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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Five Missouri Resolutions

There are five resolutions forwarded to the General Convention from the Diocese of Missouri. These resolutions were passed by the Convention of the Diocese of Missouri.

You can see the text of these resolutions by clicking on the title to this blog entry.

1. To Increase Media Coverage of Global Crises

2. Continuing Support for the Millennium Development Goals

3. Regarding B033 and rescinding that action of the 2006 General Convention

4. People in Same Gender Committed Relationships are eligible for discernment of ministry -- both Lay and Ordained.

5. Allowing for the Development of Rites for Same-Gender Blessings

Please read the text of each resolution. Thank you.

Health Care

We were asked last week if there were resolutions filed regarding health care in the United States. The following is the only resolution prefiled.

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention call on its congregations to undertake discussions within the parish of the issue of health care coverage in the United States, including:

a) recognition that health is multi-dimensional, with spiritual, social, environmental, and mental elements as well as physical,

b) reminder of personal responsibility for healthy life choices and concern for maintaining one's own health,

c) proclaiming the Gospel message of concern for others which extends to concern for their physical health as well as spiritual well-being,

d) responsibility as a parish to attend to the needs (including health-related needs) of others, both other members of the parish family and those of the wider community, the nation, and the world,

e) recognition that there are limits to what the healthcare system can and should provide and thus that some uncomfortable and difficult choices may have to be made if we are to limit healthcare costs; and be it further

Resolved, That, following up on the discussions within the parishes, communicants, individually and congregationally, be urged to contact elected federal and state officials encouraging them to:

a) create, with the assistance of experts in related fields, a comprehensive definition of "basic healthcare" to which our nation's citizens have a right,

b) establish a system to provide basic healthcare to all,

c) create an oversight mechanism, separate from the immediate political arena, to audit the delivery of that "basic healthcare,"

d) educate our citizens in the need for limitations on what each person can be expected to receive in the way of medical care under a universal coverage program in order to make the program sustainable financially,

e) educate our citizens in the role of personal responsibility in promoting good health with provisions of restricting to some degree treatments for disease in which the patient fails or refuses to comply with good medical practice; and be it further,

Resolved, That this resolution be distributed to all dioceses of the Episcopal Church of America for their consideration and support; and be it further

Resolved, That the 76th General Convention call upon the Episcopal Church to establish and fund a task force to develop action plans and educational materials for dioceses and parishes to conduct the above-described activities; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $5,000 for the implementation of this resolution.


We, the members of the Bioethics Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee believe that:
a) provision of basic healthcare for all is a duty of a nation of Judaic-Christian values and, furthermore,
b) the current healthcare delivery system of the United States is flawed in failing to provide comprehensive coverage for 47 million of our citizens and, furthermore,
c) our current system with its escalating costs represents a non-sustainable financial challenge to employers competing in a global market,
d) the steps we specify above are all necessary to address this problem adequately.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Your Deputation

Thursday evening will be the last gathering in Missouri of your deputation. We will be reviewing the material from the listening sessions, going over local arrangements in Anaheim and getting ready to go. Our Episcopal Church Women delegates will be with us.

Soon we will be in Anaheim and working on the legislation and other material related to the life and mission of the Episcopal Church.

Since time is short, I want to encourage members of the diocese to take one last look at the Blue Book material on the web. Review those areas that are of importance to you, and send us emails or comments on this blog regarding those areas. Communication is two-way. We have been posting here for some weeks, we have held listening sessions, and many of you have sent of email or letters and sometimes talked to us directly. Don't stop now. Please let us know what is on your mind.

The work of the General Convention is detailed and often arduous. Items will change in a moment's notice. It is good to know what you think as we wend our way through the daily journey of the convention.

I also ask your continued prayers for your deputation, the ECW delegates and your bishop as we travel to California during this important juncture in the life of the Church.

To find the Blue Book material: or click on the blog title above.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

In Christ,

The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel
Chair of the Missouri Deputation

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Regarding Comments to This Blog

We welcome comments to the blog page - we encourage them. We want to hear from you.

