White, Female Priest to Lead Primarily Japanese-American Visalia Buddhist Church

August 22, 2006

Source: Visalia Times-Delta


On August 22, 2006 Visalia Times-Delta reported, "The Visalia Buddhist Church now has something no other temple has — a white woman priest as the head of the temple. Jo-Ren MacDonald, who transferred from the Fresno Betzerine Temple, accepted the position as head of the Visalia and Hanford temples and on Aug. 12 had her first service there. 'There's a lot of female priests. But as far as I know, I'm the only female Caucasian who is head of a temple, in the world,' she said, adding that there are several white male priests and female Japanese-American priests... The roughly 120 member congregation is on the verge of celebrating the temple's 100th anniversary which is in 2007. The members are primarily Japanese-American, but there are a growing number of white people coming to the services, MacDonald said. One of the reasons MacDonald said she's been accepted into the Buddhist community is because men and woman are equal, so no one has a problem with either gender being priests, MacDonald said. Some other people have had problems with her choice... MacDonald is one of roughly 26,000 Buddhist householder priests, she said. A householder is a priest who is not a monk or a nun, but lives in a house, has possessions and is able to get married and have children, MacDonald said."