Salem Lutheran Church’s building in southwest Houston was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Lacking funds and facing a decline in the number of members, the congregation decided to disband.

But the saga led to good deeds as members chose to use funds from the sale of the land — where a drugstore stands now — to make donations to non-profit organizations in the area.

At the Willow Waterhole MusicFest on Oct. 28 2023, church representatives presented a $100,000 check to the Levitt Foundation toward the construction and operation of an arts and entertainment pavilion to be built in 2025 at the sprawling greenspace after fundraising is completed in 2024.

Church members had already participated in month-long volunteer projects at the Waterhole, said Carol Kehlenbrink of the church council,
“and with our strong connections to music, we thought the Willow Waterhole Levitt Pavilion is something that needed to be supported.”

The Brays Oaks Management District, Willow Waterhole Conservancy and Levitt Foundation are partners in advancing improvements to the greenspace.

In photo: Howard Sacks of Levitt Pavilion Houston joyfully accepts a $100,000 donation from church leaders Carol Kehlenbrink, center, and Jenny Skjonsby.

Pavilion rendering