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Van totaled by vandals
Vandals recently tore up a van used by Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple Church to pick up food from Second Harvest for its food bank ministry. They also went inside the church, which was hit by lightning, and spray painted profanities on the walls inside. “We want to reach out not to punish them,” the Rev. Lucille Smiley-Bomar said. “But to help them.”

Last June a lightning strike sent the Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple Church up in flames. 

Earlier this month tragedy struck again when Rev. Lucile Smiley-Bomar called the Hinesville Police Department, April 4, to report that the church’s van had been destroyed.

“They crushed all the windows out flattened the tires and tore it up,” Smiley-Bomar said. “The van was still working. It had a few minor problems but still working and somebody demolished it. We used the van to go on trips to other churches and used it to pick up the food from Second Harvest for our food bank ministry every week.”

Smiley-Bomar said the perpetrators also went inside the shell of the remaining structure and spray-painted profanities on the wall. She said they tried to break into the church’s storage shed but were unsuccessful.

“That really hurt,” she said of the words painted on the walls.

Hinesville Police Department Detective Tracey Howard said the investigation is ongoing.

“We are trying to determine if this church was targeted specifically,” he said. “If it is a hate crime. Or if it’s a crime where some young folks may have, for a lack of a better thing to do, vandalized the van and wrote graffiti that is less than appropriate.”

Howard said church parishioners were onsite April 3. He said the next day a woman who was out taking a brief stroll around the area noticed the damage and notified police and Smiley-Bomar.

Howard said it appears that the perpetrators used a large object, something like a concrete block, to damage the van.

“Personally, this bothers me,” Howard said adding that the folks who support the church are still trying to overcome the loss of the building last year.

Smiley-Bomar said they’ve managed to keep the church going.

“We are still able to function and offer services,” she said. “Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple and Trinity temple College are still operating at two different locations. The pastors have let us use their facilities to operate.”

But the Reverend admits the damage to their van is another financial burden during already difficult days.

“We are just taking it one day at a time,” she said. “Rebuilding the church is a tremendous cost. What we paid 30 years ago to build is no comparison to what it costs for us to build it today.”

She added that since the van was not being used as often as it was when their church was fully functional, they only had Liability insurance coverage on the vehicle. She said they’ll start looking for another van.

“And we will be blessed with another one,” she said. “Yes, my faith has been tested.  But you still have to cry Jesus. You still have to trust Him and still have to look for the good.”

She questioned why someone would damage and defame church property. She wants those responsible to evaluate their decisions.

“If they get away with this and apparently, they will because nobody saw anything, then this will progress into other things,” she said. “And if we can stop them now and talk to them minister to them and get them to see where they are wrong in destroying other people’s stuff it will help keep them out of prison.”

church van destroyed

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