Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January and February 12, 2017 Meetings

Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,

         We had a small gathering on January 8, but we set to work on polishing a couple of places in  the Charter of our organization (that had been approved May 2016).  I hope all members approve of the changes.

Please email me with any dissensions or comments. All suggestions will be considered but not all can be incorporated into the text (as was the case last Spring). 

We will vote to approve the slightly modified Charter at our March (not February)  2017 regular meeting.

The full text is attached.

Main changes to the Charter are in Point II and Postscript

Point II now says:

II.  In the Unitarian tradition we have no requirements of doctrine or creed. We welcome all English speakers who seek intellectually stimulating presentations (by a broad range of speakers) and interactive discussions on topics about religion, culture, social justice and world peace.                 We are a small group who share a common search for meaning or truth through the free and friendly examination of spiritual, moral and existential aspects of religion, philosophy and cultural traditions. We are all on individual paths of inquiry and commitment to others (and society), no matter what our starting points.

 We respect each person who comes to Fellowship and extend hospitality and friendship to all.

 However we will not tolerate threats of violence, sexual harassment, or malicious gossip. (The moderator and core members shall meet and take speedy action in such cases.)


And we added to our postscript at the end of the main points of our Charter.

The modified postscript now reads: 


We respect David Rankin’s (Unitarian/Universalist Association of North America) list of “What do Unitarian Universalists Believe In?”

Freedom of religious expression and individual conscience.

Toleration of religious ideas.

Authority of reason and personal conscience above any institutions.

An ongoing search for truth.

Unity of experience [that sees no inherent conflict between secular and sacred].

Worth and dignity of each and every human being.

Ethical application of religion/faith in social involvement.

Motive force of love [and of finding non-violent solutions].

Necessity of the democratic process and transparent governance.

Importance of [religious] community.

To which we add our obligation to preserve and support the interdependent web of existence of all living beings on the planet.

 And we look to the UU Covenant of Congregations that posits that Unitarians draw from many sources;: direct experience, words and deeds of prophetic women and men working for social justice and peace, wisdom from the world’s religions (including Jewish and Christian teachings and other traditions including Buddhism), and the Humanist teaching to heed science and reason. 


On January 8 we looked at our Charter  partially because our topic for discussion was "Unitarians and Prayer" and we talked a bit about "Who do we (Unitarians/personally) pray to?" especially the non-theists or humanists amongst us. 

We decided to talk more about the topic at a later meeting and recommend two essays in the Church of the Larger Fellowship newsletter.


Sunday, February 12

3:00 to 5:00

International House of Japan (see their website or call them for directions in English). 

Near Roppongi and Azabu Juban subway stations.

Update:  We are currently confirming our speaker for February. 

Peggy Kanada, moderator

Dec. 2016 Music meeting

Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo
December 11、2016
Sunday 3:00-5:00
International House...

Holiday songs and opera(with Emiliano Blasi) along with Readings in the Christmas/Holiday Spirit

Emiliano Blasi, an Italian singer who teaches Italian and music at a school near Yotsuya and has an interest in Buddhism, sang for us Christmas songs and a little opera, while we had a discussion of Mozart and other things in English, Japanese and Italian. 

We wish Emiliano the best in his career in Tokyo and look forward to hearing from him again.   


Monday, January 16, 2017

News on Fukushima (from Nov 2016)

Dear friends and members of the Unitarian Fellowship of Tokyo,

    You may know that your moderator  made a trip with a group from International Association of Liberal Religious Women (founded by Unitarians in 1910 and now the oldest inter religious women's group working for peace) to Fukushima on Oct 23 and 24.

 We met with several people and groups including A3 (the supportNPO for mothers in "safe" Koreyama 40 kilo from Nuclear Power Plant #1) and Pastor Kawakami Naoya (United Church and Touhoku Help NPO).

The Japanese press,officials,TEPCO   and cowered Fukushima Medical Association are not reporting the true radiation effects and problems and the delayed cleanup situation.

Pastor Kawakami based in Sendai continues to work with local people suffering from the effects of the earthquake,tsunami and especially radiation now more than 6.7 years ago. 

He sent me this recent article --translated into English--that appeared in the Spanish paper El Mundo in March 2016.

See you on November 13 (International House 3:00) for our speaker Paul McCartin on GMO's and genetic engineering.

Peggy Kanada

Saturday, October 29, 2016

November 13 "GMO and Patents on Life" (Sept/Oct Reviews)

November 13, 2016


International House

Speaker: Paul McCartin "Genetic Engineering and Patents on Life"

Father Paul serves now as the coordinator for Justice, Peace, and Ecology for the Catholic Society of St. Columban in Japan. Born and raised in Australia he was ordained in 1978 and came as a missionary in 1979.

These are an important topics to understand more fully and possibly to take action for our planet's future. 

Please invite a friend to come.

Your moderator


We plan a music centered meeting for December 11th that will include our Italian friend (classically trained in Opera as well as popular singing) Emiliano Blasi. 

