March 2017
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From the Pastor
During Advent, we waited, preparing for God’s incarnation.  At Christmas, we sang with angels at the Joy of the birth of Jesus.  In Epiphany, we followed the Light of this Christ through the signs he performed,  in the Gospel of John.  Now, as Lent is upon us, the signs of Christ point us to the 24 hours that changed the world!  The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and concludes with Easter.  Lent is a 40 day journey through the desert of dust, temptation, and mortality.  Lent’s fasting, prayer, sacrificial giving and self-reflection invite us into a Holy space.  This holy season gives us a time to pause and to focus on all that our Lord Jesus has done for us out of pure and divine love.  With Palm Sunday and progressing through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we participate in Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.  Only then can we feel the awe and joy of his resurrection on that glorious Easter morning. By participating in this season, we boldly embrace our identity as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The United Methodist Book of Worship order of worship for Ash Wednesday contains a part titled, Initiation to the Observance of Lenten Discipline” which concludes with these words:
“I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church,
                  to observe a holy Lent;
                  by self-examination and repentance;
                  by prayer, fasting, and self-denial;
                  and by reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.”
Never forget, God loves you!
Pastor Bob

Have you thought about a Lenten discipline for this year? Some people “give something up”.  Others add an activity or spiritual practice.  Sometimes a particular area of focus needs prayer.  This year, our Lenten preaching series is, “24-Hours that Changed the World”, and will look at the events of the passion of Christ and explore their meaning for us.
Along with our sermon series, Wednesday Morning Prayer, Wednesday Night Lift, and a special Bible Study, we are inviting you to invest in the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  During Lent we are inviting you to join the Lenten EXTRA MILE Challenge by planning to make an extra mile gift to the church for the purpose of fulfilling our partnership in the mission of the United Methodist Church here in the USA and around the world.  Our goal is to raise $8,000 over the seven weeks of Lent and will help support World Service, Ministerial Education, Black College Fund, Missional Priorities and Africa University.  Your gift will help transform the world.
How is God calling you to respond to this Challenge?  Would you consider make an extra mile gift of (remember these are only ideas to help guide you):
                  $800 or $114.29 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $600 or $  85.71 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $400 or $  57.14 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $300 or $  42.86 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $225 or $  32.14 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $200 or $  28.57 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $175 or $  25.00 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $125 or $  17.85 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $  80 or $  11.43 per week during the season of Lent.
                  $  75 or $  10.71 per week during the season of Lent.
Confirmation for High School students has begun!  Pastor Bob meets with the group on Sunday evenings from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. now until the beginning of June.  Confirmation Sunday will by June 11th.  There is still time to join.   Contact Pastor Bob for information.

INQUIRER’S CLASS – Interested in uniting with the West Hartford United Methodist Church as a professing member?  Pastor Bob will be conducting the next Inquirer’s Class, to be held on Sunday, March 12 and 19 from 10:15 until 11 a.m. in the Church Library.  New members will be received on April 2nd.

*A note from Pastor Bob:
Mea culpa!  Shortly after the February Newsletter was published and sent out, I discovered two little notes on my desk that needed to be included.  So, my apologies to you, and especially Suzanne Gates for this oversight --- mea culpa, mea culpa – my fault.

“I want to thank the West Hartford United Methodist congregation for the very generous gift Ken Loveland presented to me last Sunday (January 8th)!  The opportunity to play and worship with such a caring and faith-filled congregation is a blessing to me and this was certainly an extra kindness. Thank you very much.”
-- Suzanne Gates dated January 14, 2017.

