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UMAA Kyoto Membership Meeting Summary June 28, 2018

Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association
Kyoto Membership Meeting
June 28, 2018
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Summary of Meeting


  1. Opening Remarks and Introductions

    Mike Hardy opened the proceedings and introduced Sakata Makiko-sama

  2. Welcome Greetings – Sakata Makiko-sama

    Makiko-sama talked about her thoughts on the importance of “the way” and the 3 characteristics of the practice of “the way”: 1) there is a teacher/disciple transmission of knowledge, 2) there is a skill and form that needs to be practiced and learned, and 3) the practice should contribute to the spiritual growth of the student. She noted that often people neglect the importance of spiritual growth and learning. She encouraged Midorikai to practice our tea in a manner that will fulfill Daisosho’s vision of Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea.

  3. Brief History of UMAA

    Karl Fooks read greetings from UMAA President Larry Tiscornia:

    It is with regret that I have not been able to join this first Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association intensive study and international meeting. I wanted to say a special thank you to Oiemoto sama and Daisosho sama for approving this special 3-day intensive study. I would also like to thank Makiko sama for attending today’s meeting and sharing her views. In addition I would like to thank the sensei’s for their teaching and the foreign affairs office for their help in coordinating this event. With their help the preparations for this study went very smoothly. I would also like to thank Bruce Hamana for his continuing dedication to Midorikai and the Alumni Association and all his help during the planning of this study. Christy Bartlett, Karl Fooks and Jessica Rosenberg have worked tirelessly planning and finalizing this historic 3-day study. Thank you for your continued dedication to Midorikai and the Alumni Association. Finally, I would like to thank all of you from many parts of the world for taking part in this intensive study. I hope that you will return home with a renewed dedication as you continue to share Urasenke tea with many others in your home country.

    1. Karl Fooks summarized the timeline of UMAA to date:
      • Established with support from Oiemoto, Daisosho and Mori-sensei.
      • 2000 – Yumiko Toyama Pakenham (then Yumiko Miyagi) obtained the midorikai.org domain name created 11/30/2000. She had the idea to begin forming a Midorikai Alumni Association.
      • July 2001 – During the Hawaii 50th Anniversary an alumni steering committee was formed. Yumiko agreed to transfer ownership of the midorikai.org domain name to Larry Tiscornia as caretaker on behalf of a yet to be formed alumni association. She also agreed to transfer the Midorikai database from Kyoto to Larry.
      • January 25, 2002 – Letter sent to Oiemoto and Wakasosho asking permission to use Urasenke in the name (Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association).
      • Mori Sensei responded by email that permission to use Urasenke in the name was granted by Oiemoto and Wakasosho..
      • May 22, 2002 – Kyoto sent a transcription of Mr. Yonesaku’s letter advising that Oiemoto and Wakasosho responded to our May 9 letter by giving their blessing and offering support.
      • July 18 & 19, 2010 – Midorikai 40th Anniversary Reunion and Chakai held in Hawaii in conjunction with the Hawaii Seminar. A general meeting was held with Daisosho and Alumni attendees on July 18.
      • September 23, 2014 – Received Letter of Determination from the IRS granting NPO status.
      • February 21, 2016 – First international dinner meeting of UMAA was held in Hawaii during the Hawaii 65th Anniversary celebration.
    2. Board members: Karl Fooks introduced the board members:
      • President – Larry Tiscornia (USA)
      • Vice President – Karl Fooks (USA)
      • Vice President (International) – Ulrich Haas (Germany)
      • Treasurer – Christy Bartlett (USA)
      • Secretary – Sharon Stephens (USA)
    3. Website, social media and member database
  4. Next Steps for UMAA
    1. Regional Advisors to support the Board and prepare for next generation of leadership. Christy Bartlett led a discussion of the need for regional advisors:
      1. Regions The consensus is to have the following regions: Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia/Oceania, North America, and Central/South America. Each region should have 2-3 representatives.
      2. Responsibilities The primary responsibilities for the regional representatives should be facilitating communication within regions and between the regions and UMAA leadership. Also the recruiting of members was mentioned.
    2. Recruit Members
      1. Establish duesA $25 annual dues was endorsed and a lively discussion of all the various services UMAA should be able deliver to its members: grants for events, a library of tea information, and a forum for information exchange and connection between members. Some discussion of the relationship of UMAA to Tankokai was discussed with the strong encouragement for UMAA members to members of their local Tankokai.Karl welcomed the group as the first dues-paying members of UMAA as their fees for the Intensive Study included one year’s dues. Those dues were used in their entirety by UMAA to cover the cost overage incurred during the Intensive. UMAA also drew on existing funds to cover the overage.
      2. Communication
        1. Website – need for new website. A suggestion was made to have UMAA members who are tea teachers listed on the website.
        2. Social media
        3. E-mail database. There are nearly 600 Midorikai Alumni, but the database only holds contact info for about 300. Effort has been made to collect as many Midorikai alumni email contacts as possible. Members were encouraged to have people in their networks contribute their email addresses.

