Those Freemasons of Northumberland who attended the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge last November will have heard the Provincial Grand Master, in his Address, make reference to his intention to consecrate a new Lodge, to be the “Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge of Northumberland”.

Undoubtedly, this will have provoked interest and speculation amongst the Brethren. Plans to consecrate the new Lodge are well under way and it is opportune to give a brief account of what the Provincial Grand Master has in mind for this new venture.

The role of the Provincial Grand Stewards will change significantly. They will be expected to undertake administrative work on behalf of the Province to assist the Provincial Grand Secretary in the organisation and running of the Annual Meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge as well as the Annual Convocation of Provincial Grand Chapter. They will also be expected to play a significant role, under the direction of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, in the assistance of Grand Officers when they attend the Installation meetings of Lodges to represent the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master.

Henceforth, all Brethren appointed to the rank of Provincial Grand Steward will have to be Past Masters of a Lodge and Royal Arch Masons. They must not have previously held Provincial Grand rank.

Their appointment may follow soon after completing their term of office as Master, and will be held until they are eligible for first Provincial appointment – normally seven years from leaving the Chair. Upon receiving a Provincial promotion to a “dark blue” collar, their Provincial Stewardship, and its attendant responsibilities, will cease.

Appointment as a Provincial Grand Steward will be by invitation only, and in the gift of the RW Provincial Grand Master. It is expected that all newly appointed Provincial Stewards will become joining members of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge of Northumberland; will engage fully in the delivery of the tasks delegated to it; and will retire from the Lodge upon promotion to higher Provincial rank.

Brethren who currently hold the rank of Past Provincial Grand Steward (there are no Acting Stewards – none was appointed at the Annual meeting last November) will not be eligible for membership of the Stewards Lodge. It is likely they will, in due time, be offered promotion to a higher Provincial rank.

The Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master very much hopes that appointment to Provincial Grand Steward will be considered a signal honour; indicating that the individual has been identified as someone with the drive and ability – and the time and willingness – to engage fully with Provincial activities in an administrative role and offer much needed assistance to the Provincial Executive in the delivery of the various Provincial functions.

Further information on the progress of the formation of the Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge will follow in due course.

If any Brother has any observations or questions concerning this new venture, he may address them to WBro Kevin Stannard, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, via the Provincial Grand Secretary’s office.