Please note that comments are moderated before they are posted. This is to avoid any inappropriate language or personal attacks. They will not be blocked because they disagree with the deputation, the poster or other comment writers. We encourage dialogue, conversation and disagreement, but we also encourage a generous spirit among all who comment.

Although we will post comments from as many as possible, please sign your name to comments. Let us each take responsibility for what we write. Anonymous comments have a more difficult time of being posted, and we may choose not to post an anonymous comment for no other reason than the author has not taken responsibility for the text.

When signing your name, please also indicate the congregation in which you worship.

Thank you so much. We look forward to hearing from you.

Youth Ministry and the Church

An interesting note from the State of the Church Report

"As a final comment on the age structure of The Episcopal Church we note two facts. First, “youth and young adults” were articulated by General Convention as one of our top five priorities for the 2006-2009 triennium. The Executive Council, in developing the draft budget for the 2009-2012 triennium, did not list “youth and young adults” as one of their mission priorities. Second, in the recent reorganization of The Episcopal Church Center staff in New York City, the position of Staff Officer for Youth and Young Adult Ministries was eliminated and the duties of that officer re-distributed to other ministry areas."

See pp. 5-6 of the PDF document

By clicking on this blog title you will be directed to the Blue Book entry online.

Church size and attendance

Earlier this week I wrote about the Pension Fund's report to General Convention and the number of congregations in the Church. I have played with the figures a bit and this is interesting.

On average, there are 819,635 Episcopalians in church on Sunday morning. Of those in church:

22% (182,000) attend a Family-sized congregation (Average Sunday Attendance-ASA-between 1-75)

23% (187,596) attend a Pastoral-sized congregation (ASA 75-140)

23% (185,013) attend a Transitional-sized congregation (ASA 141-224)

21% (172,776) attend a Program-sized congregation (ASA 225-399)

11% (92,250) attend a Resource-sized congregation (ASA 400 +)

Please remember that these are averages. It is highly likely that the percentage for Resource-sized and Family-sized congregations is larger, but this figure is based upon a low ASA.

The Very Rev. Ronald H. Clingenpeel

14 days to the start of General Convention

Listening Sessions Report

Below are some of the items we heard about during our current listening sessions. This is not all inclusive, but will give you an idea of what we heard:

Many are weary regarding the issues of sexuality and want the church to get about the business of mission.

There is concern regarding the cost of running the Episcopal Church and people want more resources available at the local level.

Support for a national health care insurance plan -- get it going and tell us the details when it is in place. This is a good thing.

BO33 -- the resolution from 2006 that asked for restraint "by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion." It has not worked and our Constitution and Canons are sufficient guides for choosing people for ordination.

The question arose a number of times as to how important is it to remain in the Anglican Communion.

We should be unified in mission -- we ought to be mission minded rather than issue oriented.

How is the Church going to serve small churches -- the clergy who serve them and the people who continue to minister there?

We need to be about reconciliation.

14 days to the start of General Convention

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Congregations of the Church

Serving the Church in a Season of Change, is the report from the Church Pension Group to the General Convention. It has a lot of information regarding pensions, insurance, and the like. Here are some statistics that bear sharing with our readers.

Congregational size is based upon Average Sunday Attendance. The numbers in brackets indicate the ASA for each titled congregation.

Number of Family Sized Congregations (1-75): 3640

Family Sized without full-time clergy or lay employees: 2526

Family Sized with full-time clergy: 1114 (family congregations normally do not have full-time clergy)

Pastoral Sized Congregations (76-140): 1737

Transitional Sized Congregations (141-225): 1011

Program Sized Congregations (225 - 400): 552

Resource Sized Congregations (401+): 205

Total Episcopal Congregations: 7145
Family Sized: 51%
Pastoral: 24%
Transitional: 14%
Program: 8%
Resource: 3%

15 days to the start of General Convention

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thank You

The deputation wishes to thank all those who participated in the listening sessions over the past two weeks. We know others wished to come, but could not. We know many of you had to drive long distances to attend these sessions and we are grateful for your commitment

We will take the information and discuss it at a meeting the week of the 22nd. Please be assured that what you said to us will be taken seriously.

We now ask several things of you.

