While appointing Stewards and investing
them with their Collars and jewels of Office the Worshipful
Master addresses them. "It is part of your duty
to introduce visitors, and see that they are properly
accommodated and see that the tables are properly furnished.
Your regular and early attendance will be the best proof
of your zeal and attachment."
Very often it is found that a Steward
considers his Office, as not a very important one, and
that he merely sits in the temple with the Collar, apparently
doing nothing. A Steward can make himself useful not
only at the Dinner Table but also in the Temple. Though
the Master may appoint 2 or 3, or more Stewards and
one of them may happen to be a P. M., it is no such
office a Senior Steward or Junior Steward. The Office
of Steward is not a sinecure. It will be desirable to
appoint young Brethren as Stewards, who are of active
During the course of the Banquet the
Stewards should attend personally o the behests of the
Diners, particularly the visitors. It is an act of courtesy
which can never fail to leave its impression on the
minds of those who have partaken of the dinner.
Sometimes during Dinner, there is a
musical programme. The Steward may ascertain the names
of the Brethren who are willing to partake in it. On
one occasion, a Lodge in the City of Madras on board
the H. M. S. Effingham, during World War III.
All of them being new to the Brethren
of the Lodge, they had to be vouched before admission
into the Temple. I was entrusted with the duty of testing
them. Except one of them, the rest stood the test well,
and even that one remembered the signs and tokens of
the 3rd degree though he could not remember the word
; and all of them were admitted.
It was a very interesting evening.
More than the Brethren, the visitors proved to be very
entertaining at the Dinner Table with their interesting
anecdotes and display of their talent in Music. Some
of them rendered fine Music on the Piano and one of
them gave a humorous skit one the 4th degree in Freemasonry
and explained the working Tools of the Knife and Fork
A Steward should help the Secretary
by nothing the names of the Brethren who sit for the
Dinner and preparing the accounts. On no account, should
the Steward forget to do this, as otherwise the account
cannot be properly maintained. Dinner charges should
as far as possible be paid by Brethren without delay,
so that the caterer may be paid promptly and not kept
waiting for unduly longtime. The young Mason who is
appointed as a Steward takes his first step in his long
journey which will lead him ultimately to the Easter
A Steward should not fail to take the
opportunity of acting for an Officer, who may be absent.
He will be able to do this only if he regularly attends
the Lodge meetings and takes a diligent interest. He
should not lose sight of the fact that as Steward he
is an officer of the Lodge. He should not think that
his duties are only at the Dinner Table to minister
to the Brethren during the period of Refreshment. A
Steward should at all times keep himself ready and willing
to render all possible assistance to his senior officers
both at Labour and Refreshment.
It is worth remembering that his jewel
of office is the CORNOCOPIA the emblem of plenty embraced
by the open compasses, the symbol of restraint.
An experienced Steward is an asset
to the Lodge. In some Lodges the same Brother is appointed
as one of the Stewards for years together. An ideal
Steward cheerfully and willingly performs his duties.
He ascertains before hand who all are attending the
Dinner after the meeting, arranges for the Dinner, and
looks after the comforts of the Brethren. There is a
practice in some Lodges of sending out stamped post
cards to each and every member questing him to state
if he would be attending the meeting and staying for
dinner. Very often there is poor response. There should
be no room for complaint by the Secretary or Stewards
that responses are not received from the Brethren. Brethren
will be lacking in ordinary courtesy if they do not
respond. It is needless to state that the Brethren will
be greatly helping the Steward by prompt responses and
not leave him guessing as to how many would be attending
the Dinner after the meeting.
A Dinner after he meeting is generally
welcomed by the Brethren. The informal manner in which
the Brethren can talk to one another at the Dinner Table
brings them closer together promotes harmony and helps
to cultivate social graces, the value of which can be
by no means be minimised.