Pat and Tak Yamamoto Receive Bishop's Award
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño awarded Pat and Yamamoto from Open Door UMC in Richmond, California, a 2017 Bishop's Award. In nominating the Yamamotos, their pastor, the Rev. Brian Adkins wrote:
"The Yamamotos are an institution in our Conference. I nominate them together because while individually their work and dedication is impressive, together they are a powerhouse for justice and peace.
This being the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which established the Japanese Internment Camps during WWII; this nomination is particularly timely. As a child, Pat was interned in the Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming. Tak, who was in Japan during the war, was mere miles from one of the atomic bomb blast zones.
Pat's experience compelled her to live a life of advocacy for the marginalized and oppressed. Likewise, Tak's experience has led him to work for peace and justice throughout his life.
Pat has served the local unit of United Methodist Women, and participated extensively in UMW and Church Women United activities throughout the Conference. Pat has worked as a special education teacher and substitute in the West Contra Costa County School District for many years. In the local church she has served nearly every committee, including SPRC, Service and Witness, Church Council, and Finance. She has also served for many years as Lay Member to Annual Conference.
Tak has served the church in countless ways. Locally, as a member of the board of trustees, SPRC, Finance, and other committees. He has served on the disctrict's buildings and location committee, has traveled with VIM teams. He also participates annually in the GRIP Harmony Walk to End Hunger. Tak sings in Choarle May, a local Japanese men’s chorus.
Together they have traveled to Israel-Palestine, and advocated for Wadi Foquin. Locally, they serve regularly in the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program’s Souper Center and Family Shelter Meals Program. They were instrumental in the 2013 merger of El Cerrito UMC and Church of the Good Shepherd UMC, which form Open Door UMC. They are among the first to welcome new visitors to the church, and almost every Sunday can be found cleaning up after coffee hour. They are the very definition of servant-leaders.
Beyond their work in and for the church, they were pioneers in rights and services for the developmentally disabled in Northern California (since the 1960s), including service on boards of local service organizations. Their contributions have helped shape the community of support for those living with disabilities in immeasurable ways.
I cannot say enough about their tireless work to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."