1. Please share this web address with others so they too can keep up on the work and ministry of your deputation.

2. Please pray for your deputation, your bishop and the ECW delegates as we gather in Anaheim, July 6-17.

3. Be prepared to meet with us again in September as we return from the General Convention and share what we have learned and worked on.

On behalf of the deputation, thank you so much.

The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel

Friday, June 12, 2009

Public Narrative

Public Narrative is a process by which we learn how to tell our compelling story succinctly and clearly. It is a faith moment or segment of our lives that we can articulate so that others are engaged and invited into that story. From that, they find ways in which to tell their story.

These are faith stories meant to make a statement about our own spiritual growth. We learn this method of telling stories so that we can engage others on their faith journeys. By doing so, we bond as we all move forward in Christ.

The Public Narrative project will be used at General Convention to enable and empower the deputies to be story-tellers -- those who can articulate the faith. Then, the deputies are asked to take this method back to our congregations and engage others in this process. The hope is to enable most of us in the Episcopal Church to be able to talk about our faith and engage others in that faith.

This is a large project and it is hoped that it will have lasting consequences in the life of the church. Episcopalians are not good about witnessing to the faith. It is difficult for us, because it is not really a part of our DNA, as it were. While other Christians are more at ease about witnessing, we are a bit shy. But, if the Church is to grow, we have to find ways to speak about our faith so that others might engage the Gospel.

This is not about preaching, but about being a witness for Christ. It is about telling personal stories. It is about being bold in proclaiming how God and Christ have been a part of our lives and why those incidents have called us into ministry and mission. It is a part of evangelism. That word can strike terror into the hearts of Episcopalians, but it is at the heart of the Gospel. Jesus told the apostles to go and tell -- and that message is a pertinent to us today as it was 2000 years ago.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Budgeting in the Episcopal Church

The following post comes from the office of the House of Deputies and was intended to spark conversation among deputies. We share it with you because the content is important for all to read:

The Canons of the Episcopal Church define the budgetary process by which
General Convention receives and adopts a triennial Budget. PB&F is
charged with presenting to General Convention a balanced Budget that
reflects God's mission as endorsed in legislation from both Houses of
General Convention.

The Canons require "the budget provide for the contingent expenses of
the General Convention, the stipend of the Presiding Bishop together
with the necessary expense of that office, the necessary expenses of the
President of the House of Deputies including the staff and Advisory
Council required to assist in the performance of the duties and matters
related to the President's office, and the applicable Church Pension
Fund assessments. The Corporate section of the budget includes the
administrative support of the Domestic and Foreign Mission Society
offices. "Title I, Canon 4, Section 6(b).

The Canons also state: "The Budget presented for adoption by the General
Convention shall also include provision for support for the Program of
the Episcopal Church. Revenue to support the Budget for the Episcopal
Church shall be generated primarily by a single asking of the Dioceses
of the church based on a formula, which the General Convention shall
adopt as part of its Program, Budget and Finance process." Title I,
Canon 4, Section 6(d).

The Canons continue in Section 6(d): "If in any year the total
anticipated income for budget support is less than the amount required
to support the budget approved by the General Convention, the canonical
portion of the Budget for the Episcopal Church shall have funding
priority over any other budget areas subject to any decreases necessary
to maintain a balanced budget."

Program, Budget and Finance( PB&F) is comprised of 27 members - 9
bishops and 18 deputies - 3 representatives from each province. It
meets electronically and face to face during the triennium, with the
majority of its work focused during the last six months prior to General
Convention. Four months prior to General Convention, PB&F receives from
Executive Council the Draft Budget and Mission Statement, developed from
input obtained from Executive Council, Commissions, Committees, Agencies
and Boards (CCABs), and the Church Center Staff. Mission Priorities
for budgetary consideration were approved by Executive Council during
2008 and used to help develop the Draft Budget for 2010-2012.

Following approval of the Draft Budget by Executive Council in January
2009, the narrative Draft Budget and Mission Statement was made
available online in February 2009. Deputies, first alternates and
bishops received a hard copy in May 2009.
The Draft Budget was developed during the beginning of the current
economic downturn. Financial situations continue to change on personal
and local congregational levels as well as in the investment arena.

