Church ministry seeking return of work trailer, tools

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2008

Two weeks ago, workers from Church Building Ministries, Inc.,found their trailer missing from the place it was routinely parkedacross the highway from 84 Chevron, along with about $5,000 worthof tools.

CBMI is a private, non-profit charitable 501 C3 corporation thathelps churches with limited funding construct their facilities.

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years and we not only do it aroundhere, but all over the country,” Brewer said, adding that his grouphas been as far away as Scotland. “We don’t charge for ourservices. We’re just here to help.”

And that’s what makes the loss of the 16-foot tandem axlecovered trailer loaded with tools such a hard hit for theorganization. While they are there to help others, they also relyon the help of others to keep their organization up and going.

Brewer said he estimates the trailer was worth about $4,000,bringing the total loss to about $9,000 altogether.

“We had made a mistake by not having our name on the side,”Brewer said. “I think if we had it would not have been stolen, butit’s too late now. And I guess some people would even steal it witha name on it.”

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department officials said they areinvestigating the trailer theft. Authorities said they have noleads in the case.

CBMI member Bill Games agreed that if the thieves knew who thetrailer belonged to, they might not have stolen it.

“It’s like stealing from the Lord,” he said. “We’re not fundedby any organization, and we’re not affiliated with anydenomination. We have people that are donating to us and that’swhat keeps us going.”

Games pointed out that with gas prices going the way they are itmakes a ministry like CBMI even harder to fund. To be losing largeassets can be quite a blow to the everyday workings of theorganization.

“You know with fuel prices now, it’s way up in the hundreds ofdollars going even short distances by bus,” he said. “We generallydo a trip a month, and at the moment the group is up in Newcastle,Va. This is their third trip up there working on a new church.”

Brewer said while the actual trailer would not have gone on themission trip that is currently under way, many of the tools had tobe replaced before the group could leave.

“It may be like once every two or three months that we use thetrailer, but we always used the tools,” he said. “We needed them onthis trip and we had to buy some new ones.”

And while CBMI members are understandably upset about the lossof the trailer and tools, Brewer said he feels like its theft wasan isolated occurrence.

“I just think it’s a random thing. That trailer’s been parkeddown there when we were not using it since 2002, and we’ve had noproblem with vandalism or theft where it was parked,” he said.

CBMI was founded in 1994 when Brewer was on a trip with FirstBaptist Church and felt that God was showing him a vision ofputting together a private enterprise that ministered to churchesthat couldn’t fully fund building new facilities.

“That’s what gave me the vision to do something like this, so westarted working on it and got something put together,” he said. “Weput the organization together and as I say, we’re volunteers. We’rekept afloat by people that contribute to us and help supply ourneeds.”

Even an accident that left him mostly paralyzed from the neckdown while he was helping Katrina victims on the coast has notdeterred Brewer from his ministry to ministries.

“He continues to be the leader of the group, the guy that’sactually leading us down the road. He’s got all the stuff in hishead,” said Games.

And, Games added, it is a shame that anyone would steal not onlyfrom such a good man, but such a good organization.

“It just makes you wish you could let people know how terribletheir jokes are,” he said.