  5. Next Initiative for UMAA

    1. This intensive study opportunity was a collective request from the last UMAA meeting. Karl Fooks thanked Mike Hardy and Waka Suzuki from Kokusaibu for their help. Christy Bartlett, Jessica Rosenberg and Bruce Hamana were recognized for their contributions to organizing the event.
    2. Ideas mentioned:
      • Intensive Study in the regions
      • Attend commemorative events in Kyoto
      • Host tea events around the world
      • Host an UMAA 50th Anniversary event in Kyoto, but with linked events around the world.

  6. Concluding Remarks

    1. Makiko-sama thanked the members for their participation. She said she found the frank discussion of the issues by all the members to be refreshing.
    2. The commemorative fans were distributed as well as a shaku ruler made by Kathryn Bechtold.
Categories
Alumni News News

First International Meeting of Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association

In February 2016 the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association was honored with the opportunity to host a gathering as part of the Hawaii 65th Anniversary celebrations. It was also a marvelous opportunity for an international meeting of alumni to discuss the mission of the Alumni Association.

On February 21, a dinner meeting was held with 31 alums in attendance, representing 6 countries and ranging from recent graduates to those who studied nearly 40 years ago. Many of the members were meeting for the first time; others were long-time friends. Several months prior to the meeting, UMAA reached out to the international community with an online survey for those who might be unable to travel to this event.

 

Through discussion and the survey, three major topics emerged that are of interest to the alums:

1) COMMUNICATION/COMMUNITY
·
learning about and participating in events around the world
· sharing knowledge of local resources
· creating UMAA regional advisors to act as conduits for information
· redesigning the UMAA website to facilitate connections among alums

2) EDUCATION
·
sharing Chanoyu-related knowledge and information
· hosting workshops on Chanoyu-related topics
· creating a (primarily digital) library-alums strongly supported an idea to underwrite a project for Urasenke Konnichian to digitize the 88 volumes of Chanoyu Quarterly

3) MAINTAIN RELATIONS WITH URASENKE KONNICHIAN
·
keeping in touch with Kokusaibu and thus, ultimately, with the Soke
· keeping up to date with Midorikai news
· thinking of UMAA as a resource ready to be called upon to further the Soke’s vision for Urasenke Chanoyu, and to put into practice the Urasenke Chanoyu training alums were so fortunate to receive.

At present, UMAA and its website are maintained by a volunteer committee working to establish a sustainable structure for the organization. At this meeting, a proposal was made to develop UMAA regional advisors. Regional advisors would maintain connections with alumni in their areas and would act as conduits of information. Furthermore, it is hoped that regional advisors will become leaders and officers of the Alumni Association in the future.

All members expressed a strong desire to have an opportunity to continue their study with an Intensive Study in Kyoto arranged with the Konnichian Headquarters. Their hope is to request such an opportunity in the near future. A specific proposal is being prepared to submit to the Headquarters.

The Urasenke Konnichian website, the English-language Urasenke Newsletter, and events such as the Hawaii 65th Anniversary are already realizing some of these dreams. We pledge to devote our energies to the international future of the Urasenke Tradition of Chanoyu.