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                                                                                             MAY, 2019  
      
                         The Virginia 
                      LUTHERAN 
Bringing you news of the Virginia Synod since 1921.


Maxey: 
Roanoke College  is doing well
 
          At a time when some small colleges are closing, President Mike Maxey told an Honor Guard breakfast on April 6 that Roanoke College has a record number of applicants for the fall semester. The college is doing well, he said, but there are challenges ahead "to make sure" it continues to thrive.
Maxey
          "What we do today, we help young people reach their potential...They are building relationships. Roanoke is a student-driven, relationship-oriented place..We have a desire to make Roanoke better," he said.            
           Maxey reported that a capital campaign has raised $204 million. Fifteen Roanoke students held Fulbright scholarship in the last three years, more than any other college in the state, and more have been accepted this year. And over 30,000 visitors have come to the new Cregger Center on campus in the first two months of this year.
As the college builds for tomorrow, New initiatives planned for this fall are engineering, digital and actuarial programs.
In This Issue
Lutherans in the news
St. Mark's, Roanoke marks 150 years
Why Christian?.
We must understand the roots of hatred
Prayground at Apostles,
Great Awakening without God
Theology on Tap
VLH sells Luther Manor.
First Lutheran, Portsmouth celebrates final service
460 will graduate from Roanoke College.
Grace, Winchester distributes funds
Copenhaver to be honored
A Roanoke College ring missing for 63 years
Lutheran-Episcopal Retreat
Easter Vigil on the York River.
Evangelism in the muck
"Children" is Power theme, July 11-13.
   
Lutherans in the news
Woeppel

          At  Peace, Charlottesville , Melissa Woeppel was honored for her service as vicar for two years and recently as pastoral associate.  Pastor Kim Triplett  will start as interim pastor on May 12. Woeppel will graduate from United Lutheran Seminary on May 17, lead her last service at Peace on May 19, move to Kansas to await her first pastoral call and marry Bryan Miles on June 23. Triplett, who was ordained in 2008, completed service as interim pastor at Lakeside Lutheran, Littleton, NC, last fall.   
           
Moyers
Synod Council has selected Brad Moyers, Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg, to serve as synod attorney, following the retirement of Mark Reed, St. Mark, Luray. Reed has been Synod vice president and secretary and a member of the 1987 Transition Team.
            Pastor Robert F. Wise, a Valley native, will begin serving Prince of Peace, Basye, on May 12. The son of Pastor Gerald Wise, who served Emanuel, Woodstock, he graduated from Roanoke College and Gettysburg Seminary and worked in financial planning before he was ordained in 1990. He has served at Mt. Olive, Mt. Pleasant, NC, and Reformation, Lakeland, FL.  A former counselor at Caroline Furnace, he volunteers at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries annually.  His wife,   Donna, is also from the valley and they have a home at Edinburg. Pastor Wise has a stepson Matthew Leeds, a son, Daniel Wise, and two daughters, Rebekah and Elizabeth Wise.  
            Pastor David Gunderlach has retired from the Synod roster but he continues on the staff at Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center, Newport News.   
            Construction is underway at Christ the King, Richmond, for an education and meeting space, to be completed by August. Bishop Bob Humphrey participated in a groundbreaking service for the project on Palm Sunday.
            For a New Day Initiative, Bethel, Winchester, plans to seek deeper understanding of the Bible and new ways for meaningful worship, build community relationships and find ways for ministry in the world. The initiative is designed "to draw us all together and help us move forward into our 200th year and beyond," according to the Bethel Banner newsletter.
            Members of Peace, Charlottesville, stood with those from other congregations  for a focus on affordable housing at a Nehemiah Action at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center n April 11.     
            A UVA Student Ramadan dinner is planned at St.  Mark, Charlottesville, on Wednesday, May 8,  for Muslim students who need to eat after fasting and studying for exams.. Following their faith tradition, Muslims celebrate Ramadan by fasting from sunrise to sundown.
            Members of St. Paul's, Hampton,  will collect wedding gowns for Kennedy's Angel Gowns, Virginia Beach, a non-profit using materials from gowns to make burial outfits for stillborn babies and newborns who died in the first weeks of life. St. Paul's has a team in the Fox Hill Community 5K, which benefits Hampton Ecumenical Lodging and Provisions (H.E.L.P.) program.
            The Raleigh Ringers, a handbell choir based in Raleigh, NC, will present a concert at Epiphany, Richmond, Sunday, May 19, at 4 p.m. The choir presents unique interpretations of sacred, secular and popular music.
            Members of First English, Richmond, offered water to runners in the Monument Avenue 10K as they passed the church.
            A century-old deacon's bench was presented to the council of Trinity, Stephens City, from the estate of Virginia Estep.                                                                                
 
