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Ongoing Response to COVID-19

Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-26

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Friday 26 June 2020
 
Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends, 
 
Some of your friends are going back to face to face worship at other area churches. Your Covid-19 Response Team thinks that is unwise for us at this time. Please read their statement below about how the team is thinking about the virus.  
 
* * *
 
Rachel reminds me that my birthday is next Friday. It’s poor form for a pastor to ask his flock for a present, but I’m asking. Consider making a donation to DREAAM House in my honor (or in anybody’s honor). I’d be SUPER glad if you did that. I love DREAAM, what they stand for, how they work, and the love the DREAAM Team has for its “dreamers.” Write a check to DREAAM and sent it to the church address. Help a young person dream!
 
* * *
 
See you on Sunday. We have a guest preacher on Sunday. (You’ll thank me.)
 
I love worshiping with you on Sunday. Invite a friend.
 
* * *
 
Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.
            Be amazed.
                        Tell somebody.
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church
 
To those wanting to return to First Presbyterian Church of Champaign for a face-to-face event, meeting or worship service – from the FPCC COVID-19 Response Team
 
Since Sunday, March 15, prior to the Shelter In Place Order from Governor JB Pritzker on March 20, the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Champaign changed our in-person worship services to online streaming, our staff have been working remotely from home except for critical activities that required them to be present on campus.  A FPCC COVID-19 Specific Safety Plan and Guidelines for Staff was approved and implemented, including strict personal hygiene practices, wearing a mask, social distancing, self-monitoring of health and a negative test result of the COVID-19 test.  We want our staff to be healthy in order to serve God and His congregation and as a testimony of our commitment to the community.
 
As we move into our transition into Restore Illinois Phase 4 – Revitalization expected to be announced today, June 26, 2020, many of you are asking when we can resume face to face worship at FPCC, return to our routine meetings and gatherings? Here is some of our thinking. (The Session has approved that we won’t begin face to face worship until September at the earliest.)
 
The Coronavirus COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel virus first emerged in 2019.  From what we know, it is a respiratory virus, but also affects heart, kidney, brain and many other vital organs in human.  Globally over 8 million people were affected by COVID-19; in the United States, there were over 2 million confirmed cases with ~120,000 deaths (June 21).  What was alarming is over 80% of the deaths were people 65 years and older.  So far there is no cure for this virus; when you catch the virus, you either recover from it, get really sick or die. 
 
In managing this type of Pandemic, the following 3 principles are applied: Prevention, Isolation and Treatment. 
 
Prevention:  First, if you are sick, have a fever or have recently been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay at home.  Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, transmission is most likely through droplets (i.e. breathing, speaking, singing etc.) Wearing a mask is the most effective and simple solution as a simple fabric mask will stop droplets from coming from you to other people or surfaces near you.  We strongly encourage you to wear mask and practice social distancing when you are inside the church premise (including the Parking Lot). You are requested to wear a mask to protect yourself and others. If you need a mask, a clean disposable mask will be provided (please ask an usher for it).  In addition, hand sanitizing solution are available throughout the church.  Hand washing with soap and water and avoid touching your face will prevent you from catching virus from surfaces you touch.  Social distancing (6 ft. apart) is another good way to avoid droplets from other people around you.  As for common areas in church and surfaces, our custodians are spraying the entire church (Sanctuary, office, classrooms, bathrooms, door-knobs, tables, pews, hand-rails) using a FDA approved electrostatic sprayer and disinfectants between use.  We have also removed bibles, hymnals, writing pads, pens and paper etc. from pews as they cannot be disinfected properly.  In order to practice proper social distancing, our elevator and bathrooms are for single occupancy (unless you are from the same household). Collection of offering, Holy Communion with passing of the plates, corporate singing, spoken liturgy etc. will be redesigned to avoid contamination. We are working hard in ensuring your safety when we resume face-to-face meetings and services.
 
Another consideration is your risk in contracting COVID-19.  Please refer to the CDC Guidelines on this.  People considered to be at risk for COVID-19 are: 65 years or older, having any of the following diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory illness (asthma, COPD), cancer, currently under immune-therapy treatment, immune-compromised, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease, diabetes, hemoglobin disorders, severe obesity and people in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.  If you have any of these conditions or fit into these categories, please prayerfully consider the risk(s) you may be taking.  Consult your medical professionals if you have question of this or speak with the FPCC COVID-19 response team members.
 
