An Introduction to “The Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge”
Amongst the dazzling array of regalia that is usually present on any Lodge evening there is often one piece of regalia that really stands out from the crowd – the red apron of a Provincial Grand Steward. But who are they, how did they become Stewards and, more importantly, what do they actually do?
The Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge (PGSL) was consecrated in April 1996 under the sponsorship of the Agricola Lodge. It was formed with a very specific set of aims and objectives.
• To serve Freemasonry in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Ridings by such activities as may best encourage and assist in promoting the principles of the Craft, but particularly in the development of a sense of Provincial unity.
• To assist the Provincial Grand Master, his Deputy and Assistants, as directed and required, at any appropriate Masonic function and to ensure the maintenance of the highest standards within and without the Lodge on any such occasion.
• To encourage the advancement of Masonic knowledge, dignity and charity, throughout the Province, by excellence in example and professionalism in working.
Membership of the lodge is at the invitation of the Provincial Grand Master and is usually restricted to those who hold, or have held, active rank as a Provincial Grand Steward or Provincial Grand Pursuivant. Brethren awarded these ranks are usually in the Chair of their lodge or have recently installed their successor. However, it is possible to become a Provincial Grand Steward before attaining the Master’s Chair, if the particular brother shows exceptional talents.
One thing common to them all is that they are seen as having the potential to contribute to the workings of the Province and, as the workload can be quite heavy and involve considerable travelling, they are not encouraged to join the PGSL if for any reason they feel unable to make the necessary commitment. The WM of the lodge is a personal appointment made by the Provincial Grand Master and it is for a two year term of office. The lodge meets 6 times a year, usually in York but has been known to visit other buildings, mainly for its casual dress business meetings.
You will find our brethren assisting at every major Provincial event, whether it is parading in at the start of Provincial Grand Lodge, holding a Mentoring Workshop, speaking at the New Members meetings or serving wine at the WMs’ Dinner. However, the PGSL does not just turn up on the day at these events; its members have usually worked for months in advance supporting the Provincial senior team to ensure that all runs smoothly on the day.
One of the biggest tasks we undertake is carrying out DC duties for the Representatives of the Provincial Grand Master. Organising this is a logistical challenge, but it is well worth the effort. This year alone we have 52 members going out on 106 separate occasions covering somewhere in the region of 8,000 miles (it’s a big Province!).
We don’t have a motto, but if we did it could be:
“Aspectu meo quam mappa rubro, quia fortiter labore” which, being interpreted is:
“If my face looks as red as my apron, it is because I am working so hard” (with thanks to RW Bro Rev Canon R Tydeman)
So if you come across a member of the PGSL on your travels, please pass on your good wishes – he puts in a lot of effort on your behalf.
WM, Provincial Grand Stewards’ Lodge 9611