Our September meeting with Nahid Nikzad drew a large audience. 

I think we all learned a lot starting with basic information such as that her area in the  north of Iran not only has the Caspian Sea but has green rice paddies, mountains and the Fujisan of Iran--Mt. Damavand which you see on the screen behind some of us in the photo i attach here). 

We learned much about women (and the present legal system which is indeed repressive since the Revolution which had started with such high hopes for democracy and  rights  in 1979). We also gained insights into the high standards of education still for Iranian women and how many actually lead their lives in the private as well as public spheres in recent years. A brief discussion about activists and even American counter-productive policies. We ended with a love song (in a positive take on the richness and optimism of Persian culture and people). 

Please look for Nahid`s upcoming performances of Persian music.

Contact her for  details including  sept 16, 7pm cafe near Sasazuka station.

 (3) At our  Sunday, October 9 meeting:
Our speaker:
Michael Berman (PhD candidate in the Dept. of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego and a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo).
He spoke about empathetic listening: "Training interfaith chaplains and volunteers for continuing work and service by religious groups in (still hurting) Tohoku."
It was an interesting discussion about practical aspects (and theoretical basis) for "Compassion." 
Michael spoke on empathetic listening--"Sharing Suffering--training for interfaith volunteers and chaplains in contemporary Japan.   He gave us a brilliant discussion of a group of religious volunteers who organized support for Tohoku victims, who shared training but also faced a difficult problem.  Most of the volunteers were Buddhist priests, who have day jobs to keep their temples going.  However, because of concerns of separation of church and state, the group was not allowed into many care facilities if they wore their religious costumes or framed their counseling in religious language.  They had to agree to approach the counseling as "ordinary people."   And the majority of them found that the strain of trying to counsel and console outside of their traditional roles was very wearing, and many needed help themselves within two years.

As always, we had a lively discussion about the implications of this.   Thank you Michael.

Blog site apologies.   Because of illness and some other confusions, this blog did not give advance of the last two speakers, both of who were excellent.   Gomen nasai.   I recorded both, and if I can deal with some technical issues may be able to get the recordings up on a private youtube site for members who missed it.   I especially would like to get up the recording of our singing Persian music taught and led by Nahid in September. 

Chuck, gofer at large 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

June 12 Meeting - Prof.Ken Tanaka on Religious Tolerance

Dear members and friends of the Fellowship,

Ø  Don't forget our JUNE 12th meeting with Prof. Ken Tanaka (3:00 International House) "Religious Tolerance." 


Ø  And JULY 10th>> All are invited to an informal party (NO regular meeting at International House) 
ANDONY'S (Lebanese gourmet fast food) in Ochanomizu
Start around 4:30

(We have a large table upstairs--note there is no elevator)

Basic Dinner course: 1,500yen
Shared plates of hors d'oeuvres (homos, mutabal, potatoes, salad, bread)

Soup OR Soft drink

One hot wrap sandwich (choice different meats including lamb, beef, chicken) or vegetarian falafel; all come with veggies and spicy or white sauce
Extras like more soup or soft drinks (+250yen/ or order off menu)

Beer or Wine glass @ 600yen (slightly less if we share a bottle of wine)

 Please let the moderator know by email if possible that you will come (so that we can reserve tables)
by Saturday July 9th. 


Andony's is 5 mins from west exit (Koban exit) of Ochanomizu JR station down towards the new Nihon Daigaku  hospital on Meiji Dai dori.
Also Chiyoda/Marunouchi subway lines come into Ochanomizu.
Andony's is also up the hill from Jimbocho (Hanzomon/Mita/Shinjuku line subway station).

Address is >>Chiyoda-ku
Kanda Surugadai 1-8-5

 Peggy Kanada, moderator 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Correction for March 8 meeting

A correction regarding Bonnie's talk.  otherwise the previous post is the same.
Bonnie McClure will do opening remarks about the Chinese poet Wang Wei.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Small topic meeting for March 8th, 2016 - All welcome

Dear friends and members of the Fellowship,


May 8th meeting is a chance for everyone to bring a topic to share.

3:00 to 5:00

International House of Japan (near Azabu-Juban and Roppongi stations)

See their website for directions.

Followed by light dinner (I House cafe) for those who care to stay.


Bonnie McClure will do opening remarks focusing on a spirituality theme in classical Japanese poetry (renga)--in English translation. 

Tentatively Robert Thorton will make a brief presentation on interesting Linguistic research.

A couple of other themes have been mentioned.


Send me your topic and we will put you on the agenda.


Finally your moderator wants to talk briefly about our fellowship now and in the future.

She plans to bring in a tentative charter for our fellowship (which we have never had) , discuss a website update, and listen to your concerns.

 And she will bring in materials about the International Council Of Unitarian Universalists and how joining it might benefit our group and expand our links with other likeminded people through out the world (but especially in Asia). 


Peggy Kanada, moderator  


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