Farewell to Sophie
It is with sadness that I am writing to let you know that Sophie Crocker will be leaving the WLBC team; her last day will be on Friday 10 December. I am aware that many of you may have never met Sophie but you may have a sense of her through the weekly newsletters which she has been creating since she took on the role of Publicity Manager in January 2019 which often include her thoughts and reflections in the introduction section. I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of my experience of her and rejoice in all she has contributed to the West London Buddhist Centre over the past 5 years.
I first met Sophie about 10 years ago when I was living in a small Buddhist community with 5 other women, all Order Members. There was a period of 6 months when 2 members were away and during that time Sophie came to live with us and became part of the community. Community living can be a strong and intense practice which many people struggle with but Sophie fitted right in, even though she was the lone mitra among 5 Order Members. At the time I remember being struck by the depth of her spiritual practice, her willingness to challenge and be challenged in her pursuit of what was meaningful and true. I was also impressed by her discipline and commitment preparing for an outdoor, river-based swimming event where she would train for hours each week on top of her work and sangha activities. Sophie brought a lot of creativity and fun to the community encouraging us to play and showing us that these could be an integral part of practice too.
During that time we became friends and we stayed in touch over the next few years. In June 2017 Sophie began covering some reception shifts at the centre and then in January 2018 she joined the team as our part-time Mindfulness Co-ordinator where Sophie’s passionate dedication to this work shone through. Over the next 2 years she successfully developed our secular mindfulness programme (in partnership with Breathworks and an excellent team of mindfulness trainers). She was very generous in additionally taking on the publicity role in response to the needs of the centre and she has also contributed by teaching and supporting courses and classes, including leading a weekly secular mindfulness drop-in class.
Sophie has a very strong altruistic side and for many years has been a volunteer with Pimlico Puffins swimming club, helping swimmers with disabilities. She is someone who continues to grow and to develop her skills so that she can create conditions to support people to heal and grow and develop a better quality of life. While working at the centre Sophie has trained and qualified as a Breathworks Mindfulness teacher, as a swimming teacher and more recently as a Sports Massage Therapist, and recently she has been working part-time offering aquatic therapy in a hospital. Sophie says that she intends to turn her energy to these interests. I know that she has so much to offer and have so much gratitude for all she has given to the West London Buddhist Centre and sangha over the past few years.
We will be having a leaving event at the centre that evening from 7-9pm. It’s an open invitation to the sangha so please do come along for an evening of meditation, ritual and rejoicings in the shrine room as well as snacks and chat in the reception area. If you can’t make it but would like to express your appreciation to Sophie then if you send a card to the centre or an email to the centre’s email account (info [at] westlondonbuddhistcentre [dot] com) they will be passed on to her.