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April 3, 2022

"The Ukrainian Crisis, Bearing the Pain"




YouTube Video

March 6, 2021

"Where We Are as a Nation and Where We're Headed"

The Invitation


YouTube Video


December 31, 2020

New Yearsʻ Eve Celebration


December 24, 2020

An Interspiritual Christmas Eve Service

December 12, 2020

Staying Well in These Uncertain Times

Invitation to Sunrise Foundation Zoom Meeting December 12, 2020

November 23, 2020

Foundation Board Annual Report

April 17, 2020

Please click to read our poems!

The Praying Mantis


Prayers and Gratitude for Our Healthcare Workers

Coping with COVID with Calm and Conviction


Being Hopeful--A Reflection


COVID Cultural Changes: Expressing Aloha While While Wearing a Mask

Complacency to Turbulence



These essays and verses are written by members of the Sunrise Foundation Board that were inspired by the unprecedented challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

August 17, 2019

Senior Fellowship Gathering at Home of David and Debbie Laeha


To view photos of the event, click here.


When we see people smiling and living in a loving manner, we gain confidence in the future.

- Thich Nhat Hanh


God fills your mouths with laugher and your lips with shouts of joy.

- Job 8:21


These two sayings set the tone for our fellowship gathering on Saturday, August 17, 2019, 6:00 pm, at the spacious and artful Maunawili home of David and Debbie Laeha. 


Clearly, cruel death, pain and despair are a big part of our world today. The evidences are mounting and numbing. They include the recent hate-driven mass killings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the recurring immigration tragedies happening in our southern borders and a frightening environmental crisis looming on earth.  The list goes on and on.   These realities cannot be ignored by us. They need our thoughtful attention and bold action.


Simultaneously, we are called to also lift our heads high, and offer to each other, including our adversaries, an outstretch hand of aloha with a heartfelt smile. Fear may then be overcome by grace, hate, diminished by love, and brokenness, by coming together.   That is what Buddhist Thick Nhat Hanh and the Bible teach.  Our gathering was thus the timely occasion to transcend the negativities of our world and enter into the joy inherent to our Sunrise Foundation fellowship.


The gathering began on a hopeful note, with the introduction of Rev. Anke Flohr and Art Lum, new members of the Sunrise Foundation Board. A wonderful connection was made when each spoke to the group, with Art also introducing his wife, April. New people, new possibilities, new hope.


Corey Wong then led us in helpful, yet simple stretching exercises and a breathing meditation.  We became centered and calm.  He was followed by an unexpected surprise. His teen-age son, Kapono, enlivened us with an amazing virtuoso performance on the ukulele. WOW!  Wide smiles beamed on all the faces present.


It was a perfect prelude to enjoying an impressive potluck supper, preceded by the singing of an inclusive and gender-free version of the Doxology and a grace offered by Rev. Sharon MacArthur from Community Church of Honolulu.  Mahalo to Yolanda Hernandez and Debbie Laeha for coordinating the potluck and overseeing the clean-up –  tasks vital to the evening’s success.


Following the meal, enhanced with soft drinks, beer and wine, the group settled into sharing their stories.  David Lahea facilitated this important segment of the evening’s program. Its purpose is to offer support to each other, and thereby, enrich our community of trust.  The stories shared  included the telling of a pilgrimage to a distant homeland, turning points in the  lives of members or their family members, coping with physical ailments,  loss of a loved one,  challenges and promises in aging and personal triumphs over setbacks.  Those who had not yet spoken, were then invited to speak. Nearly all did. Spontaneous prayers and laughter bubbled up as vapors from a flowing volcano. Inspiration and gratitude were widely felt.


Ron Yamauchi gave a heartfelt and detail announcement on Journeys to Wellness VIII, the major public event of Sunrise Foundation, that is taking place on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Arising from his announcement, several registered to attend.  Currently, registration has reached near 100!  Encouraging news.


Then came the “icing on the cake”. Woody Chock and Hari Bayani presented us with an upbeat musical journey that featured memorable songs from Hawaii and jewels from the classics!  Woody charmed us with his rich voice and Hari mesmerized us with his versatile performance on a newly acquired keyboard.  A pleasurable evening was coming to a close in a flourish. 


Sister Bitrina Kirway blessed us as we stood together with hands clasped in a Circle of Aloha. The twenty-two inter-spiritual, inter-cultural and inter-generational souls gathered then departed with joy-filled hearts and an abundance of happy memories. We have overcome, and will continue to do so, with the help from above, within, and others.

