writing computer. It's supposed to be one of those special designed ones to make typing "safer," but man it's hard to get used to. Some keys are bigger than others and the lines are all curvy. ARGH! (Ha pirate word!) Don't mess with my keyboard on Saturday!!!

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  20. Morning all! I handed off the preaching to my deacon tomorrow, though I will need to translate if we have any actual Spanish speakers show up. But plenty on my writing plate today as I have to begin drafting my application for the Harvard Div. Women's Studies in Religion fellowship. Biggest pieces are an MA/MDiv/PhD class on "Eucharist and Priesthood in Medieval Women's Theology" and a book proposal on Mechthild of Hackeborn, the even more obscure (because less translated) sister of my previous book topic Gertrud of Helfta. Hence the proposal will require the oxymoronic sounding feat of rapid Latin reading.....

    But first I am taking the kids to Krispy Kreme and bringing back hot glazed donuts to share!

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  21. It appears to be a tradition at my house. Right before or right after my husband heads out for a job, Sam gets a hot spot or eats a toy. Fortunately, this time it's a pre-departure hot spot that we seem to have caught before infection. We spent the last hour trimming, washing, drying and treating with Betagen...gotta love these romantic fall days.

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  22. After a really wonderful first Sunday here last week, I've been warned that attendance will be low tomorrow b/c of a local fall festival. At least they warned me so I won't think it was something I did! And I've been away since Tuesday morning attending to the birth of my new grandson; I got home last night but my head is still fuzzy...

    I'm thinking of Judy Blume's book, The Pain and the Great One which was one of my younger daughter's favorites, and the theme of sibling rivalry, given the disciples' arguments about who is the greatest. Not sure where I'm going with it, but that's where I am now.

    I will offer cider donuts, only regretting that I didn't have time to get any real ones, or go apple picking at my favorite orchard while I was away.

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  24. My sermon is mostly done. I'll mess with it in the morning. I'm waiting with a family for a parishioner to die. She's at home on hospice. There's lots I want to say, but little I can.

    Doughnuts sound wonderful!

    I'm preaching on the mystery of God ("they didn't understand") with a lovely picture of the Andromeda Galaxy as an icon for prayer during the sermon. (The picture is from APOD by NASA and thankfully without copyright.) I'll also get my digs in at new earth creationists and touch ever so lightly on the ordination wars.

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  25. SB, thank you for sharing the history of the Party. And I'm so sorry that your hubs is leaving for 2 months - and on your anniversary! :(

    I'm not up tomorrow (husband is - so I'm on full-day child-duty). But I'm with y'all in spirit. I have a plate full of Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins to share and am about to put on another pot of coffee. Cheers!

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  26. orange juice in fridge expired.
    burned french toast to the pan.
    coffee however.... sipping nicely.

    sermon done. short. quick.
    doggie knows i'm leavin' for a wedding in faraway town and he's whining... *sigh*

    calgon take. me. away.

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  27. SB - -thanks for telling us the story -- like some others, it was the first time I had heard it.

    Tomorrow is my first Sunday preaching at the new church and I thought i was ok, until I went to sleep last night and had some CRAZY preaching anxiety dreams. The writing has been finished since Wednesday - -here I get PowerPoint back up in the contemporary service, so I need to be done early. The good part of this - -the sermon fairy visits me at off hours and today she is all yours, tell me where to send her!

    After I pay bills I am headed to the grocery store - -any requests?

    The sermon is here

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  28. hot cup - well, at least you are done. sorry about doggie, though, they are clever

    sb- thanks for the story!

    sherev - ah, save us from the curvy keyboard!

    all - I just cannot talk like a pirate.

    I am majorly distracted by a big fundraiser at church tonite, and wanting to write a sermon about mark and james and what is civil in culture and how do we decide who is the greatest?

    Turns out this is my last week on James, as next week, we are HOSTING a neutral pulpit. Looking forward to that! So, trying to wrap all that up, too.