St. Mark's, Roanoke,
marks 150 years with appeal

               St. Mark's, Roanoke, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year with the start of a $330,000 capital appeal and a series of sermons by sons of the congregation, two former pastors and Bishop Bob Humphrey.
     
Bishop Bartholomew
     "Strong Heritage, Strong Future" is the theme of the appeal to replace part of a pipe organ, install heating and air conditioning for the nave and fellowship hall, repair flooring and support ForwardingFaith, the Synod's youth ministry appeal. The appeal has $200,000 in pledges and gifts, Pastor James Armentrout said,
            Bishop Tracie Bartholomew of the New Jersey Synod, former associate pastor at St. Mark's, preached on April 28. The three sons of St. Mark's who are returning to preach are retired Pastor Fred Guy, Huntersville, NC, on March 30; Pastor Matthew Henning, Community of Grace, Grayson, GA, June 23, and retired Pastor Bill Van O'Linda, Glen Allen, June 30, for a Homecoming Service, featuring a picnic and music, for former members.
            Bishop Humphrey will join the celebration by preaching on Sept. 22. Anniversary pins and T-shirts are available.
 
Why Christian?
     by Margaret Grimes

            (This report is from The Epistle, newsletter of Apostles, Gloucester.)

            Ben, Libby and myself attended this conference and were renewed in the spirit but we also had a great time in the city of San Francisco. Lots of steps up to Nob Hill and Grace Cathedral-over 220!
            "Why Christian?" Why, in the wake of centuries of corruption, hypocrisy, crusades, televangelists and puppet ministries, do we continue to follow Jesus? Why amidst all the challenges and disappointments, do we still have skin in the game---Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber.
            Indeed, Why Christian? We heard many of the Why's from people of all walks of life. From Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, pastors, practitioners, artists, dreamers and doubters around one big question. Why were they still Christian? Each one had a story to tell, a journey to share and how their faith gave them the resilience to still believe, given very hard circumstances.
            Some struggled with their sexual orientation. Some struggled with their addictions or their family's addictions. Others struggled with extreme poverty. Still others from horrible abuse. Even though their stories differed, it was clear that their hope and love for God/Jesus/Spirit got them through whatever hardship they faced.
            This conference couldn't help but renew our faith and hope in our God. We all have a story to tell, but hopefully, we not only believe in Jesus' loving grace for us, we still seek it. The conference ended with a beautiful liturgy in a beautiful holy space. It is something we will never forget.
 
Pastor K:
We must understand the roots of hatred
     by retired Pastor Bill King
Pastor K

            Pastor Khader El-Yateem, director of Evangelical Mission/assistant to the bishop, Florida Synod, served as the 2019 Visiting Theologian at Luther Memorial, Blacksburg. During his time in Blacksburg, he shared his spiritual and ministry journey, which includes imprisonment and torture in an Israeli prison, a mystical call to be a force for reconciliation, founding an Arab-speaking ELCA congregation in New York City, and community organization in Brooklyn.
            Known as "Pastor K" in his Brooklyn neighborhood, he was featured in a Radio Lab podcast which described his attempt to be elected to the New York City Council. That campaign was unsuccessful but bore fruit in building a continuing coalition across racial, religious, and cultural to address common concerns.
           A documentary of that effort, Father K, was screened during his time in Blacksburg. (See https://www.fatherkmovie.com/ to view a trailer and for more information on how your congregation might host a screening)
            In his presentations Pastor K was candid about the ongoing injustice which Muslims and Arabs face, both in the Middle East and in the United States. Even more striking was his deep conviction, rooted in his love of the gospel, that we must seek to understand the roots of hatred if we are to transcend it. "When someone tells me that he hates me, I take him out to lunch; I want to know why he thinks he should hate me. Only in understanding can we break down the walls."
            Pastor K called the church to be more responsive to the demographic changes which are happening all around us, whether we like them or not. "We [in the ELCA] are very good at doing church-we know how to set up the altar and create beautiful liturgy-we are not so good at engaging our communities when the people do not look or think like us."
          Preaching on John 20, he reminded the congregation that Jesus offered the disciples peace in spite of their failures, but then called them to go beyond their fear and get out from behind closed doors to bear witness to God's incredible love. That is the ongoing call and challenge for the Church.
 