Isolation:  This is the “true and tested” approach to manage a Pandemic.  If you are sick, you should contact your medical professional and stay home.  Do not go out unless you are going to visit your doctor.
 
Treatment: You have probably heard about the over 100 vaccines that are being developed for COVID-19 in many different countries.  The soonest date of availability for a vaccine ready for the general public will be in 2021.  This is assuming if the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing people from contracting COVID-19. Until then, the best approach is Prevention.
 
FPCC COVID-19 Response Team:
 
Dr. Ken Chapman Ph.D.
Rev. Eric Corbin
Dr. Ruth Craddock MD
Dr. Ron Deering MD
Ms. Judi Geistlinger
Rev. Matt Matthews
Mr. Mark Schoeffmann
Dr. Peter Yau Ph.D.
Mr. Timothy Young
 
* * *
 
From your Nurture Team — Congrats to Nancy Brombaugh for being the first to correctly recognize last week’s photo of Bob Kirby!  

Here’s a new photo challenge.

Visit http://fb.com/groups/firstpreschampaign to make your guesses, or email them to photos@firstpres.church.  
 
Please join in the fun!  We would like you to select a photo from your younger years (grade school, high school or early adulthood). Photos need not be professional. Candid shots are welcome. Please send your photos to photos@firstpres.church.

* * *
 
Friday Night at the Movies: The film Just Mercy has been made available to watch for free during the month of June. This film follows the story of Civil Rights Attorney Bryan Stevenson. You can watch the movie by following this link https://www.justmercyfilm.com/
 
French Prayer Service Saturday Evenings 6 pm

Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.

* * *
 
Somebody asked me recently, “When’s the last time you listened to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life?” Answer? Twice in the last three weeks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGZYWSfiYbM&list=PLjb5kMzP2zolSAPpMXR7_0MfYjEcDWQJO
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sIjSNTS7Fs&list=PLjb5kMzP2zolSAPpMXR7_0MfYjEcDWQJO&index=5
 
Are trains safe in Covid? The “A Train” is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb2w2m1JmCY
 
 
 
 



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-24

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Wednesday June 24 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
I’m kicking off a new segment of my daily emailer: Take on Race.
 
When I have  (or you submit) material that fits that category, I’ll park it there. The first material for that spot was written by our very own Ian Evensen. He’s a 15-year-old junior at Uni High School this fall. He loves basketball, spending time with family and friends, and listening to music. He also enjoys drawing, cooking, and writing. He likes to learn about the human brain and body. During this quarantine, “I’ve been playing basketball, studying for the SAT and ACT, watching TV shows, and journaling.” 
 
Give Ian’s essay a close read. It follows.
 
* * *
 
Take on Race:
 
How I Learned About Race and Racism
By Ian Evensen
 
            I always knew that not everyone looked like me. From a young age, I recognized that people had different skin colors, facial features, body types- the list goes on. Before elementary school, however, I never paid attention to any of that. We were all humans, despite the innumerable physical characteristics that gave us our distinctive appearances. From what I remember, all of us preschoolers were treated the same way, even though we all looked different. It wasn’t until elementary school that I learned about race. 
 
            In elementary school, I began to hear both classmates and teachers refer to others as “Black”, “White”, “Brown”, “Asian”, “Hispanic”, and several other names. It didn’t take me long to realize that because my dad was American and my mom was Korean, I was “half Asian and half White”. The categorization of people by race had produced a label for my identity. I heard and experienced racial stereotypes, and was exposed to all kinds of talk that regarded people of different races as different types of human beings. Because of how prevalent racial categorization had become in my life, without even trying, my mind started to divide people based on this single physical characteristic. My classmates were no longer just a bunch of kids; each of them now belonged to one racial group or another. 
 
            Also, during my elementary school years, I learned a lot about African-American history. We were taught about slavery and segregation, but we were also taught that those things had ended, giving the implication that everyone had equal rights now. I was under the impression that thanks to the abolishment of slavery and the civil rights movement, the cruelty that African-Americans had experienced was a thing of the past. Racial discrimination seemed like something that had only existed a long time ago; a problem that was no longer present in America. It wasn’t until later in my life that I realized that this was not the case. 
 