PB&F will hold three hearings at General Convention - Mission
Priorities, Spending Issues, and Funding/Resource Issues. All are
invited to sign up to speak.

Click on the title to this blog and you will be linked to a .pdf copy of the draft budget of the Episcopal Church. Please remember, this is a draft and changes will occur. Thank you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Churchwide Medical Plan

The Church Insurance Corp. was challenged to find relief for the high costs of providing medical insurance for clergy and congregational employees. At this General Convention, we will review a plan that addresses this most pressing problem.

One aspect is that it will be a compulsory program. Some dioceses currently use other agencies than the Church Medical Trust to purchase health insurance. This would not be allowed in the future. In some dioceses, the congregation can purchase insurance for clergy from the Medical Trust, and use other vendors for lay employees. This will not be allowed if the new program is passed.

Lay employees who work a certain number of hours (the final number is yet to be determined, but the current recommendation is 1500 hours per year) must be a part of this program.

Costs are driving this decision. Congregations and dioceses want to cut health care costs for employees. By making this a national program the pool is enlarged which spreads the liability and thus lowers these costs.

There will still be choices in plans within the new program -- so there is flexibility within the program. Dioceses and congregations will be able to make choices.

If this passes the General Convention it will still take some time to implement, but it should begin showing changes by 2010.

The proposed program would have the following characteristics:

1. Mandatory participation of all domestic dioceses (including Puerto Rico), congregations and official agencies of The Episcopal Church
2. Funded health care benefits for clergy and lay employees regularly scheduled to work at least 1,500 hours per year
3. Employees may waive coverage in the denominational health plan when coverage is available through another approved source
4. Centralized and simplified administration through the Episcopal Church Medical Trust
5. Local control and choice for each diocese and participating group

* Local diocese or group will determine employee cost-sharing requirements for eligible clergy and lay employees.
* Cost-sharing requirements will be the same for eligible clergy and lay employees.
* Local diocese or group will annually select health care plans for their congregations and employees.
* Local diocese will determine participation requirements for schools, day care facilities and other diocesan institutions.

6. Access for all employees to purchase health care benefits through a participating employer

Click on the title of this blog to be directed to more information at the Church Pension Group web page.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Constitution and Canons

Blue Book, pp. 109-121

The Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons (SCCC) is charged with: (1) review of all proposed amendments to the Constitution or Canons, placing said amendments in proper form, and issuing its views to the proponent of said amendment; and (2) reviewing the Constitution and Canons for consistency and proposing amendments which it deems desirable and necessary, whether such amendments result in mere clerical corrections or substantial alterations, and (3) recommend bylaw changes to the Executive Council and the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society to promote consistency with the Constitution and Canons.

Constitutional Amendments Proposed for Second Reading

A051 Amend Constitution Article VIII
The Constitution currently permits only occasional services by non-Episcopal, full-communion clergy (such as Evangelical Lutheran Church of America - ELCA). This amendment removes the need to amend the Constitution any time the Church enters into full communion with another denomination. SCCC recommends adoption.

A052 Amend Constitution Article I, Section 2
Provides who shall have seat, voice and vote in the House of Bishops. Originally adopted by GC03, amended by GC06, now appearing for second reading at GC09. SCCC recommends adoption.

Constitutional Amendments Proposed for First Reading


Proposed Canonical Amendments

A053 Amend Canon I.4.1(c)
Clarifies that lay persons elected to Executive Council must be confirmed adult communicants in good standing, deleting some excess verbiage which no longer applies. SCCC recommends adoption.

A054 Add Canon I.4.6(j)
Requires all dioceses to report basic data concerning each active congregation to the Executive Committee, to ensure that all are included in the annual Parochial Report process. This amendment was proposed at GC06, but no action was taken. SCCC recommends adoption.

A055 Amend Canon I.12
Allows members of Standing Committees to sign documents in counterparts, in accord with legal custom. SCCC recommends adoption.