    Hmm, can you just PREACH about being distracted? So far, all I got is this list:
    Lagarrette Blount
    Roger Federer, Serena Williams
    Kanye West
    Joe Wilson

    And this, as an example of what happens when you do think in terms of "who is the greatest" which leads to fear...

    And a meeting we had this week to make A Big Decision.

    Hmm, maybe I DO have something after all.

    Ok, gotta go. Back soon.

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  29. oh, and childrens time? anyone? anyone? bueller?

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  30. RevDrMom, can you use your new grandson as the little child in Mark? Right now, that tiny child is the greatest, yes? But look how utterly dependent on the one who holds him!
    And everyone likes to hear about babies. :-)

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  31. bueller... heh heh

    i took the kanye, serena, joe wilson crap and weaved it in there... about how being great isn't what we say... it's how we act and jesus gives us 2 verbs in mark... serving and welcoming.

    puppy is now wearing new fall bandana and he's deeelighted!

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  32. Okay, donuts eaten and morning prayer said--time to work.

    Sue, thanks for sharing that awesome hymn.

    Margaret, our sister RevGal Shawna has some great stuff on Proverbs 31 at her place this week....Along the lines of what Wil Gafney told us at the BE: properly interpreted, that woman is more Xena the Warrior Princess than Betty Crocker! Shawna also mentioned to me a while back that chapter 31 reads much better in connection to chapter 9--i.e. that the human woman in 31 is an image of divine Wisdom personified as a powerful woman calling all to her feast of love and truth.

    http://www.shawnaatteberry.com/2009/09/16/sermon-meanderings-the-proverbs-31-woman/

    and

    http://www.shawnaatteberry.com/2009/09/17/proverbs-31-a-capable-wife-huh/

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  33. I'm heading out to see Pure Luck's people, will be back later. And Kanye, Serena and even Roger Federer are in my sermon! Also the little girl who threw back the ball at the Phillies game.

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  34. Hi Sisters
    To God Gurrill I say RRRRRRR
    To RevDrMom... Don't you love it when folks take the 'day off' because of a festival? So God, when's your day off? Glad that's not an honest question. Our first church was on the square as was the manse. We had a fall festival and knew we were in Western KY when we looked up to see a horse in the yard. Don't worry they said this is a sunday not many folks come because of the festival...
    Then we had the folk who said...It was such a pretty day we went to the lake--knew you'd understand. We always wanted to leave a note with a sermon on the pulpit...it was such a beautiful day went to the lake knew you'd understand.
    Me and Gospel of Mark... yep that invisible One... who would jesus bring into the center and say look..
    blessings i need more coke...coke-a-cola!
    RRRRRRRR loving pirate day

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  35. I've got some zucchini nut bread to share and some hot cocoa - definitely fall weather in these parts.

    Full day tomorrow - teaching new members class, baptism during worship, bible presentation for kids, and deacons meeting after worship.

    Ready for all those things, now if only the sermon were done as well.

    SB - thanks for the history.

    KP - send the sermon fairy my way, you know the direction.

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  36. Songbird, thanks so much for sharing the story. Love it. I'm off this weekend to celebrate sons 16th birthday but wanted to check in on what's up. We've sailed the high seas to escape to Treasure Island.
    Tomorrow morning, at church time, I have a whole body massage scheduled.
    Have some beautiful Isle of Arran smoked cheese to share and some hand made chocs, and some Blonde beer from the local brewery to wash it all down.
    It's great to have a 16 year old who's happy just to chill with his family.
    Shiver me timbers that'll be time for dinner.
    Blessings on all you hearties.

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  37. Avaast there, me hearties...This piratical day is a very full one.
    Wedding, village fete (2 hours sitting in the stocks while people paid to throw wet sponges at me)and manic preparations for Church in the Valley's patronal festival combined with Back to Church Sunday tomorrow.
    I'm due to go to the evening celebration of the marriage later, so was more than a tad anxious about a sermon, till I found something in the archives that still seems pretty OK really.
    So I'm saved! And off to work on welcome displays, in case people DO actually manage to bring some friends along tomorrow...I do hope they will!