~Wally Fukunaga

April 18, 2019


Sunrise Foundation’s beloved founding President, Sr. Joan Chatfield, Ph.D., M.M. (Oct. 7, 1932-March 1, 2019) was honored at our support fellowship gathering on April 6. Twenty-four people attended. The setting could not have been more fitting – the Maryknoll Sisters’ beachfront home in Lanikai. Residents Sr. Bitrina Kirway warmly welcomed us and Sr. Yoo Soo Kim inspired us with her striking interpretive dance.  Touching testimonies of remembrances freely flowed from those gathered in a circle. This was followed by Woody Chock’s moving rendition of Ave Maria (J.S. Bach/C. Gounod).  Others who shared their musical gifts to honor Sr. Joan were Michael Yano who sang his composition, A Gathering of Minds and Souls, and Hari Bayani, who performed on the flute, Dance of the Blessed Spirits (C. W. Gluck).  A sung Mass and prayer of thanks was followed by a sumptuous potluck supper.  It was indeed a joyous celebration of the life of one who selflessly and boldly embodied the prophet Micah, who called us all to a life lived in faithful service to God.

Click here for photos of this special evening

November 03, 2018


It was a joyous and memorable event.  On Saturday, November 3, 2018, twenty-five participants and helpers of Journeys to Wellness VII gathered at the artistic Maunawili home of David & Deborah Laeha for a Mahalo Dinner and Celebration hosted by Sunrise Foundation.


Following a welcoming of the guests by David, and the sounding of the Pu by his son, Adam, inviting also the spirits, baritone Woody Chock moved us with his evocative rendition of Kanaka Wai Wai, a song about learning life’s eternal values: how to give and how to love.


The speakers and workshop leaders then introduced themselves and offered their insights on Wellness VII. Mentioned was the diversity of the 160 people present, ranging in age from 15-95, able-bodied and handicapped, and from all parts of the island!  It was observed that their response was generally positive and vibrant.


To prepare us for the meal, Wally Fukunaga spoke on the importance of gratefulness as a measure of our aliveness.  His reflective words were followed with flautist, Hari Bayani, beautifully performing Jules Massenet’s soulful, Meditation.  In silence, we lifted up the blessing for which each of us were deeply grateful.


The meal, catered by Sarah Loui Lum, bore her unmistakable trademark- healthy, creative, varied and tasty.  It included mixed greens with roast duck, broccoli spears with shrimp, vegetarian stir-fried vegetables with tofu, steamed salmon with black bean sauce, lobster fried rice, Singapore style vegetarian curry rice noodles and gin dui for dessert.  There were also  assortments of pupus and other desserts brought by the guests. Wine and beer flowed freely.


With our appetites saited and our spirits kindled, we then spent about an hour sharing our thoughts on Wellness VII and our suggestions for the future.  Most centered on how to allow the participants to attend more than two workshops. It echoed a similar concern raised in many of the feedback sheets that were turned in.  We will address this common request.


Then came the fun, fun part – the live entertainment provided by Woody Chock and Hari Bayani, on the keyboard.  They were masterful in displaying the breadth of their musical talents, and the audience loved it!  Woody warmed their hearts with Broadway hits and Hawaiian songs on his ukulele. Hari pumped them up with his dazzling skills on the keyboard and his vocal skills with a Filipino number.  Guest Chad Imano then stood up and wowed the group with his singing of Waialua Skies and his joke-telling.  We thank Chad, who works fulltime as the computer specialist for Bishop Estate, for sharing his other talents.  The memorable entertainment, that evoked much laughter and applause, capped the evening’s celebration!


Sr. Joan Chatfield offered heartfelt blessings for our return to our families and home, as we stood in a Circle of Aloha, then lifted our voices in singing, Hawaii Aloha. We departed, having been energized in body, mind, spirt and community, with plenty of hugs, left-over food and broad smiles on our faces.

Click here for photos of this fun evening.

October 13, 2018

“Fantastic.” “Uplifting.” “Rejuvenating.” “Awesome!” “Strong spiritual connection"


“A spiritual high.”  “A true community resource.“ “A wonderful, heart centered day with lots of aloha.”  This is some of the feedback that were given on Journeys to Wellness VII that took place on Oct. 13, 2018 at the Community Church of Honolulu.  The crowd of over 150 began arriving early, in handi-vans, cars, public transportation and on foot. They were warmly greeted and registered by a friendly band of ladies, guided by Sharlene Yamauchi.


