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MASONIC INFORMATION

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DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE STEWARDS
By W. Bro. AMUDACHARI P. S. G. D.
 

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 disposition.

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 Mason.

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 Chair.

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.

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