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  38. Dancing, she is on her way. I loaded her up with ideas and NCIS reruns as your reward for finishing!

    I am headed to the store after an enjoyable morning with my cookbooks. On the menu is Chili Chicken and vegetable soup. The "chili" is a little chili powder. I'm going to add okra to the corn and green beans and potato it calls for. I'll let you know when it is ready!

    Any other requests?

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  39. I'm preaching tomorrow. I asked my pastor if I could because I wanted to preach on the Proverbs 31 woman. I have a ton of ideas and many sermons running around in my head. I need to pick one idea for one sermon and get it down on paper. I've done some blogging on her and some of my ideas here and here.

    I also need to get to the grocery store and do housecleaning today.

    I had some banana going bad, so I had to make some banana muffins and banana cake. There's also coffee and a variety of teas this way, so help yourself.

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  40. Songbird thank you so much for the history. I had no idea how this started. I'm glad I now know.

    Sophia, thank you for the shoutout! I'll be praying for you as you get everything together for Harvard. That is just the coolest thing.

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  41. Hello, preaching women (and men). I'm missing the preacher party today. Just stopped by to bring some fruit soup I made last night...sounds weird but is so good. And to offer a prayer.

    Dear Spirit of God,

    Please be the Divine Paraclete today for those who are writing and pondering and preparing. Come alongside and help them, breath your thoughts and words into their minds and hearts. Prepare the spirits, minds and ears of those who will hear tomorrow. May words of grace fall like rain.

    And for those who, like me, are uncertain about how their calling is going to be manifested, what you would want us to do, how best to serve right now, this moment...help us too.

    Be with us, your servants, friends, and children as we share your word.

    Amen

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  42. Margaret and other Proverbs 31 preachers: I offer you the cherished image of my portly, sprightly Hebrew Scriptures Prof., Rabbi Rosenfeld, who began his lecture on Proverbs 31 this way: "First of all, let's get one thing straight. Women have ALWAYS worked outside the home, and EVERY mother is a 'working mother!'"

    (No takers yet on the lobscouse, then? Hmmm. How 'bout some hardtack and braxy bacon? More grog?)

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  43. Just checking in briefly. Thought I'd nap while the kids nap, at least until the Gators play. That gives me one more hour, but at the same time I'm thinking about ironing out the flow of my sermon as it sort of came to me this morning with my first visit to the party. Napping will do me more benefit, though, so I must shut my eyes.

    Will have smoked pork to share later. I came home from my meeting about the 2010 General Assembly to smell someone in our neighborhood smoking something wonderful (like cooking - - not smoking). Anyway, imagine my delight to discover it was happening in MY BACKYARD. It will be wonderful later on!

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  44. Hello everyone, just checking in briefly. I have a very difficult meeting tonight and have spent most of today preparing for it. Unfortunately that means there is no sermon in the works as of yet. But I have to run--this may be a REALLY late night. I'm definitely thinking about all the unmannerly behavior recently along with the culture of complaint vs. culture of lament stuff under Jeremiah at workingpreacher.org.

    But for now, I would appreciate any prayers you have time to send on my behalf. I'm really nervous about tonight. Thank you!

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  45. MaineCelt, thank you so much for the Rabbi Rosenfeld quote! I am so using that tomorrow!

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  46. Shawna, your site is next on my list of things to read.
    Semfem, you are on the prayer list. May your meeting be calm, may your presence be nonanxious and may the Spirit move everyone to kindness even in the midst of difficult decision making. I've been known to stop and pray at a moment's notice during that kind of meeting.
    MaineCelt, love the quote and it will most likely appear in my sermon, too.
    I'll check back later. I took some time off to go order carpet for the living and dining rooms, picked up some neat stuff for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes even though mine are all stuffed, and then bought a guide book of France in preparation for next year's trip to Aquitaine and Brittany/Normandy. Yes, it's been a very good day, made more so by the help of some fine sisters!