The morning session began with an enthusiastic welcome by Rev. J.P. Sabbithi. Flautist, Hari Bayani, then played Bach’s “Air” as the anticipatory audience meditated in silence.  Rev.  Sabbithi then introduced the keynote speaker, Randal K. Wada, who spoke on the topic, “Resilience and Mortality: Conversations Your Doctors Wish They Could have With You”.  Dr. Wada’s message was more personal than professional; more story-telling than scientific.  It evoked smiles and tears that connected us into one ohana, in the midst of our striking diversity.  We were given renewed hope and joy.  Serving as respondents were Wendi Hirsch Major, Ph.D. and Ruey Ryburn, Ph.D., who both also awakened our hearts and minds and caused us to say, “Yes!” to life.


This year’s Puaka`ana o ka lā (“Rise Up!”) Awardees were then called forward: Amy Agbayani, introduced by Jeffrey Acido, Rev. Teruo Kawata, introduced by Janet Fujioka, and Frank DeLima, introduced by Sr. Joan Chatfield. The award recognizes those who have given longstanding service to promoting wellness of the body, mind and spirit in our community. The recipients represented three distinct areas of service- education, ministry and comedy, respectively.  DeLima sent the audience into roars of laughter by his acceptance speech! Vocalist Sherwood Chock honored the awardees with his moving rendition of “One Moment in Time”.


This was followed by the presentation of the following workshops that offered diverse paths to wellness, along with their facilitators:

1. Conversations with Dr. Wada and the Respondents;

2. Millennials’ Pursuit of Wellness in Today’s World: Jeffrey Acido, Ph.D., Kevin Faller, Grace Jean-Pierre, Gregg Yamauchi and Reiki Young;

3. Improve Everything, Including You!: Rev.Gabrielle Fackre Chavez and Thomas Chavez;

4. Meditation and Principals of the Martial Arts: Rev. Gary K. Omori;

5. Pathways to Your Peak: Christa Wittmier and Michelle Garcia;

6. Mindfulness- A Way to Enhance Awareness and Reduce Stress: Gregory Pai, Ph.D.;

7. Good Soil-Organic Farming, Holistic Health & Sustainable Communities: Mark Hamamoto.


Participants had the opportunity to attend two workshops, before and after lunch. Each of the workshops were well attended and received.  During the workshops a “wellness fair” was also held offering free massage therapy by Chad Imano. Also offered were tea ceremony, flower arrangement and Okada Purification Therapy by MOA Hawai`i.  Blessings of all sorts flowed and filled lives. As in prior Journeys to Wellness, the lunch catered by Sarah Loui Lum was a huge hit! The people loved it, with some regarding it as the highlight of the day.


The program concluded with a Summation Session moderated by David Lahea.  People shared their experiences.  An elementary school boy, when asked what he liked about the day’s event, replied, “They let me speak.” That said it all.


We then stood in a large Circle of Aloha that covered the whole of the sanctuary and symbolized our awakened unity. Norman Oshiro gifted the circle with thoughtful parting words of encouragement and empowerment.


A special mahalo goes to Community Church of Honolulu for its gracious opening of its campus, Ron Yamauchi who oversaw the physical set-up for the day-long event, Ardis Gomes for technical support, Martha Hernandez for the graphic design of the printed program, Ann Miller for editing,  Ryan Urabe for handling the sound system, Art Lum who “jumped in” to give a helping hand wherever help was needed at the event, and for many others who willingly volunteered their kokua, with smiles on their faces, strength in their bodies and compassion in their hearts.


Aloha kakou!​

~Wally Fukunaga

July 28, 2018


On Saturday, July 28, the Sunrise Foundation Board of Directors awarded

Janet Fujioka with a striking koa bowl in appreciation of her 7 years of service as its founding secretary.

The award was made at a luncheon meeting held at the

Pagoda Floating Restaurant that was attended by eleven members.

In the photo,  Janet Fujioka, with the koa bowl in hand, is flanked

by Wally Fukunaga, president and Sr. Joan Chatfield, vice-president.

Click Here for a Photo of the Mahalo Event

July 21, 2018

Professor Abdul-Karim Khan's Presentation and Discussion

On Saturday, July 21, 2018 forty persons filled the classroom at Community Church of Honolulu to hear Leeward Community College Professor Abdul-Karim Khan give a fascinating power-point presentation on "Islamic Teachings on Wellness of the Body, Mind & Spirit."  Respondents were Alice Tucker, from the Jewish community, Rev.Gabrielle Fackre Chavez, from the Christian community, and Gregory Pai, Ph.D., from the Buddhist community.

In the discussion that followed, one person expressed his gratitude in hearing for the first time such a clear and compelling description of Islam's commitment to the health and wellness of the whole person.  Another person remarked that Dr. Khan's presentation should be "made available to all the schools in our country'".