Dear friends,
I’m discovering there is just too little month for the number of things I must do.  Such was the case in January.  Before I knew it, the February issue of the WHUMC Happenings was published; and sitting on my desk was a reminder to submit this note (which I forgot).  So, belatedly, Shelly, Zoe and I were so grateful to the congregation for your generous gift Ken Loveland presented to us on January 8th.  We are so grateful to be among you as your pastoral family and truly appreciate the kindness and love you have shown us in our first six months together.  We are most blessed to be among you,
Thank you and God bless. -- Pastor Bob Knebel

March 5    Part 1: The Last Supper: “The Meal that Defines Us”
March 12  Part 2: The Garden of Gethsemane: “The Why of Jesus’ Anguish”
March 19  Part 3: “Condemned by the Righteous”
March 26  Pastor away, Rev. Suzy Rivera, preaching
April 2       Part 4: The Torture and Humiliation of the King  “The Cost of Grace”
April 9       Palm Sunday, Part 5: The Crucifixion: “One on His Right and One on His Left”
Make Plans now to invite a friend to church during Lent and Easter.
Office volunteer needed in April
Karen will be on vacation from April 17 through May 1, and Pastor Bob could use a little help in the office 2 or 3 days each week while she’s away. 

Please let Karen or Pastor Bob know if you're available, and to arrange for training.
After Sunday services, Pastor Bob meets Rei, an exchange student who attended  Conard High School.  During his time in America, Rei stayed with the Baronian family.  Pictured here: Jim, Rei, Pastor Bob, and Jim’s sons, Erik and Reed.
Wednesday Night Lift! Begins Wednesday!  
“Coming Alive in Christ by Thinking Like Jesus” 
1 February – 5 April

Get to know new friends, and strengthen friendships you already enjoy in your West Hartford Church Family through Wednesday Night Lift, beginning this coming Wednesday, February 1st.
We will begin each evening at 6 p.m. with supper together.  At 6:30 p.m., the adults will view a short video by Pastor Randy Frazee on the topic for the evening, then break into small groups for discussion. 
This year our topic will be “Coming Alive in Christ by Thinking Like Jesus: What Do I believe?”  What we believe in our hearts will define who we become.  God wants you to become like Jesus.  This is who God created you to be.  The journey to becoming like Jesus begins by thinking like Jesus. Topics to be explored:
  • 1 Feb         God            
  • 8 Feb        Personal God
  • 15 Feb       Salvation   
  • 22 Feb      The Bible
  • 1 March    Ash Wednesday Service                    
  • 8 March   Identity in Christ
  • 15 March  Humility
  • 22 March  Compassion
  • 29 March   Stewardship
  • 5 April        Eternity
Children ages preschool through Grade 5 will enjoy Pioneer Club – a hands-on, fun way to learn about the Christian faith.
Dinners throughout Lift will include (note change in menu):
  American Chop Suey
  Hearty Soup and Sandwiches
  Hearty Soup and bread (during Lent)
Gluten Free and Vegetarian options will be available.
So, come give your Wednesday night, and your entire week a Lift at Wednesday Night Lift!
What makes you come alive?
There are a number of opportunities here at the West Hartford United Methodist Church to use your gifts and talents for the ministry of the Lord here.   Speak to the Pastor or Judy Morris about how you can come alive through one or more of these opportunities:
  • Prayer shawl ministry
  • Membership care
  • Welcome bags
  • Greeters
  • Ushers
  • Coffee hour
  • Kitchen
  • Grease trap maintenance
  • Teachers
  • Small groups
  • Grounds work
  • Office work
  • Custodial work
  • Pumpkin Patch
  • South Park Inn
  • Missions
  • United Methodist Women
  • Mens' group
  • Iron Sharpens Iron
  • JAM
  • Middlers
  • Sr. High
  • Narthex slide show
  • Caring kitchens
  • Social media
  • Membership
  • Publicity
  • Sound system
  • Powerpoint
  • Choir
  • Band
  • Website
  • Sunday readers
  • Sunday morning set up
  • Communion set up
  • Holiday decorating / un-decorating
  • Cupcake ministry
  • Annual Conference
  • Transportation
  • Visitation
  • Prayer
  • Newsletter
Save The Date: Church Grounds Spring Cleanup Work Day
Saturday April 8h from 9:00am to until the job is done
Please plan on spending Saturday morning April 8th with us as we work on making our church grounds beautiful for the spring season.  Any time you can give would be a blessing – come for the morning or just an hour or two – any amount of time is appreciated!  We will provide plenty of coffee and donuts to keep you energized!
We will be cleaning up sticks and limbs, clearing leaves, and cleaning up the memorial garden and the stone gardens.   So bring your pruners, trimmers, garden and lawn rakes, flat shovels, snow shovels leaf blowers, work gloves and wheel barrows. 
If you are able to help, we are trying to get a headcount.  Please contact April Parsons 860 778-3528 or and let her know your availability.
This is a big job and we need your help – many hands make light work!
United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth