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  47. oh semfem, a Saturday night MEETING? Really? You will be in my prayers, and hoping for a better outcome!

    took mom to the airport, stopped for an amazing lunch on the way (so nice to have visitors and get to explore new restaurants!)

    so sleepy now, though. Can i have a nap before
    1. more sermonizing (half done)
    2. art auction tonight
    ?

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  48. How's it going, my dears?
    I'm back from the wedding reception (where bride & girl friends were presenting an amazingly polished dance routine...and there were bacon rolls and wedding cake to be had...so I bought some back for you)and contemplating final fiddly bits for tomorrow. The sermon seems to be done and dusted here

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  49. Thanks to you all, the basis of my sermon is now here. Since I don't use notes or text, it might not come out just like this but it will be close. I'm still trying to work in the quote about women always having worked.

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  50. Thanks Shawna! I was just wondering if I can actually pull this off in the short time remaining till the Oct. 15 deadline....I know I could do a great proposal with enough time but the clock is ticking so fast!

    I got a good draft of the course syllabus started, though it will need a good bit more work. Then we took a break for a date (Julie and Julia--awesome movie) while the kids saw Harry Potter. Now I am back at the computer, contemplating the book proposal, and wishing I could cozy up with Mechthild for a week or two, or maybe four, to have more confidence in laying out the approach I will take with her texts.

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  51. Oh, and I really want to make up another song sheet for misa as I am getting heartily sick of the songs we have been doing every week. Helped the Anglos master them, which was the goal, but time to add in at least a little variety. Think I'll check the TEC Himnario which has translations of classic English hymns as well as original Spanish compositions.

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  52. Hey, everyone! I'm back from visiting with my husband's people. His step-granddad recently moved to assisted living and Pure Luck said it was funny to see me turn into a pastor as soon as we went through the doors.
    I'm still not sure what to do for a children's time. We had 33 kids in PS-8th grade last week, and I am having trouble picturing what it will be like to talk to them and keep their attention. And maybe that's what I ought to do with them, ask how they get someone's attention. Then I can tell them that children in olden times didn't get much attention, and tell the story from the gospel. Does this sound like something?

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  53. Ahoy, preacher party mates! (that and arhggg are about the extent of my ability to talk like a pirate) I just got home from small-town "celebration of its heritage" that has turned into an excuse to consume funnel cakes and sell "the south shall rise again" T-shirts. Anyway, the little church I serve is right downtown, so we gave away lemonade and cookies as a "free gift from the church". Before I came to the church, it had been their habit to cancel church for the festival week-end...I have continued worship, just changed it from 11am to 10am, and have convinced them that outreach to the community on these days is a good thing...
    Anyway, just now really starting on the sermon, although I am going with James and Mark, and the "who's the greatest in God's kingdom" so it should come together fairly quickly. SB---I join the others in thanking you for sharing the history of the preacher party...I have often wondered where the "Antonio Banderas" reference originated. Prayers for all of you as we come down the "homestretch" of Saturday night, and prayers especially for semfem and KP!

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  54. Singing Owl, thanks for the prayer, I'm back to the lap top to edit what I wrote way too late last night and am hoping there's some sense in it.
    Songbird, i think you've got your children's story, add in the comparison of how your congregation actually invites kids up front for a time of their own.
    I've got veggies and hummus and a mix of wild grain rice cooking on the stove. Some grilled fish later on if you want to wait for it.
    Loved the story of the 11th hour beginning. What would we do w/o the party? ARGHHHHH.

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  55. OK - with my football game now over, and no more progress made, I'm heading up to begin the homestretch toward kids' bedtime. Well, I guess dinner first. Hmmm...Husband's game still has 3 minutes left, but at least it looks like we might both get wins tonight!

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to the late night party tonight. Semfem - praying for you and will be here to debrief when you return

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  56. songbird -- like your childrens time so much better than my own, can I borrow it? (Because, do we really NEED another childrens time on The Whininess of the Disciples? no!)

    Ok, no further on the sermon, but pretty much ready for the art auction.

    I have 15 minutes free time - let's see what I can get done now!