Prayground at Apostles, Gloucester

           






Children have a place to play or pray during worship in an area set aside at the front of the sanctuary at Apostles, Gloucester. During Easter Sunday worship, a child sat in a rocking chair reading and singing "Alleluia!" The idea, originated at Grace Lutheran, Appleton, Wisconsin, has started at many churches.
 
Mitchell:
Identity politics.  Great Awakening without God
     by Dr. Paul Hinlicky

(Dr. Paul Hinlicky, professor of Lutheran studies at Roanoke College, reports on a talk by Dr. Joshua Mitchell, of the Georgetown University faculty, at the college on April 4. His topic was "Luther and the Rise of Modern Politics.")

            We have just enjoyed a rich and insightful tour through the last 500 years of Western intellectual history in which our speaker excavates a deep connection between classical liberal politics and the Reformation's elevation of faith over works -to speak very precisely - as the location of the gift of reconciliation.
            Reconciliation is what is needed but which cannot be achieved by those unreconciled; it comes purely as a gift from above which is why it is received by faith and not achieved by works. Presupposed in this Reformation theology is the urgent need for reconciliation, a presupposition that in the course of these 500 years has been deeply eroded. Lately, indeed, it has been supplanted by an alternative desire for purity: an acknowledged status of innocence, with a corresponding need to drive out the scapegoat of impurity. But this need for purgation, our speaker suggests, is insatiable; once unleashed it cannot cease to devour. It is consciously or unconsciously religious, the secularized recapitulation of the anxious monk Luther's search for a gracious God - yet without Luther's discovery of the gift of grace precisely for those unworthy of grace.
In Joshua Mitchell's own words:"[T]he seemingly inevitable trend line pointing toward an America devoid of Christianity [often overlooks] the fact that although the dying Mainline Churches have increasingly abandoned the idea of Original Sin and the sacrificial atonement of the Innocent Lamb of God, the categories of transgression and innocence have migrated into politics and taken up residence..."
             What Mitchell calls the "liberal politics of competence" presupposed the gift of reconciliation from above and hence undertook the fragile task of reconciliation below.
But this tradition of liberal politics is presently being left behind. With a categorical indictment of even liberal politics as nothing but a mask for the transgression of innocents, in today's identity politics we devolve into endless and insatiable scapegoating in a crypto-Christian quest for purification.
            So Prof. Mitchell continues, "With only a little imagination, we can anticipate what the last indictment will be: the indictment of man himself, for which the resolution will be either the embrace of transhumanism or the eradication of man altogether. Identity politics is Christianity [reduced to politics; it is an American Great Awakening without God, and without forgiveness."
            It would be an error, however, to think that the lecture dismisses good works, habituation in virtue, or work for greater justice in society on the basis of sober historical understanding of the social history of bloody human criminality. Mitchell's problematic runs far deeper than such a superficial objection imagines.
            He is fighting a scholarly battle against the dominant paradigms in political philosophy/science that have interpreted the great thinkers of the modern West: Kant, Hegel and Marx on the continent, Hobbes and Locke in Britain, as mere secularists rather than heirs of Augustine's and Luther's fundamental distinction in politics between the heavenly city of God and the earthly city. In the process he is warning against a politics that does not envision reconciliation but rather purity as its goad and goal.
 
