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Pavilion in works at Ebenezer
Erika Bragg (from left), Pastor Mark Cerniglia, Sandy Mingledorff, Henry Mingledorff III, Claudia Chrstiansen, Anne Wilson, Dan Wilson III, Anne Miller, Allen Kieffer, Lena Ruth Nizzi, Diane Holder, Linda Brannen and Debra Herrin were on hand for Saturday’s groundbreaking for the Dan Wilson Pavilion. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Dan Wilson III’s desire to honor his father will soon be completely covered.

The Dan Wilson Memorial Pavilion will be erected between Jerusalem Lutheran Church and the Georgia Salzburger Society Museum near a beautiful bend in the Savannah River.

Georgia Salzburger Society (GSS) President Claudia Christiansen said the pavilion has been a long time coming.

“It’s been at least five years,” she said. “(Former GSS President) Henry (Mingledorff III) did a few scratches on a napkin and Allen (Kieffer) tried to help him get it together, and we never could.”

The situation changed when Wilson’s goal of honoring his father merged with the GGS’ need for a versatile outdoor facility. The elder Wilson was an enthusiastic member of the Atlanta GSS chapter.

“I thought we’d put a tree or something outside (Jerusalem Lutheran Church),” Wilson III said. “I had no idea. They all said no because they knew the people at Ebenezer had been talking about a pavilion that they had been mulling about for years.

“That’s how this came about.”

The Wilson family contributed the bulk of the funds for the project. Donations have also been made by their friends in the Atlanta chapter, local GSS members and the church.

After a ground-breaking ceremony Saturday, Pastor Mark Cerniglia led a prayer.

“Gracious God, we give you thanks for this beautiful and great land that has been the scene for so many happy gatherings,” Cerniglia said. “We thank you for the opportunity that you have given us to enhance it with a new structure and shelter that will provide many happy hours of gathering together.”

Allen Kieffer will lead the construction.  

“It’s going to be twenty (feet) by twenty (feet),” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing it. I think it will be fun.”

Kieffer is a builder by trade, as were his Salzburger ancestors.

“He’s doing it pro bono, for which we are very appreciative,” Wilson said.

A dedication ceremony for the pavilion is slated March 14, 2021. That is Landing Day, a celebration conducted annually since 1735 when the Salzburgers gave thanks for their move to America.

“We want to give people a reason to keep coming back,” Wilson said. “There is so much to offer here and we will continue to work hard to put it on the map.

“It can be used for so many things.”