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  57. Thanks, Songbird! I have been struggling with a headache today, and trying to write an off-lectionary sermon that just wasn't coming to me. Suddenly, it dawned on me: the Preacher Party's on!
    So here I am, halfway through a sermon that's finally begun to trickle through my brain and onto the screen. And sharing diet Mountain Dew (for the caffeine, of course!). I'm headed to grab some supper in a few...what can I bring back?

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  58. Taquitos, light sour cream and salsa verde to share here along with mandarin oranges and spinach or Romaine salad.

    I was just about ready to give up on getting this book proposal done in the next month when I read a really mediocre article repeating the common misconceptions about Mechthild and thought--heck, I can do better than that--so I am back at it with more hope. Have to send the author a thank you note if I get accepted!

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  59. tho' I'm still off-placement at the moment, here's a thought for all-age/ children's talk...
    If you happent to have collected Barth's Church Dogmatics and other of his books, you could drag 'em into church. Talk about this very important man who wrote all these books - very clever bloke, etc.
    And then launch into that true or apocryphal tale about this great and important man who was giving a great and important talk to a group of theology students. One of the students asked him: Prof. Barth, if you could distil all these great books into one simple message, what would it be?'
    To which Barth allegedly replied by singing the simple little song:
    'Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so...'
    Greatness in simplicity perhaps? And then you could get the congregation and the kids to sing the song....
    p.s. if you don't have the Barth books, you could switch to some other 'big' name person with lots of books.... :)

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  60. Always good to know that I'm not the only one finishing a sermon right now(ish). I've got 90% of it done--all of the actual writing, and just need to learn it and do some delivery prep, but that's the easier part.
    I'm talking about what it means to welcome people--and how that can mean radical change sometimes.

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  61. Juniper, feel free!
    We're just back from eating in the cafe at Whole Foods, a first for us. It was fun! My 9th grader has to do an Egg Drop at school on Monday, so we also picked up a few things at Staples for her project.
    I brought home chocolate cheesecake; anyone want a piece?

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  62. Checking in via iPod thanks to cranky laptop.
    Good story SB. That kzj certainly sounds wise beyond her years. ;)

    sermon 1/3rd complete. Getting son tubbied then to bed and then hoping outline is conducive to a smooth writing session.

    Focusing on Mark with a touch of Psalm 1. I'll be flavoring it with some of Seuss' Horton Hears a Who, which may help with someone's children's sermon. A person is a person no matter how small.

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  63. Chocolate cheesecake, yum!

    Did a little freewriting on the proposal as well as continuing to research other folks' (better) work on Mechthild. Failed to get into the online dissertation service at the library but can talk to a reference librarian tomorrow. Also got up my gumption and emailed a friend and sister Helfta scholar who is potentially a great resource on her stuff.

    Will probably try to write an actual draft paragraph or two yet tonight but it sounds like Katie's finishing up brushing--so it's about time for a Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows break. Hang in there, all.

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  64. Soup is on for those who need supper. I also stocked up on Diet Coke and wine for those in need. Homemade Breakfast bars are in the freezer, take what you need for the morning rush -- think soft granola bars, or for those of you in the UK or familiar with it, flapjack.

    I think I cooked up a storm to calm the butterflies. I washed a ton of dishes too, and then I sat down and they came back. But I'm ready!

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  65. I am in big trouble. Apparently I did not save the last version of my sermon. I think most of it is the latest version, but the end, which I struggled over for an hour, is gone. Gone!
    My daughter said, casually, "Can't you just go with what you have?"
    NO!!!!!

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  66. Yet again, the preacher party cures writer's block. Wish it worked for my dissertation, too!
    Thanks all. It will be posted shortly at my blog: storiesandfaith.blogspot.com for anyone interested.
    Thanks, ya'll!

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  67. Songbird - sending Antonio your way...

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  68. okay, so....

    my dad left this afternoon. He has been here since Monday. I have not looked at a single thing from church (except my email) all week long--no bulletin, no Bible, no worship planning notes, nothing.

