In June last year I had the privilege of being invited to become Worshipful Master of the Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge. I would like to take this opportunity of reminding everyone of the significance of becoming a Provincial Grand Steward; the commitment required during the year in office, and the ongoing importance of the Stewards’ Lodge to its members, and to the Province.
Becoming a Provincial Grand Steward is the appointment to which many Masons aspire. This year, due to changes in our allocation, there are only 10 places available instead of 12 and we do not have to fill those places. This means the opportunity to meet that aspiration, will be somewhat reduced. Potential Stewards are generally identified within the first three to four years of leaving the Chair.They are selected from recommendations made by the Provincial Executive Teams and the Provincial Grand Master’s Representatives. A short-list is prepared and presented to the Provincial Grand Master for final selection.
The selection criteria considers the individual’s Masonic track record in terms of rituals performed in the Lodge, support for the Lodge, responsibilities undertaken in the Lodge, the degree of interest shown towards the Province and finally, any other relevant initiatives.
Stewards have to be able to demonstrate enthusiasm, motivation and conscientiousness.
The status of Steward within both the Craft and the Royal Arch is a mark of distinction. “Once a Steward, always a Steward” – the implication being, that no matter how exalted a Brother eventually becomes, he is always entitled – and encouraged – to wear the red apron in the Stewards’ Lodge and when on duty as a Steward.
However, with preferment comes responsibility. The appointment to Provincial Grand Steward creates demands on time and the commitment is summarised as follows:
- Attend Provincial Grand Lodge in May to receive the appointment;
- Commit to escorting the PGM, DPGM or APGMs on about four visits during the active year in office from June until May the following year;
- Commit to organising a Provincial summer event. This will involve regular meetings with the Board of Provincial Stewards, probably one evening a month from September until June the following year;
- Assist at Provincial Grand Lodge in the following May by escorting those Brethren receiving appointments or promotions in the carousel;
- In following years assist with the smooth running of Provincial Grand Lodge by manning cloakrooms/signing in, ushering, etc;
- Assisting at other Provincial events during the year such as the Provincial Church Service;
- Stewards are strongly encouraged to join the West Kent Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge No 8565 during their year in office and maintain that membership for the foreseeable future – supporting the Lodge (and the Province) as required.
The Stewards’ Lodge meets three times a year – the second Saturday in June (Installation) and the fourth Saturday in October and February.
The Steward’s Lodge is considered to be one of the premier Lodges in the Province. The highest standards are maintained and it is anticipated that members will become role models for all other Lodges. The ethos is to encourage excellence by example, and to maintain professionalism in presentation.
If you are invited to become a Steward, please consider carefully whether you can fulfil this commitment. If it is not viable for you at that time, perhaps for business, family or health reasons, consider carefully whether or not you accept the appointment. Your future promotions will not be affected by your decision.
This year we interviewed Brethren selected for appointment to Provincial Grand Steward, so that we can be assured that individuals meet the standards expected and there can be no misunderstanding about the commitment required.
Chris Roberts DPGM