Just as we wave goodbye to 2017 so too do we bid farewell to two of the Centre’s much loved team members Edwina Dawson and Judy Swan who moved on from their respective roles in December. At the same time we warmly welcome our new onsite team Margarita Sampson and partner Bugs (Stuart) Robertson.
Farewell Edwina and Judy
After six years of service Edwina resigned from her position as Centre Coordinator in December. Edwina will be known to many as the friendly and reassuring voice at the end of the phone, for her infectious laugh, admirable patience and kind listening ear. Edwina has worked hard over those years to help ensure that teachers, meditators and volunteers have been looked after during their time at the centre and applied a steady hand in managing retreat bookings.
Judy Swan joined the centre team in Jan 2017 as the resident caretaker. During this time Judy played an important supporting role preparing the Centre for retreats, and worked skilfully with other staff, volunteers and trades people on major maintenance projects including the electrical rewiring of Sasana House and the repair and upgrade of the centre’s heating systems. Judy has also done a wonderful job keeping the grounds verdant and the flowers blooming in a year with little rain.
Both Edwina and Judy will be greatly missed. And while they may have left the Centre physically they are still very much part of the broader BMIMC community and we look forward to seeing them back at BMIMC in the near future, whether that be on the cushion, volunteering or just stopping by for a cup of tea.
Welcome Margie and Bugs
We’re thrilled that Margie Sampson has accepted the new role of Centre Manager. Margie and her partner Bugs moved in to the Centre over the Christmas break and have been busy getting the place ready for the year ahead.
Margie has been involved with BMIMC since 2006 and has been one of the stalwarts in the kitchen cooking for retreats. Margie has meditated under the guidance of a number of BMIMC’s teachers including Steven Smith and Sayadaw U Vivekananda.
Bugs will be taking a voluntary role as caretaker bringing with him a range of talents, including IT and building skills both of which are invaluable to the Centre.
Margie and Bugs hail from Norfolk Island where they were active members of the Island’s close knit community. Amongst other endeavours they helped build their own home, Margie ran a café & bookshop there for several years and Bugs has played a major role in the development of the Island’s telco infrastructure. Anyone who has spent time with them being regaled by their experiences of Norfolk Island life will appreciate how well suited they are to resident positions at the Centre. Both communities are small, idiosyncratic, and have a folklore that is cherished by its members. Bugs and Margie place a high importance on community cohesion and service. They are generous but also thrifty, open and accepting of newcomers and always good humoured.
Margie says that one of her first tasks is to fill the 2018 retreat schedule with volunteer cooks. Those who have been around the Centre for a while know that the volunteer cook tradition is one of the pillars of the BMIMC community and is an essential part of the make-up of BMIMC’s unique character. I can’t think of a better way to show your support than by offering assistance in the kitchen either as a head or assistant cook. I can say from experience working with Margie that you’ll get whatever level of assistance you need. And you will have fun!
As a former resident staff member and friend, and on behalf of the broader BMIMC community, I wish Margie and Bugs all the very best as they embark on this new chapter in the Centre’s history. I hope that everybody gets to share in the benefit that their fresh eyes, enthusiasm and commitment bring.
Yael Wasserman is a current member of the BMIMC management committee