Fresh delicious  refreshments prepared by Sarah Loui Lum were served to the satisfied audience.

The event emerged from Sunrise Foundation's vision of affirming and celebrating our inter-spiritual universe.

Those in the photo are Gregory Pai, Gabrielle Fackre Chavez, Abdul-Karim Khan & Wally Fukunaga, modeator.

Islamic Teachings on Wellness of the Body, Mind and Spirit


in Partnership with Community Church of Honolulu


Islamic Teachings on Wellness of the Body, Mind and Spirit

By Abdul-Karim Khan, PhD

“When I become sick, He (Allah) heals me.”

-Quran, 26:80

Islam is a religion as well as a way of life.  The two main sources of Islam, the Quran and Hadith, have guidance for one’s private and public lives, and from toilet to temple.  While prevention is the best medicine, Islam has a cure for physical diseases as well as for mental and spiritual sickness. 

Dr. Abdul-Karim Khan, a Professor of History at the University of Hawaii’s Leeward Community College.  His talk will cover religious practices of Islam, beginning with TAHARA, i.e., cleanliness and/or purity.



Alice Tucker, Vital and vibrant member of the Jewish community, known for her outstanding lifetime service to Hawai`i’s people and organizations.

Rev. Gabrielle Fackre Chavez, Interim Conference Minister of the Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ and author of Alive in Grace.

Gregory Pai, Ph.D., Teacher of a meditation class at the Broken Ridge Korean Temple, who also taught meditation at various hospitals and institutions.

Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m.

Community Church of Honolulu

2345 Nuuanu Avenue

Refreshments will be served

October 13, 2018

Journeys to Wellness VII












November 03, 2017

The Hawaii Herald article on Journeys to Wellness

Click on the title to see the article on Journeys to Wellness VI published on 11/3/17 in the Hawaii Tribune Herald...


The Maunawili home of David and Debbie Laeha

Sunrise Foundation Fellowship Gathering (click here to view photos)

It began with David Laeha and his son, Adam, sounding the pu to call us together as one ohana in the garden patio of the Laeha home, and remind us of the presence of the creative Spirit in our midst.  The honored guests were then welcomed:  Doug Young, artist, Rev. J.P. Sabbithi, new member of the Sunrise Foundation Board, and JoAnn Farnsworth, recent new participant in our book study. JoAnn's husband also joined us. Later in the evening, Doug's daughter, Reiki, came.

This was followed by an uplifting opening reflection offered by Carol Ohta, a gift of music by Michael Yano, grace by Sister Joan Chatfield, and a sumptuous potluck supper. Mahalo, Debbie Laeha, for coordinating the potluck and to all who contributed to it. We outdid ourselves.

With our appetites well satisfied, we settled to awaken our minds and souls by hearing our guest speaker, Doug Young, share his mana`o. Go to to view his magnificent art work.  Reiki and Adam, from the younger generation, then eloquently spoke on their passion and labors. Their integrity glowed brightly.

After a break, many among the nineteen people present opened up by sharing their own recent awakening experiences. The fellowship group graciously extended their  compassion, encouragement and support.

Ron Yamauchi concluded the community healing and building time by informing us of Sunrise Foundation's forthcoming Journeys to Wellness VI  and participation in Foodland's Give Aloha Fund Drive. Your kokua in both events is warmly appreciated.

David Lahea then gave a compelling personal closing reflection that was followed by Michael Yano bidding us aloha with an Hawaiian song that touched our souls.

The next gathering will be announced shortly.  You may, however, put on your calendar the annual "alternative" New Year's celebration at Wally's condo, now in its 7th year!

Attached is the program of the July 15th gathering.

I leave you with this Tibetan Buddhist blessing:

May the precious compassion and loving kindness

Be awakened in those for whom it has not arisen.

And for those in whom it has awakened,   

May it not decline, but ever increase.

Aloha kakou,

~Wally Fukunaga

May 13, 2017

Held on May 13, 2017 at MOA Hawai`i Wellness Center in Kaka`ako. (Click here to view photos)


It was a memorable event, with a diverse and enthusiastic crowd in attendance. Some were from our board, others from our book study group, some from MOA, and most from the community.


Pamela Rotner Sakamoto did superbly in introducing her book, Midnight in Broad Daylight. She told how the inspiration had come from her friendship with the Fukuhara family, especially middle son, Harry, while living and working in postwar Japan for seventeen years. He invited her to write their story.


Thus, came her well-researched and warmly written book. In it, she shared many poignant insights into our nation and Japan before, during, and following the Second World War, and its divisive, yet healing, impact on families such as the Fukuharas. Her presentation was personal, engaging and delightful.