Theology on Tap
"Well-needed open discourse"

              "Give Theology on Tap a Try" was the headline for a story in a recent issue of the
Brackety-Ack, Roanoke College student newspaper. In the article, Emma Grosskopf, editor-in-chief, told of her experience with the weekly Theology on Tap (ToT) gathering of students to talk about theological subjects with College Chaplain Chris Bowen.
            As a Catholic and a sophomore, she recalled, she went to ToT "for a little while but I just couldn't take the people that went." These people "LIVED for hearing themselves spout platitudes...(or) faked their own depth." So she stopped participating.
            However, a friend recently invited Grosskopf, now a senior and she went back to ToT. "I realized how much I have changed." When someone answered the chaplain's questions, she listened and then she "discussed them candidly...Over the plate of garlic knots and marinara sauce, I found that I was having a good time."
            She called the ToT session "a well-needed dose of community and open discourse and I realized that was what I was missing sophomore year. I realized that I needed to grow up a little in order to get the most out of Theology on Tap."
            Grosskopf gave this advice to her fellow students:
            "If you're looking to spend an hour with a diverse group of people from all areas of campus discussing questions about ethics, morality and yes, theology, I highly recommend giving it a go. Get out of your comfort zone and listen to the opinions of your peers. It can reveal so much about your own opinions, values and it might help you grow, like it did for me."                        
 
VLH sells Luther Manor
Luther Manor, Virginia Beach

            Virginia Lutheran Homes has sold Luther Manor, a HUD apartment building at Virginia Beach, to House of David Preservation Society, a non-profit organization operating 49 HUD facilities, including eight in Virginia.
            Luther Manor, a 123-unit building for elderly residents, opened in 1982, financed by a Housing and Urban Development loan.
            The apartments were sold to House of David because its large size enables it to make needed upgrades through grants, tax credits and government financing, said Nicole Bruch, corporate marketing coordinator for VLH. House of David plans $1 million in improvements, including a new commercial generator and apartment upgrades. All staff personnel continue as employees of Luther Manor Apartments LLC. No residents were displaced and monthly rates are unchanged, according to HUD regulations.
            This action was in the best interests for residents and staff of Luther Manor, VLH said.    
            VLH continues to operate 40 apartment units at Luther Crest at New Market, opened in 1988, as well as Brandon Oaks, a retirement center for more than 500 residents, and a nursing and rehabilitation center at Roanoke.
 
First Lutheran,  Portsmouth 
celebrates their final service 

            In late 2018, the decision was made to celebrate and conclude the ministry of First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Portsmouth. The Rev. John Wertz, Jr., assistant to the bishop, led a celebration service in January.
            The Virginia Synod is now working with the ELCA to explore the possibility of launching a new ministry from the King Street location that will honor the history of community ministry at First Lutheran Church.
80-year-old home of former First Lutheran, Portsmouth
           In January 1908, the Rev. J.W. Shuey came to Portsmouth, to serve as a mission developer. First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Portsmouth was organized with 38 charter members who began worshiping in the Pythian Castle on the corner of Court and County streets. In 1939, the congregation moved into their new building on King Street which served as the home to First Lutheran until its final service earlier this year.
          Through the years, the congregation provided a witness to God's love by holding Lutheran services aboard ships and in Army camps during World War I. In the 1960's and 1970's, the congregation integrated and with support from the LCA Division of Mission, First Lutheran launched a community youth program.
            With the conclusion of the war in Vietnam, the congregation joined with other Lutheran congregations in the area to help resettle a refugee family. In the 1980's, the congregation expanded it's ministry with the youth in the community and added ministries to serve the needs of those living in the area.
           In the 1990's, downtown Portsmouth experienced decline and the congregation experienced challenging times as well. Into the 2000's the congregation remained faithful to its mission to share God's love in Portsmouth. The Women of the Church undertook projects to better the lives of others which included creating 242 dresses for a Virginia Synodical Women's Organization project in 2014.
 
460 will graduate from Roanoke College

               Some 460 Roanoke College seniors will receive their degrees at commencement this weekend. Valedictorians and President Mike Maxey will be the speakers on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m,, in the college Quadrangle. College Chaplain Chris Bowen will speak at a baccalaureate service Friday at 4:30 in the Cregger Center.
            Morris Cregger Jr., chairman of the college board, and his wife, Sheila Cregger, will receive the honorary doctor of commerce degree at commencement.
            The college choir will give its final performance of the season at Salem Baptist Church, Friday at 8 p.m.
 