UM Army Registrations are due by March 1st!
UMARMY is a mission trip in which middlers, youth, and college students give up a week of their summer to work on the homes of people in need in the Northeast. A few adults also get the opportunity to join in the fun as chaperones for the week!
Individual registrations are now open:
The mixed age trip (grades 7 - 12) will be in Elliot, ME from July 9 - 15, 2017 and can be registered for by           
The college trip will be in Amityville, NY from May 28-June 3rd and can be registered for by  
Adult leaders are needed for both trips- no construction skills needed!  Please consider taking part in this fantastic mission opportunity. If you are interested or have any questions, please email Katelyn Zea ( or Mary Suter ( or call Mary at 860-944-9196. 
Middlers and Youth Update and Thank You!
We spent the month of January talking about ways we can give to our church and communities including gifts of our time, talents, and treasures. We are currently working through the Believe study, Student Edition by Randy Frazee. This is the same study that is being done at Wednesday Night Lift, but is tailored to youth and middlers. Come join us in the conversation Sundays at 10 am in the youth room!

During the Christmas season, we not only had a fun youth party, we also made ornaments and wrote prayer cards for the youth and middlers that live in the shelter at the Friendship Service Center in New Britain. Our youth did a great job of writing prayer cards that touched the hearts of the youth, their parents, and the staff at the Friendship Center. Below is a thank you note the youth of our church received.

God Bless,

Katey Zea

West Hartford UMC Youth Group

West Hartford, CT 06111

Dear Katelyn and youth,

On behalf of the Friendship Service Center and our clients and residents, I would like to thank you for your generous contributions in support of our programs and residents.

Your gift of handmade ornaments with the personalized notes was greatly appreciated by the families and individuals in the shelter. Your thoughtfulness helped to make the burdens of poverty a little lighter at a time when our clients are celebrating new victories but still have many needs. It makes a difference.

Your kindness is a blessing.


Barbara Lazarski

Development DIrector

Friendship Service Center of New Britain, Inc.
Pancake Supper!
Come join us for food and fellowship as the UMW celebrates Shrove Tuesday
Menu: All you can eat pancakes, sausages, applesauce, coffee, and orange juice
Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Time: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Cost: (Children under 4 free), Children 5-10  $5.00, 12 and older $7.00 each


  • Prayer shawls: These have been given to those who have been hospitalized or had a new baby. If you can knit (3 knit, 3 purl) or crochet and would like to be a part of this ministry, please see Judy Morris (747-6228). Yarn and instructions will be provided.
  • Caring kitchens: We are always in need of people willing to make a meal when someone in the congregation in need. Lynda Anderson, coordinator, keeps a list of those she can call on occasionally to help. If you our willing add your name to that list, please call Lynda (860-229-8861)
  • Connectional Ministry: We are currently in need of someone willing to send out monthly birthday and anniversary card. Cards and postage will be provided. If you are interested, please call Judy Morris (747-6228).
These are 3 very important ways that you can help in the ministry of the church. None are long-term commitments or very time consuming, but all are very important to those who receive the their benefits. Please prayerfully consider participating in one or more of them.
Scrapbooking will be held on Saturday, March 12th at 9:00 AM in the John Wesley Room. Supplies will be available or bring your own. If you’ve never scrapbooked, bring a few pictures and try it. You may also choose to make cards. If you’re an experienced scrapbooker, please come and share your ideas. All are welcome. Please contact Judy Morris (860)747-6228 if you plan to attend.
Tea Cups and Tiaras Afternoon Tea and Fashion Charity Event

DATE AND TIME:  2:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT
Sun, April 2, 2017 
LOCATION:  Town & County Club, 22 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT 06105

