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The Birthplace of Effingham County

Georgia Salzburger Society’s 2016 Heritage Trip

Greetings, This article is to tell you about the most wonderful and moving trip to the Francke Foundations celebration from March 24-26, 2017. I re p resented the GSS for this celebration. This is part of a series of events during the year celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation due to the efforts of Martin Luther and many others. It is a celebration of August Hermann Francke’s birthday. First you should know that the Francke Foundation was founded as an orphanage and educational institution based on changing the world through education. Doesn’t that sound familiar? The original Salzburger leaders Boltzius and Gronau were educated at the Francke Foundation and their salaries paid by the Foundation, so no small wonder the orphanage at Ebenezer was high on the agenda for the settlement. It is amazing how we arrived and survived. Imagine the odds, Samuel Urlsperger was in the only position to convince King George (German) of England and SPCK and August Hermann Francke to fund the new colony at Ebenezer. This was not the first rodeo for Francke as he already had successfully funded a colony in 1703 in India (another English colony) to spread Lutheranism. Due to these people’s generosity and our forefather’s determination we succeeded and thrived to drive Georgia’s economy and help begin the United States of America become successful. We were but one of many successful endeavors the Francke Foundation undertook. What an amazing place. I cannot describe what it feels like emotionally to hold a document signed by John Adam Treutlen as the first Georgia governor and a product of the Orphanage at Ebenezer. We were, are, and will continue to be an amazing group with Salzburger roots into the future. This is but one of thousands of documents the Francke Foundation has within its collection dealing with the Ebenezer colony. The celebration began with a concert on Friday night that was like a professional recital with orchestral pieces, piano/Oboe, piano/viola, choirs – boys, adult, etc., A Capello choir, etc. I had the honor of our friend Christine Koch to serve as my interpreter for these events, and try to keep the me out of trouble. Saturday morning began with visiting dignitaries to the Francke Foundation to get acquainted and then do our homework communicated during a round table international conference type discussion of future collaborations (Sunday). In my group was representation of an orphanage in England (sound familiar?), India museum and settlem e n t plus the Lutheran (ELCA) Bishop from India, doctors, Museum in St. Petersburg, etc. A luncheon, more tours, bread from the original 300 yr. old bakery. I placed flowers at the Francke Monument for “birthday commemoration” with Jürgen Schroeter of the German Salzburger Society. Then the day culminated with another very fine art orchestral concert in the great hall at the Francke Foundations, followed with an international reception. Sunday began with a Festival Service of the Francke Celebration at the Marktkirche (market church), more study of manuscripts/books, our homework delivery, followed by another concert “From Halle to London”. My request was to translate correspondence from the pastors Rabenhorst and Triebner (before Bergman) which starts before and continues through the 1776 Revolution in conjunction with the SPCK. This was during a time Ebenezer and the congregation was torn between loyalties to England and America. This will be one of the most profound translations to accomplish and offer a true peek into life at the time of the revolution. This will follow the footsteps of the completed translations of Boltzius and Bergman by the Francke Foundation. A tickler was researching all the medicines in use through the Francke Foundations by a group of Indian Lab Doctors to prefabricate one tincture containing gold from a sample in Halle. The Indians discussed much research of old remedies using organic compounds that cured old diseases to apply to today. My many thanks to all the great visitors I met, the wonderful Francke workers, friends President Jüergen Schroeter and the Bergers, Dr. Jürgen Gröschl, Christine Koch, and most appreciatively to Dr. Thomas Müller- Bahlke for the invitation. Additionally, I had a great meeting with Sabine Pröschel discussing Sister cities Halle / Savannah’s successes and plans for the Teutonic Council with Savannah. Gary Nizzi