Renshin Barbara Ver Kuilen was a student of Buddhism for thirty years prior to her ordination in 1997. She has practiced under the guidance of three Soto Zen priests: Matsuoka Soyu Roshi, Katagiri Dainin Roshi and Rev. Shoken Winecoff. Her experience includes various forms of Buddhist study, including both lay and monastic training. She has blended this continuous practice with careers in education, as a psychotherapist and the many responsibilities of a householder - wife and mother. She holds a BA in Education and a MS in Counseling and Guidance.
Taizen Dale Ver Kuilen has been studying Buddhism since 1967. After practicing a year each at the Chicago and San Francisco Zen Centers he lived at the Long Beach Zen Center and studied with Matsuoka Roshi. He was ordained in 1970 and practiced as a priest assisting and leading introductory workshops on the Method of Zen, as well as performing all the administrative and religious duties associated with running a non-residential urban Zen center. After ten years he pursued a career in business continuing his study as a lay practitioner with Katagiri Roshi. He was re-ordained in 2000. He holds an Associate degree in Electronics and a BS in Management Science.
Dale and Barbara established the Midwest Soto Zen Community in 2001 with the goal of supporting the growing interest of individuals and groups in Buddhist meditation and Buddhist studies. They do so by providing a range of instructional activities adapted to the particular needs of each request for service.