Pastor Deborah Tyler talks about the theft of her trailer from the parking lot of Congress Church off East Jackson in Medford. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Pastor Deborah Tyler’s trailer with all her belongings was stolen from the Medford Congregational Church parking lot off East Jackson Street the day after she moved to town. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
When she arrived in town Thursday night, Deborah Tyler, the new interim pastor at Medford United Congregational Church of Christ, had been on the road from Kewaskum, Wis., for four long days.
Reporting for an 18-month commitment to her new home church, Tyler was excited to meet the congregation and get to work in early September. With no RV spots available until Monday, he parked his 2016 Gulf Stream Conquest travel trailer at the church on East Jackson Street.
On Friday, he spent the day with family at Lake of the Woods and got to know his new community. On Saturday, shortly after 9:45 p.m., she received a less-than-ideal “Welcome to Medford” when her travel trailer was stolen from the church parking lot with most of her worldly belongings still in it. interior
“We parked the trailer at the church thinking it would be safer than the hotel, and because I couldn’t get into a car park until Monday. It was there Saturday night, but by the time people came to church on Sunday, it was gone,” Tyler said Tuesday.
“Three members of my congregation in Wisconsin chose to take a week off to bring me here and tow the trailer and go with me so I wouldn’t be alone, and to get me and the trailer safely.”
Tyler said she was devastated to lose almost everything she owned, especially a “field communion kit” handed down to her from her father’s days as an Army chaplain.
“Almost all of my belongings were in there, including my clothes, sentimental items, dishes, bedding … everything I had was in the trailer,” she said, noting that she bought the trailer last year with the intention to travel between interim positions as a pastor. , serving wherever they need it.
“I bought the trailer not specifically to move here, but to continue in the ministry and be more mobile. My family is out here, so I had in mind to be closer to them and travel between ministries as they told me Tyler said.
Examining the “crime scene” Tuesday, Tyler said the rock used to hold a rear tire was still sitting against the curb in a parking lot. Church member Jill Wolcott said members of the congregation were dismayed to learn their new pastor had been robbed just days later. arriving
“It’s really amazing. It was locked up, but it was still mobile, so I guess somebody just snuck in and took it. Now it’s starting over with nothing,” Wolcott said.
“What a horrible way to say, ‘Welcome to Medford.’ We’re such a sweet congregation and we’re so excited to have her, and she’s devastated. She just arrived and this is already happening.”
Wolcott said church members were hoping neighbors saw something or had cameras that might have caught whoever took the trailer.
Tyler said she was most saddened by the loss of personal items such as her father’s and her children’s items. Insurance will probably help with some of the cost of the trailer.
“The shoes my daughter bought me. The coat my son helped me with. These are things that make me sad. Yes, things are just things, it’s true. And I’m fine,” Tyler said.
“I guess one thing is that at least the cats weren’t inside, thank God. Still, it’s annoying. It’s a loss.”
Church member Pegi Ellerman said she leaned on her faith to try to practice forgiveness for the thief or thieves.
“Every Sunday that I have been in this church, they start the service by saying: ‘Wherever you are on the road of life, you are welcome here.’ And I’ve been thinking since Sunday morning, ‘Okay, do I really mean that?’ And yes, I have been praying that the person who did this will develop a conscience and realize what a terrible thing they have done to someone. To realize how much they’ve violated someone’s personal effects,” Ellerman said.
Tyler appreciated Ellerman’s lenient approach.
“What I want to focus on is that I’m not a victim here. This here, and we, are the church. And someone who was in desperate need of anything (housing or drug money), someone suffering from “He somehow took what was mine,” Tyler said.
“But the thing to do is to pray for that person and say that our hearts go out to that person, and we hope that there is a better way for that person.”
She added: “Of course I miss my stuff and I feel terribly violated by it all. But at the same time, that person must have been so horribly desperate to come in the middle of the night like that and throw themselves like they did. I just hope they get some help and I hope they like my little trailer as much as I do.”
Tyler’s trailer is described as a 2016 Gulf Stream Conquest 198 BH 19′ (bed). The trailer had Wisconsin tags. Anyone with information is asked to call Medford Police at 541-774-7206. Police report number 22-14219.
Contact Mail Tribune reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.