            Seeing the video of George Floyd being murdered fully opened my eyes to the fact that racism is still real, and that it is a serious problem. Since elementary school, I’d become more cognizant of the systemic racism that affects Black Americans every single day. I’d heard about how high the unemployment rate is for them, and about the wage gap between Black and White workers. I’d read about how it’s harder for Black Americans to access education or healthcare, and how much more susceptible they are to criminal injustice. I’d seen countless headlines about Black men being mistreated by White police officers. But witnessing George Floyd’s life being ruthlessly taken from him because of the color of his skin made me realize that I am a part of a racial group that has never experienced the injustice that afflicts the lives of Black Americans. I will never know what it’s like to live as a Black American; to be oppressed because of the singular physical characteristic that divides us all: race. People are categorized by the pigmentation of their skin- a trait which no one has control over- and it determines the way they are treated. We all need to treat everyone as equal individuals in order to make a change.
 
* * *
 
“I’m not racist.” Have you heard people say that? Check out this TedTalk:
https://www.ted.com/talks/ibram_x_kendi_the_difference_between_being_not_racist_and_antiracist
 
NEWS:

Tuesday’s The Heart of Mission had an incorrect date for the PW Bible study. It is not July 25; it is this Thursday June 25 at 9:30 am.  

Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.

Our Wednesday Night Potluck on ZOOM features a Bible Study by Dave Bauer. He’ll get us thinking, laughing, and, probably, living more deeply.
 

Email zoom@firstpres.church for the link.
 
* * *
 
HELP! Your Session is in need of two elders to replace sitting elders who had to resign. We need two saints willing to step in to lead our (1) Nurture Committee and (2) Mission Committee. 
 
Please volunteer. Please pray. Please nominate somebody.
 
The nominating committee is:
 
Eric Stickels, chair
 
Greg Cozad (12/31/20)
Judy Hendrickson (12/31/20)
 
Leland Andrews (12/31/21)
Linda Peterson (12/31/21)
 
Bill Stout (12/31/22)
John Seiler (12/31/22)
 
 
* * *
 
This reminder from Pat Phillips: “At the end of the day, I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.”
 
* * *
 
From Nancy MacGregor: I’m passing along a favorite quote of Dave Fillpot’s from the Indian poet Rabinthranath Tagore: “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” Good explanation of Hebrews 11:1.
 
Good Word: 
 
·       “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
 
Let us pray 
 
Holy God, 
guide my steps,
tune my vision,
open my heart,
in  the  name
of Christ.
AMEN
 
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church
 


Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-23

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News:

Education is the Pathway to Peace Wednesdays 1:30 pm
Email info@firstpres.church for the link.
 

 
 
   
                                                       

                                                                   The Heart of Mission
                                                                          June 23, 2020
 
There is no way to know all that God is doing through the generous giving during this time of shelter in place. One place God is touching is at CU at Home which has been stepped out in faith and opened up the emergency shelter for the whole year. You might not realize what a help it has been to our friends without an address but it is huge so I am mentioning it again this week. Also, take a look at some of the photos of the night shelter at the Douglas Center, of the day center, of a volunteer working at the Phoenix drop-in center, and of one of the guests showing his stay safe mask. Thank goodness for all the volunteers and staff who help our friends stay clean, safe and step out each day on solid ground! Thank you CU at Home for these pictures!
 
Peace,
Rachel Matthews,
Temporary Mission Coordinator

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

PUT JULY 8, 7PM ON YOUR CALENDAR  – Our Wednesday Night zoom gathering will have a mission focus.

Canteen Run They will begin taking the truck out on Sundays. They begin at the Salvation Army on Market Street then stop at the Douglas Center, Austin’s Place, Westside Park, 6th and Green and the Urbana Library. They hand out sandwiches. Current needs are for coordinators, drivers, and makers of sandwiches.  They practice social distancing as they hand out sandwiches.Their guests at the men’s shelter will be providing lists for needed items which will be bagged up at the storage unit, labeled, and then taken to the shelter the next day to be distributed. They can use help with making up these bags. They need someone to make sandwiches for June 24. Please sign up to drive or coordinate at http://tinyurl.com/canteenrun1 or email  cucanteenrun@gmail.com. Email if you can help bag up items for those at the men’s shelter. We can be reached at: cucanteenrun@gmail.com, or a Facebook page, (please like us), or Twitter at Barb Davies@ cucanteenrun.
 
Mission Possible Here are a few words from Bill Gamble who has been keeping many of us abreast of what is happening with the kitchen and all renovations in the church while we are all away:
            “Time drags on, but various things being done in anticipation of an
eventual, if even limited, re-opening of First Presby.  A small part of
Mission Possible is building a sneeze-shield for the receptionist’s
desk.  (Have keep making saw-dust.)  A shield for soloists being
considered…..There is progress on the kitchen reconstruction.  Most of the studs up
for new wall sections, no dry wall yet.  Framing for much of the
suspended ceiling done.”