    We are having worship outside tomorrow.

    We are using the gospel text and having some sort of focus on children (the children's choir is also singing at one of the services).

    I have to hand out bibles to third graders during the children's time.

    I have absolutely no idea how I thought I was planning to connect Creation, Children, and Bibles together in less than 5 minutes.

    anyone have my memory out there, and if so, would you please pass it down? i could use it right about now...

    (I have sparkling french berry lemonade to offer! You know you want some...)

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  69. I'll take some chocolate cheesecake and I'll sample some of the sparkling berry lemonade.

    I've finished the sermon, at least a draft that'll get a quick edit in the morning.

    Sending Antonio/the sermon fairy on the way to those still writing.

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  70. I am afraid I blew up at my daughter when she rolled her eyes about my lost sermon. I clearly care more about being successful, er, greatest, than I do about the little one in this house. Can I quit? Will someone else show up and preach in my place? I really hate it when I am the sinner I am preaching to...

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  71. Oh, Songbird, how rotten. Hope you can magically retrieve it from the mental hard drive.

    I have a paragraph of the proposal done and I'm clocking out. Easy writing and sweet dreams to all.

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  72. Felix culpa, Songbird--what a fantastic illustration that could be. Assuming 1) you feel comfortable with it and 2) she does.

    Hang in.

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  73. Songbird--Teen-age girls can make sinners out of the best of us...don't be too hard on yourself. Unfortunately, I have to tell you that even 30 year old daughters can push our buttons...mine is home for now recovering from shoulder surgery(after 10 years of living away from home for college,medical school etc.) Ahrrrrggg indeed!

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  74. How's this for truly lazy? My handwritten sermon notes from throughout the week are at the other end of the couch so I still haven't started. Someone please think about planning an intervention.

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  75. Thanks, grace eagle. In some settings, Sophia, that story might make it into the sermon, but not for tomorrow. Maybe when the text rolls around again...
    Anyway, I wrote a new ending. It is definitely not the same and is influenced by, but not explicit about, my own desire for getting this right.

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  76. Well, I wasa all set to take a relaxing tub and then right out the first couple paragraphs of my sermon for tomorrow (I rarely write anything but there are specific ways I want to open to ensure I go where I intend).

    THen eldest decided to empty her stomach. Not once but twice. ALl is now cleaned up except for one comforter that is waiting to hit the laundry.... THe best part was when she neglected to tell us she had been sick upstairs until mom went up to make a bed on the floor (to spare her having to get off the top bunk should it happen again -- she has very limited time between feeling sick and being same--and a real problem deciding to rush to get to the bathroom)

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  77. oh gord! so sorry. hope she feels better soon.

    i still have your basic NO IDEA AT ALL what i'm doing tomorrow. so, naturally, I'm going to pop in a movie to look for a clip for confirmation class, and worry about the children's time and the prayers of the people (and goodness only knows what else will have been assigned to me while I was away for the week!) later.

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  78. I'm preaching tomorrow (and next week too) as part of a sermon series which I wasn't given a chance to offer any input. So is it any wonder I am struggling with motivation and inspiration?!

    And I'm frustrated with myself because I have a great text (Philippians 3:7-11) to preach from but I just keep hitting some sort of mental roadblock.

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  79. Semfem, you are and have been in my prayers since I read your comment earlier today.

    Songbird -- so sorry to hear about what happened with your sermon and also with your daughter; our kids can always get the best of us, even when we're feeling holy otherwise, no?

    Nik -- I love that bit for the children's sermon and might definitely have to use it!

    Just getting home from a gathering with a family that I went through a crisis with last spring (as pastoral caregiver, not IN crisis). Was a lovely time and reminds me how much God works at connecting us in mysterious ways. Also, I brought back some of the BEST mac & cheese I believe I've ever eaten, along with some red wine and chocolate chip cookies. Help yourselves!

    Now to polish up my sermon (I hope quickly) and hit the sack. Prayers to all of you as you continue working and preparing for tomorrow morning!