Grace, Winchester distributes
funds from Cornelia Revel Estate

            Grace, Winchester, has made broad distribution of a generous bequest from the estate of Cornelia Revell, who died in 1992. After considerable distribution in the last 10 years, the current value of the bequest is $7.2 million, according to Tidings, the congregation newsletter.   This includes funding from some other bequests.  Some of the many uses of the funds in the estate, priced at $4.9 million, were: sound system, wall repair, debt payment, $844,000; steeple, roof and heating system repair; stained glass window repairs, steeple replacement, pre-school renovation, security system and sound system. The estate also provided support for three family members.
 
Laura Lu Copenhaver, Lutheran leader, 
writer  to be honored with a Richmond statue

Laura Lu Copenhaver
            Laura Lu Scherer Copenhaver, a writer, Lutheran women's leader, agricultural pioneer and member of the prominent Scherer family, will be honored with a statue on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond. Copenhaver, who lived and worked in Marion from 1872 until 1940, is one of 12 women to be remembered with a $200,000 bronze statue.
            A daughter of Dr. J. J. Scherer, founder of Marion College in 1872, she was a sister of Dr. J. J. Scherer Jr., longtime president of the Virginia Synod. After teaching English at Marion College for more than 20 years, her work as chair of the Literature Committee of the Women's Missionary Society of the former United Lutheran Church in America helped start Konnarock Training School, a Lutheran school, in 1925. She wrote fiction, poetry and more than a dozen pageants for the ULCA, as well as articles for the Atlantic and Scribner's.
            Copenhaver became information director for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation and bought wool from farmers to make coverlets and other textile products for Rosemont Industries, a family business which continued in Marion until recent years. After her death in 1940, her sister, May Scherer, longtime dean of Marion College, led the firm. Designs for the coverlets came from traditional patterns, paintings and antique rugs. The textiles were advertised nationally and sold internationally.
            She married Bascom Eugene Copenhaver, who became superintendent of Smyth County schools. They had four daughters and a son. She was a close friend of the writer, Sherwood Anderson, who married her oldest daughter, Eleanor.
            The Virginia Women's Monument, Voices from the Garden, is to be completed this year. The Library of Virginia recognized Copenhaver as one of "Virginia's Women in History" in 2007.
 
A Roanoke College ring missing for 63 years

            Bishop Emeritus Ted Schneider of the Washington Metro Synod waited 63 years for a Roanoke College ring. As reported at a college alumni event on April 5, his wife, Doris Schneider, recently gave him the ring he couldn't afford when they both graduated from Roanoke in 1956.
            Schneider, who grew up in First Lutheran, Portsmouth (now closed), is a member of the college's trustee board. In retirement, the Schneiders live in Silver Spring, MD.
 
Lutheran-Episcopal Retreat set for June 24-26

           Dr. Timothy Wengert of United Lutheran Seminary and Dr. Alyson Barbnett-Cowan of the Anglican Church of Canada will speak at From Crib to Cross, Lutheran Episcopal Retreat at Shrine Mont Retreat Center, Orkney Springs, on June 24-26. This is the third retreat sponsored by the Virginia Lutheran-Episcopal Joint Committee. The deadline for registration online is May 15.
 
Ecumenical Easter Vigil on the York River

            Members of Reformation, Newport News, joined Episcopalians from the Diocese of Southern Virginia for an Easter Vigil including baptisms in the York River, scripture readings acted out, preaching and the Holy Eucharist. Members of Apostles, Gloucester, joined. The space was offered by the Waermen's Museum of Yorktown. Grace Episcopal at Yorktown, Abingdon Episcopal at White Marsh, St. George's Episcopal and St. Paul's Episcopal at Newport News, Kingston Parish in Matthews and St. John's Episcopal, West Point, participated.
 