Please join us at the historic Town and County Club for a fabulous afternoon tea while celebrating the fashion that goes along with it! Enjoy delicious food, fragrant tasty teas and sweet treats while being entertained by a fashion show and silent auction! Local fashion and accessory designers will be featured to celebrate community talent and fun!
What's the best part you ask? A portion of proceeds will benefit The Friendship Service Center of New Britain, a charity very close to my heart!
There is opportunity for sponsorship if interested and donations are most welcome! Contact for sponsorship info!
For Tickets go to or ask Nancy Jay.
Now is the time for SPRING CLEANING
Friday March 31st  7-9 pm
Saturday April 1st  8 am-1 pm
What to Bring:
Clothes (all kinds), kitchen supplies, domestics (towels, blankets, tablecloths), toys, baby items, seasonal decorations, household items (lamps, etc.), purses, flat screen TV’s, shoes, small furniture, jewelry!

Please do not bring these items that are difficult to sell:
exercise equipment, old computers, text books/ encyclopedias, heavy furniture, stereo equipment, skis, cribs, baby car seats,
Please drop off items after the 11:00 am service today and all week
Come Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 1 pm or
4-7:30 pm to help set up for the sale!!!

Call Nancy Jay 860-604-3857
Or Doris Shuskus 860-561-2752
If you need to Drop off after 4:00 pm
Save The Date Swedish Smorgasbord
Sun. March 19th 5:00pm

Cost: $15.00 Adult | $7.00 Child
You will not want to miss this delicious meal! In addition to many traditional buffet dishes we will also have a selection of Swedish dishes as well (Swedish dishes will be clearly marked). We promise you will not be disappointed.
Tickets will go on sale beginning Sunday February 26, 2017
Our menu will consist of the following dishes:
· An assortment of Cheeses
· An assortment of salads (cucumber salad, cole slaw, gelatin salad, several Swedish specialty salads, etc.)
· Deviled Eggs
· Baked Ham
· Swedish Meatballs
· Swedish sausage
· Baked macaroni
· Baked beans
· Potatos
· Turnips
· An assortment of breads
· Rice pudding
· Swedish Cookies
Please contact April Parsons with questions: or 860-778-3528

"As Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Iron Sharpens Iron 2017 is a one day conference, 8:30 AM - 4:55 PM, Saturday, March18th, at First Cathedral, Bloomfield. There will be sixteen different equipping seminars specific to men. The topics are designed for men of all ages, including young men beginning at age 13 and including the seasoned men. One of the Keynote Speakers is Darryl Strawberry, former baseball superstar for the New York Yankees, who is now a passionate Christ follower. Carve out one day to spend with other Christian men and strengthen your relationship with Christ.  A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the narthex. 
See Bruce Morris for details.


Christian Education News
The Jesus and Me children have had a great month of February.  They have been learning of the signs that proved Jesus is God.  We are now heading into Lent and the program will include the stories that lead us to Jesus’ resurrection.
The children hosted Coffee Hour and as always, they love doing it.  We will host again on March 19th. Please plan on them setting up, hosting, and cleaning up.  Please stay or come early to participate.  
Our Gifts to God have been going well.  We do it formally on the second Sunday of the month but their monetary gifts can come in at any time.  During Lent we will be talking about all the gifts we can give to God through service.  Our Birthday Bag mission will need donations. 
The following is a list of items:
Brown bags with handles (so we can decorate the bag)
Small cake mixes
Small tins for baking the cake
We will be making decorations to include in the bag as well
Small non-gender specific toys such as crayons, colored pencils, books, or anything else that you think of
There will be a Planning gathering for all parents on March 26 at 10:00 in the John Wesley Room.  And a big thank you to parents who have assisted me at Sunday School in the month of February.  It makes a huge difference. 
Amy Meredith
Director of Christian Education

