Midlothian Friends Meeting’s thrift store, The Thrifty Quaker, continues to thrive in these poor economic times. The store raises funds for charities each month that are chosen to be recipients by the meeting’s Peace and Social Action Committee (PSAC). The store, which is in its 14th year of operation, also donates many goods to organizations who support persons in need. Midlothain Friends Meeting also sponsors a fund called FriendShare that is advertised at the thrift store. This fund provides one-time monetary assistance to persons not associated with Quakers who are in need of paying a housing, medical, transportation, or utility bill. The Thrifty Quaker employees over Thanksgiving sponsored a Brunswick Stew and pie sale, raising over $2000 for FriendShare. The meeting is fortunate to have 6 dedicated and long-time employees at the store – most of whom are not Quakers.
Christmas Eve Worship had to be canceled for the first time in our 22 year history due to 18 inches of snow in the parking lot. Our gravel lot can not be plowed without damage to it. Quite a disappointment to Friends, but a reminder that Quakers of old needed no special Christmas Eve worship because they considered every day a holy day.
The month of January has seen transitions for the Meeting. Our committees and positions transitioned from the 2009 members to the 2010 members. After losing some very active Friends due to life events and moving away, we are grateful to have the active participation of newcomers on our committees. Our Meeting House has been undergoing extensive inside renovations and remodeling, as well as re-organization, in preparation for its rental to help pay off the mortgage and as a method of outreach. The Kitchen and Committee meeting room are complete. The renovations of the library will be complete in February. Once that occurs, we will begin advertising the Meeting House rental at our thrift store and via a new website. However, further renovations are still planned. The meetinghouse is nestled on 9 wooded acres next to a stream in a quiet, remote setting. Yet it is also only 2 miles from a suburban shopping and financial area, as well as easy access via local freeways. We are hopeful that corporations, clubs, and other organizations will find it the perfect spot to hold workshops and retreats.