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Newport UCC member compiles newsletter report on OCWM

Seeking a way to let people in Newport United Church of Christ know what Our Churches’ Wider Mission does, Jerry Hargitt began compiling a page for the monthly church newsletter, “The Chimes,” on what the United Church of Christ and Church World Service do around the world.

Open Door Congregational UCC in Deer Park reprints his column for their newsletter. 

Jerry Hargitt
Jerry Hargitt

In 1998 when he began providing the information, he learned that he could call the national office of the United Church of Christ and listen to a recorded message.

“I jotted notes on the message and transcribed them into a one page report,” Hargitt said.  “Sometimes I had to listen to it two to three times.”

Then his son-in-law gave him a recorder, so he could record the message and play it back to transcribe it.

After Hargitt bought a computer, he received a weekly email report and picked out items from two to three pages to summarize on a page.

He particularly looks for what Church World Service is doing in foreign countries and for disaster relief abroad and in the United States.

“I usually made the report four paragraphs, one on each of four places in the world,” he said.

Starting with the December newsletter, he is changing the format to include reports on five or six subjects, including two to three lines for each.

“I try to include a variety,” Hargitt said, “reporting on what the problem is and on what Church World Service is doing to alleviate the problem.” 

He recently reported on thousands of blankets and tons of food sent.

“The goal is to keep OCWM in front of people so they know where their contributions go,” he said. 

While he has no way of knowing how much income his column has drawn to the cause, he has noticed that there’s more awareness.

One woman told him her husband always tries to find the countries he reports on.

His motive is simply to have people aware of where their donations are going.

“Our church does a good job of supporting OCWM, OGHS and special offerings,” Hargitt said, “and I have learned much about Church World Service.”

Hargitt is impressed that gifts through the UCC and Church World Service provide long-term, ongoing aid following disasters. 

While Red Cross and others come in providing quick response to an initial disaster situation, Church World Service partners are local, so they are present in the communities and regions after response to an initial crisis has subsided.

Since the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004, he said, CWS is still there helping restore homes, lives and livelihoods.

In Kenya, development work is about providing clean water through digging wells and building catchment systems.

Hargitt has never gone abroad himself.  Some people in his church have gone to Kenya to work with water projects there through the Newport Rotary.

The Hargitts moved to Newport in 1994 after he retired.  He and his wife had lived in Bellevue, where they attended a United Methodist Church.

His wife, Dee, grew up in Spokane and her lifelong friend, Barbara Vandevanter, was living in Newport.  They had visited her at Diamond Lake, near Newport, and eventually asked her friend to look for a cabin there where they could retire.  They found one a quarter mile from her friend.

The first few years, the Hargitts just went to their cabin on weekends.  Then they moved there. 

Learning the United Methodist church in Newport has burned down 40 years ago and members attended the United Church of Christ, the Hargitts joined the UCC church.  He often has been a delegate to Annual Meeting.

For information, call 509-447-5189 or email

Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference News © December 2011





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