A056 Canon III,11.4(a)
Clerical correction to the Canon passed by GC06 as part of the Title III rewrite, requiring that the Standing Committee send a certificate attesting to a newly-elected bishop’s medical, psychological and psychiatric fitness as part of the consent process. The requirement of a certificate had been originally intended, but overlooked. SCCC recommends adoption.

A057 Amend Canon III.11
Constitution Article II, Section 8 provides that a bishop may become bishop of another Diocese under certain conditions. This amendment provides canonical basis for consent to such election. This amendment also changes the formal wording of consents to Episcopal elections, by providing for consent via telecommunication, and also by adding language that the Standing Committee or House of Deputies actually consents to the election, rather than merely finding no impediment. SCCC recommends adoption.

A058 Amend Canons IV.6, IV.14, IV.15 and Title IV Appendix
If the revised Title IV is not adopted, this amendment would conform the above canons to the Constitutional changes made at GC03. No action was taken on this amendment by GC06, but the canons still require this housekeeping measure. SCCC recommends adoption.

A059 Amend Rules of Order for the House of Deputies
Provides that no resolution proposing a Constitutional or canonical change may be considered for the first time on the last legislative day. The House of Bishops adopted this rule at GC06, but time ran out for its consideration in the House of Deputies. SCCC recommends adoption.

A060 Regarding Canon I.1.5
Tasks the Standing Commission on Structure of the Church with evaluating the creation of a Registrar of the House of Bishops, to maintain the documents connected with the ordination and consecration of bishops, and to report its findings back to GC12. SCCC recommends adoption.

Just click on the title of this blog entry to be linked to the Blue Book page. There you may link to a complete copy of this report.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Listening Sessions

Everyone in the diocese has been invited to attend our listening sessions. We want to hear from you - -what you think, what you feel, and what you believe about the church. Our ministry is to take into consideration what you have to say.

The listening sessions will be our opportunity to share some information with you and then to hear what you have to say.

This is also an opportunity for you to meet many of us. That is important so that you have a better idea regarding the deputation, what we think and how we operate.

We look forward to seeing you.

Saturday: June 6 9:30 - 11 a.m.
St. Peter's, Ladue

Saturday: June 13 10 - 11:30 a.m.
All Saints, Farmington

Saturday: June 13 10:30 - Noon
Hope, Columbia

To read the contents of the Blue Book -- the text of resolutions and reports between conventions -- just click on this blog's title.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jubilee Advisory Committee

Blue Book pg. 674

The 67th GC mandated to affirm a ministry of joint discipleship in Christ with poor and oppressed people, wherever they are found, to meet basic human needs and to build a just society. This is at the heart of the mission of the Church.

During the 2006-2009 triennium Jubilee Ministry has continued to support a vibrant network of over 600 Jubilee Centers and 75 Diocesan Jubilee Officers in two areas including Outreach Programs (daycare, food & clothing, AIDS, immigration prison, homelessness, civil/human rights, etc.) and Empowerment Ministries (adult education, job training, Credit Unions, parenting and computer classes, etc.). Orientation training was provided annually for new and reaffirmed Jubilee Center directors and new Diocesan Jubilee Officers. Grant awards totaling $100,000 per year were provided to strengthen and reinforce these programs.

Resolution DO12: Summer Camp for Children of Persons in Prison. Eight camps were funded in the amount of $14,500 for 2007, 19 camps in the amount of $18,690 for 2008, similar support is expected for 2009.

2008 Presiding Bishop's Summit on Domestic Poverty identified 11 essentials to justice: affordable food, employment, affordable childcare, education, health-care, a healthy environment, housing, economic opportunity, just immigration policy, cultural affirmation, and equal protection under the law.

The advisory committee is challenging Executive Council to work towards alleviating domestic poverty in the poorest counties of the U.S. with emphasis on issues affecting American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

RESOLUTION A154: Reaffirms Jubilee Ministry Grants as a line item at the level of $100,000 during the 2010-2012 triennium.

RESOLUTION A155: To establish programs for the alleviation of Domestic Poverty; calls for new and innovative strategies to address these issues; special focus on Native Peoples living on reservations as many of the poorest counties in the U.S.; a program of advocacy to federal state and local governments be developed by the Church Center at a funding level of $400,000 yearly.