Evangelism in the muck
     by Pastor Derek Boggs, Salem, Mt. Sidney
Saving church hats from hurricane cleanup at Danville

           Recently, Salem Lutheran in Mount Sidney and Grace Lutheran in Waynesboro joined together for two trips to Danville to help with clean-up from Hurricane Michael. One trip took place in December 2018 and another in March 2019.
            Our crew included men and women of various ages and skill levels. Most of our time was spent mucking out homes that were flooded during the storm. This mucking involved moving out personal items that were damaged due to mold and removing walls and flooring down to the studs. It was messy work. Maybe the hardest part was patiently helping the homeowners sort through all of their stuff and helping them decide what can stay and what needs to be thrown away. It's difficult because so many memories are tied to those belongings and there is a real sense of loss with every item that is piled up at the curb.
            Overall, we were called to Danville not just for messy work, but to walk with our sisters and brothers on this road to healing and recovery. We took time to listen to their stories, to cry with them, laugh with them, and end each day with a holy hug and prayer. Our days in Danville were evangelism days. We were with them in the moment, we participated in a type of resurrection, and we did it all in the name of Christ.
            One day, as we were helping a homeowner sort through a large pile of her belongings, we came across a stack of moldy boxes neatly stacked up in a corner. I opened one of the boxes and inside was a hat. But this wasn't just any hat; this was one of those fancy church hats adorned with flowers and ribbons. I picked it up, placed it on my head, looked at the homeowner, and said, "This is so cool, how's it look on me?" She laughed and replied, "Oh, that is so you!"
            She was obviously very concerned about saving her church hats, because they were more than just hats, they represented every Sunday she prayed, sang, worshiped, and lived out her life of faith. Those hats were symbols of her journey with God. With a little tear in her eye, she looked at me and asked, "Can we save them or do they need to go to the curb?"
            We went through all of the boxes and decided that none of the hats were moldy and all of them could be saved. In that moment, saving those symbols of faithfulness turned around a very difficult day. When our time with her came to a close, we gathered for a picture and we all wore one of her church hats. We laughed, we celebrated, and we remembered that even in the muck - maybe especially in the muck, God is always present.  
 
"Children" is Power theme, July 11-13

            "Children of Same Heavenly Father" will be the theme for Power in the Spirit at Roanoke College on July 11-13. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Dawn Rundiman, nationally known teacher, professor, author and resource speaker on children's development.
Rundiman
            Dr, Rolf Jacobson, professor of Old Testament and chair of the Scripture, Theology and Ministry at Luther Seminary, will lead Bible study in his third participation at Power in the Spirit. George Donovan, music director at Bethel, Winchester, will return to lead music for the event.
  
Jacobson
         
Participants will have a choice of two service projects. Retired Pastor Paul Henrickson will lead a Habitat construction project and welcoming cards for incoming refugees and immigrants will be prepared in a Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services project.
            Activities for children, aged 3 to 10 will be led by Renee Durieux of Epiphany Richmond. A Little Free Library will have space to share books on matters of faith, under the motto, "Take a Book---Share a Book." Any remaining books will be donated to Salem Public Library for a book sale.
  
Donovan
         
Rundiman, who holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Oregon, developed faith formation resources for Sparkhouse and Augsburg Fortress and published her most recent book, "Little Steps, Big Faith." Jacobson, a frequent teacher and preacher, is known for his humor and biblical interpretation. Donovan has returned to Bethel where he served from 2011 to 2015 until he was called to a South Carolina church.

 

THE VIRGINIA LUTHERAN

A MONTHLY NEWS PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA SYNOD, ELCA

 

Editor:  George Kegley   
Voice: 540-366-4607;  Email: georgekegley@verizon.net
Post:  301 Tinker Creek Lane, NE, Roanoke, VA  24019


Deadline for submission of articles is the 15th of each month.
Articles received after the 15th will be published the following month. 

 Photographs must be separate from text and in .jpg or .png format only.

 

Any portion of this publication may be reprinted

for use in local church publications with appropriate credit.
 

THE VIRGINIA LUTHERAN

A MONTHLY NEWS PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA SYNOD, ELCA

 

Editor:  George Kegley   
Voice: 540-366-4607;  Email: georgekegley@verizon.net
Post:  301 Tinker Creek Lane, NE, Roanoke, VA  24019


Deadline for submission of articles is the 15th of each month.
Articles received after the 15th will be published the following month. 

 Photographs must be separate from text and in .jpg or .png format only.

 

Any portion of this publication may be reprinted

for use in local church publications with appropriate credit.