Her talk was followed by a heartfelt conversation with those in attendance. We then all enjoyed a delicious lunch presented by MOA.


Sunrise Foundation is grateful to MOA for its gracious hospitality, Rev. Irene Matsumoto for her touching blessing, Alan & Wanda Avanaydo for organizing the fantastic lunch, and Yolanda Hernandez for serving as our congenial receptionist.


Some comments….

Thank you for having me join the wonderful group in having a conversation with Pamela Rotner Sakamoto.  I related with the events of that period in which she had written in her book, MIDNIGHT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT.  I wondered if my translation of her tile in Japanese is correct, “Mahiru No Yonaka.”  I enjoyed her proverbs “koto waza” for each chapter.

With metta,



I have NEVER been to an event like this. I enjoyed Pamela’s stories very much.  I was also deeply moved by what Amy Mizuno and BettyAnn Igawa-Kamakani, in the audience, shared.  Let me add that the lunch was excellent!



Dear Wally, I want to follow up your Saturday event with a huge mahalo. I enjoyed having the interesting audience with their dynamic questions and close reading of my book.  As an author, I feel gratified to the core when I know that the book has reached people. I also enjoyed the many thoughtful touches – your kind introduction, Rev. Matsumoto’s moving words, the gorgeous blossoms, the taste bento (one of the best that I have had) and your beautiful card and honorarium. Thank you!

Wishing you wellness in spirit and body!

Warm aloha,





April 08, 2017

by Wally Fukunaga (Click Here to View Photos)


It was a magnificent evening when seventeen of us gathered at the oceanfront home of the Maryknoll Sisters in Lanikai. We laughed as we greeted one another, soaked in the renewing energies from the Pacific Ocean, feasted on a sumptuous potluck meal, and felt our spirits soar by the thoughtful and creative presentations of Sister Bitrina Kirway, Sister Joan Chatfield, and Sister Yoo Soo Kim.  It was a blessed prelude to Holy Week. 


FEEDBACK FROM SOME WHO CAME, in the order when they were received.….

Special thanks for a moving evening.  To hear the personal sacrifices, journeys and spiritual commitments of the Maryknoll Sisters was so impressive. Another Hawaiian Kahu friend also shared the deeper meaning of Aloha as emptying of one’s breath, the receiving of another’s breath and the openness to receive the mana of others. Their “no two alike” was another interesting concept as they seem to embrace their differences and embody tolerance, compassion and humanitarianism.

~David Laeha


The instant fellowship that occurred amongst friends and new acquaintances was meaningful and fun. The invitation to share new songs for our evolving family of Sunrisers was a pleasure to fulfill.


Thanks, Sisters, for sharing your stories and enlightening our understanding of the mission of the Maryknoll order of Catholic compassion. The shoreline outdoor sunset was such a beautiful setting to enjoy a peaceful dinner.

Malama pono ka kou e malama kou kino.   Take care of your Spirt and body.  

~Michael Yano


Appreciated the evening full of sharing talents, passion, service, prayers, support and friendship. Potluck dishes were delicious and nourishing.  Gentle breezes, ocean view, full moon and sun setting were so beautiful. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience joy among us. God was with us. His calling, faith and enduring love was truly felt. Thank you!

~Jenny Son


‘Twas a beautiful evening spent in “My Mother’s Garden”. The beautiful Lanikai oceanfront setting set the mood for a wonderful gathering of friends sitting in an intimate circle. It truly was an awakening of all of our senses – eating delicious foods, listening to beautiful music, moving poetry, and inspiring stories of 3 courageous Maryknoll Sisters, admiring beautiful paintings, sharing person journeys and engaging in mindful meditation.  I came away with my spirit renewed and refreshed.

With heartfelt gratitude,

~Sharlene Yamauchi


Jim said “it was terrific- a real experience.  I got an understanding that I never had of what service to humankind the Maryknoll order provides, and the gentle manner in which they do. It was really enlightening.”


We both thank the sisters for their gracious welcome and for opening their home to us and sharing their journeys. Their sharing motivated us to think about our own lives and goals and re-examine our priorities.

~Carol Ohta

May 13, 2017

A Conversation with Pamela Rodner-Sakamoto

Author of Midnight in Broad Daylight--A Japanese-American Family Caught Between Two Worlds

October 14, 2017

8:30AM ~ 3:00PM

Journeys to Wellness VI: COMING SOON

The sixth annual Journeys to Wellness will be bigger and better than ever. 


Click here to see our exciting AGENDA. 

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