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  80. I just had a brain storm for a children's sermon that will work well in our place, perhaps yours too. I will take a welcome mat and talk about where we find those and what it means to welcome someone. I found a second mat that says "got dirt" which will good to talk about leaving behind disappointments, fears, mistakes, etc. as we come up for communion.

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  81. Well, my sermon was in better shape than I thought...so, here it is!

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  82. Sorry to have a meltdown when I am hosting! How's it going out there? Do we need tea? Diet Coke? Back to Nature organic "Oreos?" Let me be your servant. Seriously.

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  83. Whew, I'm back. Thanks for all the prayers, everyone! They must have worked, because I'm still alive and not weeping uncontrollably. Things got emotional but fortunately my ally clergywoman there facilitated us right along and we made it okay. This congregation may still decide to do something drastic, but hopefully they will at least decide to talk about it now instead of just doing it.

    Enough of that. On to sermon-writing! I'm sitting outside at a bonfire with my laptop getting ready to start. Does that sound strange or what? Maybe I can sneak in a s'more or two for anyone out there who wants one...

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  84. I'm pooped but sermon is done, or as good as it gets tonight. Can you write up prayer thoughts when you're pooped? Will pirate language slip into the prayers?
    SB, we've all been there and that probably doesn't help you. Remember grace is for you/us too.

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  85. organic oreos? That just sounds like an oxymoron.

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  86. My sermon opener (such as it is) can be found here

    THis is actually the easy one to preach, even if it does lead me into testimony (something so rare in the UCCan). Next month I have to start addressing the fact that this church needs to start addressing hard realities.. They simply are not supporting full-time ministry and the financial cushion we have been eating away at over the years has disappeared. Also, we could concievably have no Board members by teh end of the year.

    Testimony about Jesus is so much easier.

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  87. Meanwhile, I am getting more intentional about finding the next place to go. THe only ethical thing to do would be move on before my salary puts the cngregation into debt right?

    OR does it then just look like deserting a sinking ship?

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  88. That's what I did, Gord. I couldn't see staying at Small Church as an ethical choice anymore. The rising expense of a fulltime pastor could not be carried by a congregation of that size. But don't assume the ship will sink. Small Church is doing well with a part-time pastor who is happy to be there while working on a Ph.D. Do what you believe to be right, and it will be okay in God's time. I believe it.

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  89. Good night my friends. See you in the morning.

    Prayers to all who are still sermonating.

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  90. That's a tough one, Gord. (I almost ALWAYS type your name "God" before I go back and have to put the "r" in. What is up with that?) There is always the chance that some will think that of you, but you know the discernment you are in, and you will have to discern (hopefully with the help of others? Is that part of your tradition?) if you are the one called to help them address those tough questions. If you are, then yeah, I think you do stick around even if your salary is part of the problem. If they aren't paying you they're going to have to pay someone. Maybe not a fulltime someone, but a non-fulltime paid person also won't be serving them fulltime, so that might not help them with the discernment they so badly need. Hmmmm...definitely not an easy situation and my prayers are going up.

    Semfem - - so glad you made it back in one piece. I'm looking forward to settling in for the long haul with you.

    I finally got my notes off the other end of the couch (I mean, really!), but not until I had played a game on Webkinz and read another board or two. Someone, somewhere, send me some discipline!

    So, now on to Mark. First to see if my brainstorm from earlier today will be workable. I really hoped that I would get to use my fear stuff. If it doesn't seem workable, then I've got a good outline of something else. With either of them I need a pretty good way in. My starts have been less than gripping lately. Illustrations don't come to me easily.

    I hope to start with questions we are scared to ask, so maybe something will come to me.

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  91. Y'all, I'm going to hit the sack. I'll put on a fresh pot of coffee for the Sunday morning polishers! Good night and sleep well, when you do sleep.