Nursery School Notes
March seems to have come in like a "lamb" instead of a "lion" this year!  Even though the temperatures have been warm it’s still winter, and we held our annual "Winter Fun Days" in the classrooms.  "Winter Fun Days" is a two-day event with the children moving between the two classrooms to participate in special activities like an Arctic Water/Ice sensory table, building with toothpicks and marshmallows, snow ball basketball, and creating a snowperson with shredded paper.  Grandma Edyie was there on one of the days to join in the fun!
We are happy to report that last month’s mission of "Love Bugs" for cancer patients in Avon was a huge success!  The patients loved receiving a special valentine from our children.  Those "bugs" brought a lot of smiles to their day!
Finally, an enrollment update for the 2017-2018 school year: Only 6 spots are left!  Our staff is very proud of the work we do each day and the fact that we have only a few spots left for the next school year is a testament to our school. If your family, or one you know, is interested in having their child attend Nursery School in the fall, please invite them to contact us for a private tour.   
Lisa Brown, Director 
West Hartford Methodist Nursery School
7 Berkshire Road West Hartford, CT 06110 (860)521-8063


Harvest Fair Update

Are you going stir-crazy after the long winter? Ready to get out of the house and enjoy the company of a small friendly group? Then join a Harvest Fair craft workshop for fellowship, conversation, and crafting! Tuesday morning workshops will resume March 7th., 9:30A.M. - NOON, and Monday evening workshops will resume March 13th., 2:00P.M.- 6:00P.M. If there is interest in night workshops we can stay later on Mondays, just let me know! If West Hartford schools have a weather related delay, early dismissal, or are closed workshops cancel for the day.

All types of crafts are needed, and all skill levels are encouraged to join. Don't be shy! We have a need for skilled sewers and knitters in particular. If you enjoy painting, woodworking, crocheting, creating floral pieces and door arrangements or making general craft items please join us! Bring your ideas for practical, useful, unique items, or use one of our patterns. If scheduled workshops aren't convenient for you and you'd like to craft at home let us know. Materials will be provided.

We are always looking for new places to submit donation requests for the Silent Auction booth as well as businesses to to place ads in our program. If you have any suggestions please give the information to Larry Wilder, Karen Loveland during office hours, or me any time.

Please note: If you purchased certificates or tickets at the Silent Auction please be mindful of the terms and expiration dates, and use them! If an establishment goes out of business the certificate becomes worthless. Use and enjoy!

In Christ's Service,
Joy Ferguson, Harvest Fair Chairperson
860 523-8017
Adopt Grandparent News
“And a little child will lead us” - Isaiah 11:6

Ongoing Need for Travel Size Toiletries

One of the Adopt a Grandparent children’s mission is to collect travel size toiletries to be donated to The Friendship Center for their overnight guests and residents.   Since individuals staying at the Friendship Center are not allowed to share toiletries and space is limited, travel size toiletries are ideal for their needs. 
Travel size toiletries can be found in hotel room bathrooms, grocery and discount stores.  If you have any of these items that you brought home from vacation and/ or business trips please bring them to church and put them in the box that is located outside of the sanctuary.
What is the Adopt a Grandparent Program?
The Adopt a Grandparent program is designed to bring children together with adults who will be their Christian mentors. Any children who do not have grandparents or have grandparents that live a distance from them can be matched up with adults who do not have grandchildren or would like to have a church grandchild are ideal candidates.
If you are interested in or would like more information about the program, please contact me at 860-665-7981.    
Edyie Steimer
Adopt a Grandparent Coordinator

Spotlight On…



Welcome to a new feature in the newsletter!  Each month, we will highlight a different committee. We’ll tell you what it does and who serves on it.  And since they’ve been in the limelight lately due to our pastoral transition, we thought it might be appropriate to start with the Staff Parish Relations Committee.  Here are a few excerpts from the Book of Discipline:
The Staff Parish Relations Committee is elected annually.  The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church states, "in conducting its work, the committee shall identify and clarify its values for ministry. It shall engage in biblical and theological reflections on the mission of the church, the primary task, and ministries of the local church. The committee shall reflect biblically and theologically on the role and work of the pastor(s) and staff as they carry out their leadership responsibilities. . . . The duties of the committee shall include the following:  . . . to confer with and counsel the pastor(s) and staff on matters pertaining to the effectiveness of ministry; relationships with the congregation; conditions that may impede the effectiveness of ministry; and to interpret the nature and function of the ministry. " 
The Discipline goes on to list other responsibilities, all of which essentially make the SPRC the “Human Resources Department” of the local church.  It is the only closed/confidential committee of the church.
Members for 2017 are:
Lisa Hazzard, Chairperson
            Aundra Hirschthal                    April Parsons                Scott Powers
            Mary Quinn                              Linda Smith                   Robyn Weiss
            Keith Yimoyines                       Katey Zea                     Pastor Bob Knebel