 
(I can hardly wait.)
 
Salt and Light is finding “normal” again. If you are an active volunteer or credit-earning participant, you are welcome to go to Salt and Light and fill out a volunteer schedule request!  Those needing light duty will be restricted to two-hour shifts.  Everyone else will be able to schedule themselves up to four-hour shifts.  People will be assigned based on current capacity restrictions and experience. They are excited to see people in the computer labs again! To promote physical distancing, they are limiting the space to one person per table. Interested in serving in our computer lab, as a volunteer? Contact Lisa Sheltra at lisa@saltandlightmnistry.org. Everyone can shop at Salt and Light.
 
Frontera de Cristo’s “Coffee, Conversation and Compassion” ends this week as does the special sale at Café Justo. Email “conversation” to office@fronteradecristo.org to get the Zoom info for the June 25:  CAME Anniversary (Centro de Atención al Migrante “Exodus” / “Exodus” Migrant Assistance Center)
 
Presbyterian Women  You are invited to see the video with Eugenia Gamble leading a bible study on the last commandment in our PW Bible study “Love Carved in Stone” which the women have been studying this past year. Thursday, July 25, 9:30am. 

Email info@firstpres.church for the link.
 
International Friends: University of Illinois International Hospitality Committee has said there will be several thousand International students here in Champaign in August rather than the 13,000 here last August. Nevertheless, IHC is gearing up for small groups and welcoming students at the August registration table. Let us keep international students in our prayers as they prepare to come in the Fall. If you are interested in being an International Friend, you can contact Bill Erickson from International Friendships, Inc. UIUC (217) 621-3846
 
Let us keep all our mission partners in our prayers, those who are waiting to go back to their place of ministry and those who are able to work where they are. Listen for God’s call to you in their ministry.
 
Our PC(USA) Mission CoWorkers:
Mark Adams and Miriam Maidonado Escobar (Mexico)
Farsijanna Adeney-Risakotta (Indonesia)
Jeff and Christi Boyd (Central Africa)
Jo Ella Holman (Carribean and Cuba)
Bob and Kristi Rice (South Sudan)
 
Our regional and global mission partners:
Kemmerer Village (and Camp Carew)
Lifeline Pilots
Marion Medical Mission
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Opportunity International
Friends of Presbyterian Education Board in Pakistan Presbyterian Cuba Partnership
Special Offerings of the PC(USA)
Theological Education Fund
Young Adult Volunteers
 
Here in Champaign – Urbana:
CU Better Together
CU at Home
CANAAN S.A.F.E. HOUSE
CANTEEN RUN
COURAGE CONNECTION
DREAAM
eMPTY TOMB, INC
FAITH IN ACTION
JESUS IS THE WAY PRISON MINISTRY
THE REFUGEE CENTER
RESTORATION URBAN MINISTRY
SALT & LIGHT
 
Here at First Presbyterian Church
FPCC Amateur Preachers
FPCC Environmental Committee working with Faith in Place
FPCC Presbyterian Women
FPCC ESL
FPCC Children, Youth and Families
FPCC Mission Possible/Go and Serve
 
 
 


             302 W. Church Street
             Champaign, IL 61820
             217-356-7238
             info@firstpres.church
 
   
Attachments:
 
 
 


Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-22

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Monday June 22nd 2020
A daily e-mailer from
Matt Matthews
 
To Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends,
 
We need a poem about fathers, I think, on this day after Father’s Day. I love the scene Hayden paints here. I keep coming back to this poem. For all the father figures (male and female, blood and friend) who made sacrifices for me, I am grateful. I suspect we’ve all kept “love’s austere and lonely offices” before. We all owe certain unsung heroes a word of thanks. 
 
* * *
 
Those Winter Sundays
Robert Hayden—1913-1980

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
 
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
 
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
 
* * *
 
NEWS:

Men’s Bible Study Tuesday 8 AM
Join Zoom Meeting

Email info@firstpres.church for the link.
 
Our Wednesday Night Potluck on ZOOM features a Bible Study by Dave Bauer. He’ll get us thinking, laughing, and, probably, living more deeply.
 
* * *
 
HELP! Your Session is in need of two elders to replace sitting elders who had to resign. We need two saints willing to step in to lead our (1) Nurture Committee and (2) Mission Committee. 
 