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  92. she rev,
    a classmate of mine once pointed out that his spell check didn't like my naem -- always suggested either "God" or "Gourd". He wondered which one I would prefer. HE then suggeste4d that since a Gourd is a vessel to hold things and we are all vessels that hold the Divine the maybe both were appropriate.

    semfem,
    those meetings are always terrible. HOpe it all works out for the best (for all involved)

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  93. Sermon is starting to flow. I have a better peace about it now. My mind seems to have de-cluttered. Praise God! The chocolate cake and milk may have helped with the inspiration too! ;)

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  94. No chocolate cake here, Tara, but I've got something going on, too. Yipee! I think my fear/silence things is going to work!!!

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  95. Hey there! Anybody have ANYTHING on Wisdom Woman, any story that is less scary than, "hey this is the female face of God." That just seems a little too intense all at once. Help? Anyone?

    --freaking out about Wisdom in Tennessee

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  96. Making progress there, yet, Anonymous?

    Wow! We're getting close to 100, which we haven't done in a while. Fall is here and vacations are ending!

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  97. It's getting cold out here by the campfire...I wonder how long I can keep writing out here...brrr!

    At least I have 585 words, even if I don't have a point yet beyond "people shouldn't be rude."

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  98. Sounds good, semfem. I've been thinking. You must either have a REALLY GOOD battery or a REALLY LONG extension cord.

    If it were me out there tonight, I'd definitely need at least one more log. I've got a great running start and now just need some stamina to make it through. Am contemplating going to bed even before midnight and finishing in the morning.

    Or maybe just a shower right now to get some energy back. Then a few hundred more words (my outline is at 316, but only covers about the first third) would finish my rough plan. Then bed and the morning finish. Hmmm...that sounds doable. Let's see if I do it!

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  99. semfem - working in the cold seems like a good approach. It would definitely keep me awake and motivated to finish!

    she rev - Blessings on your final push to finish. I think I am done for tonight. My closing thoughts could be stronger but it's after midnight here and I think I'm done for the night. I'm trusting the Spirit to smooth my rough spots in the morning.

    Creativity, inspiration and rest to you all! Good night fellow servants

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  100. Hey Gals - anyone still up? I'm just back from a fundraiser...and still have the same 787 words I have when I left. I think I"m going to bed and polishing up in the morning.

    And no worries Songbird - it's your party you can cry if you want to...

    Hey! Am I 100?????

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  101. yep, semfem, you beat me to it :)


    Sounds like you ended a hard night in a great way!

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  102. Whew, I think I'm finished (1167 words)! Tara, you're right; I couldn't get closer to the fire for fear the computer would melt. Or the extension cord wouldn't reach.

    I'm off to drive home, do a final edit (in the warmth of my own house), and print this puppy out. Congrats everyone who has finished, and for those still working, I'll send Antonio your way. In case I don't return tonight...blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

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  103. I'm pretty close to being done. I have missed my target sleepy time by 11 minutes, so I think I'm going to head that way. I'll be back in 4-ish hours to put my ending on this one (and a little beginning...and a little middle...OK, the structure is all there, the actual sentences just need to be written, very doable).

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  104. And here I am with the coffee!
    Naturally I woke up in the night convinced I have a dog, but I plan to walk it proud. Thanks, kzj, for that.

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  105. Hey all, I followed your comments late into the night, but didn't post. I apologize. I got home late from a long day at the church and then time with the kids. You all know how that goes. It was so refreshing to find you all were here and to read the support and care for one another. you spurred me on to put my rough draft in to final form. Thanks so much. I'll try to do better about posting comments and bringing food to the party. Thanks you all. Blessings as you preach this morning.

    And songgirl, thanks for posting about some of the first comments written at the 11th hour party.

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  106. Guest preacher today. I had a Saturday for cleaning and working on a "chair project."
    Rainy day yesterday and today, but having been in a drought, it is welcomed.
    Blessings to all who preach this day/
    Thank God for the ever so occasional guest preacher

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  107. good morning - I'm back too. have a blessed day, all.

    abi, grace abounds. ok, to "just" receive sometimes....

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  108. ok, i'm at 839 words. Aiming for 1200 at most today - short one bec of long congregational meeting....

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