Date Event Notes Contact
3/16/2017 (Thu.) Belle’s Breakfast UMW Catering Event Nancy Janusauskas
3/19/2017 Smorgasbord Set up and Prep, 3/18/2017
Dinner is from  5-8
April Parsons
3/31/2017 (Fri.) 7-9pm
4/1/2017 (Sat.) 8-1pm
Rummage Sale Set-up starts on Sun 3/25/2017 Doris Shuskus
4/9/2017 (Sun.)
11:00am to 12:00am
Palm Sunday Breakfast
Easter Bake Sale
This will follow the 10:00am Combined Service April Parsons
Karen Powers
4/16/2017 (Sun.)
10:00am – 11:00am
Easter Cupcake Sale This will occur during common hour April Parsons
9/21/2017 (Thu.) Belle’s Luncheon UMW Catering Event Nancy Janusauskas
9/28/2017 (Thu.) 1st Pumpkin Unloading Serve dinner for helpers Nancy Janusauskas
10/16/2017 (Thu.) 2nd Pumpkin Unloading Serve dinner for helpers Nancy Janusauskas
10/21/2017 (Sat.)
9:00am – 2:00pm
Harvest Fair Set-up starts on Sun 10/14 – Thu 10/20 anytime you can help ,and Friday 9:00 am Joy Ferguson
10/27/2017 (Fri.) 7-9pm
10/28/2017(Sat.) 8-1pm
Rummage Sale Set-up starts on Sun 10/23 Doris Shuskus
11/26/2017 (Sun.)
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Tree Lighting and Carol Sing Dinner More info to follow April Parsons
12/2/2017 (Sat.)
12:00pm – 3:00pm
Holiday Luncheon More info to follow Nancy Janusauskas
12/3/2017(Sun.) Christmas Tea More info to follow Judy Morris
UMW Officers 2017-2018 UMW Contact Info:
Nancy Janusauskas, President & Financial Secretary
April Parsons, Vice President
Mary Suter, Treasurer
Cheryl Sansone, Secretary
April Parsons                        860 778-3528
Doris Shuskus                       860 561-2752
Joy Ferguson                         860 523-8017
Judy Morris                           860 747-6228
Karen Powers                        860 665-0786
Nancy Janusauskas               860 521-1166
Thank You
Thank you from the United Methodist Women (UMW)
Valentine Cupcake Fundraiser
Together, we raised $250 at the Valentine Cupcake fundraiser that was held on Sunday February 12th.  The proceeds raised will support 2017 UMW mission projects.  Thank you!
Friendship Center Move-In Baskets
Many thanks to all who donated to help support our Move-in Basket mission.  Your generosity helped the UMW provide nine completed baskets.  The Friendship Center clients will benefit greatly from your generosity
March Birthdays 

March 3 - Matt Powers

March 5 - Bruce Morris, Stephen Hirschthal

March 12 - Judy Hildebrand

March 15 – Jim Head

March 17 - Maile Buckley

March 18 - Oliver Buckley

March 19 - Xanthe Sasser, Joonha Hong, John Harris, Nicholas Larson

March 21 – Abel Galvez

March 22 - Gabrielle Gaulin, Peter White

March 24 – Parri Hockenberry

March 31 – Elijah Yimoyines

March Anniversaries
March 12 – Jo-Ann & John Savonis
March 17 – Judy & Chuck Hildebrand

Please contact Karen Loveland at
860-521-7766 or
to have your birthday or anniversary added.
Copyright © West Hartford UMC All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
1358 New Britain Ave., West Hartford, CT 06110

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West Hartford United Methodist Church · 1358 New Britain Avenue · West Hartford, CT 06110 · USA

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