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Rev. Katherine Rand is a spiritual care scholar-practitioner and a doctoral candidate in practical theology at the Claremont School of Theology. She is currently writing her dissertation and hopes to find ways to minister in creative ways to individuals and organizations after completing the PhD. She was ordained as an ICCBCE lay minister in August 2015.

In 2011-2012 Katherine completed a year-long Buddhist chaplaincy program with the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care while working with a hospice organization in a skilled nursing facility, and then went on to do four units of ACPE-certified healthcare chaplaincy training in Hartford, CT and Los Angeles, CA. She loves working in a clinical context and hopes to bring her interest in qualitative research into her future work.

In 2013 Katherine traveled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia on a Henry Luce grant and was hosted by the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies at the University of Gadjah Mada. While she was there she conducted research with individuals with mixed religious heritage and practice. Her findings will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming anthology, The Insider-Outsider Debate: New Perspectives in the Study of Religion, edited by George D. Chryssides and Stephen F. Gregg.

Katherine began her Buddhist practice and study as a teenager in the early 1990s. As an undergraduate at Carleton College, she majored in religion, focusing on East Asian traditions. Before pursuing her PhD, Katherine spent several years doing intensive practice in the tradition of her teacher, Sayadaw U Tejaniya. Katherine has also been influenced by the Jodo Shinshu tradition and another long-time teacher of hers, Rev. Mark T. Unno.

Katherine lives in Los Angeles with her young son.


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Rev. Debra Rodgers was ordained as Ti Hui, an ICCBCE Lay Minister, in July 2016.  She is currently Team Director of Greater Regional Hospice Home in Creston, Iowa.  Debra is a Registered Nurse as well as a Contemplative Chaplain and has been serving in the field of end of life care for nearly 20 years.

Debra graduated from University of the West in May 2016 with a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy. She has completed a total of 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education, including one unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, one unit at the Academy of Jewish Religion Los Angeles doing her clinical hours at the Los Angeles County Jails, and a three unit CPE Residency at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where she was assigned to inpatient and outpatient Palliative Care.

During her time at the university, Debra worked as a volunteer Buddhist Chaplain in the Los Angeles County Jails for the entire three years, leading meditation groups, teaching the mindfulness based Path to Freedom curriculum, and providing one-on-one spiritual care and counseling to incarcerated women and men.  She hopes to continue her prison chaplaincy work in the Midwest. 

Debra is a lay ordained member of the Order of Interbeing in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village tradition.  She began her Buddhist practice in 1998.  She received transmission of the Five Mindfulness trainings in 2009 and transmission of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings in 2013.  Her Dharma name in the Plum Village tradition is Chân Cué Uyên, True Chrysanthemum Garden.

Debra moved to Winterset, Iowa, just south of Des Moines, in 2017 to be close to her daughter, Katherine, and her son-in-law, Robert. 


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Rev. Mark Ragsdale was ordained as Po Jian an ICCBCE Lay Minister in August 2015. He is an Assistant Editor at Buddha’s Light Publications in Hacienda Heights California since May of 2016. He has been involved numerous editing projects and authored two chapters for A Thousand Hands: A Guidebook for Caring for Your Buddhist Community (Sumeru Press). A resident at Angel City Zen Center near downtown Los Angeles, he helps facilitate meditation, and Dharma discussion while supporting the growth of the community by serving as the treasurer of the non-profit Dogen Sangha Los Angeles.

Before embarking on a career as a Buddhist Chaplain, Mark was living and working abroad in Iksan S. Korea where he was head of the English department of foreign languages at a Wonkwang University Language Center, a private Buddhist institution. He has worked in the public school setting as a high school special education teacher for over 7 years where he taught and was certified in all five disciplines of that field. In 2007 Mark was certified internationally by the Kundalini Yoga Research Institute to teach Kundalini Yoga ATBYB, teaching in S. Korea, Vietnam, and the United States steadily since that time. Mark received a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy from UWest in May 2016, and has completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education on his way towards fulfilling the requirements of becoming a board certified chaplain. He conducts yoga and meditation classes at Sri Lankarama Buddhist Temple in La Puente California and is a member of the 3HO Foundation for ongoing Spiritual development.  

Mark is a native of Oklahoma and received his Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Oklahoma State University. He began his interest in yoga and Buddhism in the early 90’s and has been involved with various local Buddhist community projects since that time. In Berkeley California Mark was honored by H.E. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche in July 2015 and given a special permission to practice as a lay monastic Ngakpa in the Longchen Nyingtik tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His family have been active in Cherokee Nation politics and is proud to have his native roots and identity as a Cherokee descendant of those who traversed the arduous Trail of Tears. 


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