Please volunteer. Please pray. Please nominate somebody.
 
The nominating committee is:
 
Eric Stickels, chair
 
Greg Cozad (12/31/20)
Judy Hendrickson (12/31/20)
 
Leland Andrews (12/31/21)
Linda Peterson (12/31/21)
 
Bill Stout (12/31/22)
John Seiler (12/31/22)
 
 * * *

Good Word: 
 
I Corinthians 12:13            
 
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” 
 
Let us pray (I’ve shared this one before.)
 
Glory to you, Prodigal Provider, 
for the bumper crop of generosity 
being harvested in this season. 
 
I pray your heart gladdens with delight 
as you see children’s encouraging 
sidewalk art, 
 
or an exhausted parent’s calming hug; 
 
hear sweet music from balcony soloists 
or virtual choirs; 
 
smell donated flowers, 
 
aromas from chef-prepared meals 
donated for the poor, 
 
or fresh baked goods left at 
the front lines of care; 
 
feel the pulsing flow from donors’ 
veins to blood banks, 
 
or the touch of nurses’, doctors’, 
or chaplains’ gloved hands on the brows 
of the sick or dying, while still speaking 
words of hope, comfort, 
or blessing to those in need. 
 
In the midst of the bombastic bedlam 
of the self-serving, may I not miss 
these beautiful, bounteous blessings 
discretely planted, fed, and nourished 
by your goodness and grace. Amen.
 
(Rev. Dr. David Hindman)
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
Cell: 864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church



Weekday Email to Members and Friends – 2020-06-19

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Friday 19 June 2020
Juneteenth
 
Members and Friends of 
First Presbyterian Church
Champaign, Illinois
 
Dear Friends, 
 
Happy Juneteenth. To celebrate, I offer two great poems by Langston Hughes:
 
Daybreak in Alabama
BY LANGSTON HUGHES
 
When I get to be a colored composer
I’m gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I’m gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew
I’m gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
And big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I’m gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
Touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a colored composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.
 
* * *
 
Prayer/Litany
by Langston Hughes
 
Gather up
In the arms of your pity
The sick, the depraved,
The desperate, the tired,
All the scum
Of our weary city.
Gather up
In the arms of your pity.
Gather up
In the arms of your love–
Those who expect
No love from above.
 
* * *
 
See you on Sunday. We have GREAT preaching on Sunday. Find us at FirstPres.Live to see what I’m talking about. 
 
I love worshiping with you on Sunday. Invite a friend.
 
* * *
 
Pay attention to God’s activity in the world around you.
            Be amazed.
                        Tell somebody.
 
PEACE,
 
Matt Matthews
864.386.9138
Matt@FirstPres.Church

An Easy Photo Challenge!!
How well do you know your fellow church members and attenders?
Nurture would like to present and fun exciting challenge. We would like you to select a photo from your younger years (grade school, high school or early adulthood). Photos need not be professional. Candid shots are welcome.
You would submit the pictures to photos@firstpres.church.  Eric will be the only one who knows who they are and he will post them to First Presbyterian of Champaign Facebook Group page and also have them included in Matt’s Friday message. Correct answers will be revealed the following week. The more pictures we receive, the more often photos will be posted.

To view the photos, visit http://fb.com/groups/firstpreschampaign.  You can view them whether you are a member of the group or not, but we invite everyone to join!

Pictured is ??????

 

 
Consider trying something new. Join Friday Night Lights:
 
Friday Night Lights, Every Friday, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Email info@firstpres.church for the link.
 
CONTACT PERSON NAME:  Ann or Bill Stout
                                   
Typically (but not always), we use a study guide which is agreed upon by the group.  Currently, we are studying “Loving Justice” by Bob and Carol Hunter (a Life Guide publication).  We meet in homes (alternating hosts) and we alternate leading the discussions.   Our group time includes light (very light) snacks, study time, prayer time, fellowship time, and we periodically support various mission ministries of the church.  In addition, we typically get together for a meal every two or three months.
 
Our recent pattern has been to meet year round with a break of about 5 or 6 weeks during the summer and then another 5- or 6-week break in the winter.

French Evening Prayer Service Saturday 6 pm
Email info@firstpres.church for the link.
 
* * *
 
Juneteenth explained:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2HAVuld0_0
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOOguH71–E
 
MUSIC FRIDAY
 
Chicago and Earth, Wind, and Fire. What a crazy mix!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ui4Sd_xUg6o