Click on the blog title for today to be linked to the Blue Book of the General Convention.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Standing Committee on Ministry Development

This report reviews the work of the seminaries of the church, but it seems dated since at least one (Seabury-Western) is closing its doors soon, which was not mentioned.

There is praise for the General Board of Examining Chaplains for their new grading scheme of the General Ordination Exams (GOEs) and for their experiment in having readers mark only one canonical area in 2009 -- the latter was not implemented in 2009. It also contains the mysterious observation that action on one area (website with continuing formation ideas) was delayed because "it was not clear whether or not there was an Office for Ministry Development in the new regime..."

Resolutions include:

A 103 To authorize development and maintenance of a Continuing Education Resources website.

A 104 Asking Dioceses to implement programs called "Breaking New Ground" which are multicultural leadership development programs.

A 105 Continued funding for Fresh Start (a program that helps integrate new clergy into a diocese) and for evaluation etc. of the program.

A 106 one on reducing the debt incurred by seminarians (which is significant in the 21st Century).

A 107 giving money to Society for the Increase of Ministry to increase the grants they give to seminarians.

A080 and A145 on discernment for ordination for people with disabilities and a review of racism in the ordination process.

The Supplementary materials on the Blue Book CD, about PEALL (Proclaiming Education for ALL) deal with an effort to develop a strategic vision for ongoing ministry formation for the baptized and ordained alike. It seems like a fairly unwieldy project.

Please click on the title to this blog and you will be directed to the Blue Book web page for more detail.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Funding for The Episcopal Church

The Episcopal church is funded in several ways -- the one that touches us most is the assessment each diocese pays. The current expectation is that each diocese will pay 22% toward the work of the general church. Dioceses then choose if they will pay part or all of that.

With the current economic situation a question has arisen as to how much ought to be paid and if it is time to cut back. Certainly we would hope that the General Convention will be attentive and sensitive to this, but there are some pitfalls in making abrupt changes.

1. What priorities are in place to determine which programs will be trimmed? Or, will there be an across the board cut in programming?

2. We all know that some program departments work better than others. What priorities are in place to determine which are cut and which are not? Cutting ought not be a question of the popularity of staff or seniority, but one of furthering the ministry and mission of the Church.

3. If we make a blanket cut now, are we really being good stewards of our mission and ministry or are we simply trying to save a buck.

4. Without a plan and priorities, what are we saying to the larger Church? Do we want congregations to simply cut back without having a plan in the diocese? Do we want people to simply give less to the local congregation if it has no plan?

5. Are we expecting a scarcity without first looking at the abundance of gifts that God has given us?

6. Cutting funding does not answer the question of how we will move forward in mission and ministry -- it only tries to find a way to cut, which is to step away from evangelism and growth.

There is no doubt that we need to face the economic crisis, but as with all things, a thoughtful response will be much stronger than a quick reaction.

Your deputation has discussed this matter and we are of the opinion that the financial issues need to be addressed and that we need to make it clear to the Program, Budget and Finance Committee (PB&F) that steps need to be taken to address this crisis; and that this is simply not a crisis of Wall Street, but one of "Main Street." We would want a well thought out plan that lists priorities and strategies to provide the necessary program for mission and ministry in the Church and that the current programming of the church (and the staff responsible for that programming) to be evaluated against that plan.

We realize there are issues that need to be and can be addressed quickly, but we also believe that a long-term approach is good stewardship.

Your Diocesan Council has proposed that General Convention allow for an annual 1% cut in the giving to the Episcopal Church (over a 10 year period). Even though I do not agree with the strategy proposed, I do agree with the spirit of this resolution. We can no longer go about business as usual. We have to address the 21st Century economy and the Church needs to look at different ways in which to do mission and ministry. I am glad that the Council raised the issue and believe we are not the only diocese that wants to talk this out and to find new ways to go about mission and ministry.

I will testify before PB&F at General Convention, as shall several others in our deputation. We will raise these issues and prayerfully engage the Church in a movement to address the crisis and its impact upon our church -- beginning with the person in the pew.

The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel

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