Etiquette for a Senior Steward

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Breakingstereotypes, May 6, 2018.

  1. Breakingstereotypes

    Breakingstereotypes Registered User

    My brothers,

    A little background, I will be standing proficiency, giving back my FC tomorrow night. Afterwards, I will be assigned as a Senior Steward for an EA degree. Without going into much detail and known what the duties of a Senior Steward are at the beginning of an EA degree, as we have non-brothers on this site, what were your thoughts when you first served as a steward? How did you ease the tension or nervousness between yourself and the initiate?

    I look forward to hearing your response.


  2. Matt L

    Matt L Site Benefactor

    Brother John, even now when I'm asked to fill in as senior steward I try and remember what it was like to be in the initiates shoes. Ask him how he pronounces his name, nothing worse than mispronouncing it a few times. I make sure he is prepared properly and tell them that it's ok to be nervous, we were all there at one time. I also ensure him that he will have someone to guide him, and not to worry about being in darkness. I also make sure if he wears glasses, that someone in the lodge gives them back to him at the appropriate time. Last but not least, have your floor work and speaking part down. If you do, the initiate will have confidence in you.
  3. Breakingstereotypes

    Breakingstereotypes Registered User

    Thank you Bro. Matt. Plenty of insight!
  4. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    And talking through where you are leading him to reassure.. Remember - your job is to look after the candidate - that's more important than protocol..
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  5. CLewey44

    CLewey44 Registered User

    Bro. Matt and Bro. Bloke pretty much covered it all very well. You're to make them feel at ease, gain their confidence. That first degree is the 'scariest' because you have no clue what is about to happen. Some guys, though not often, try to be jokesters and talk about the goat or say things to get them nervous. That's the opposite of your duties. Not assuming you would do that by any means. You have a big honor of being with them when they literally start their Masonic journey. They may never show up again or they may go on to become the DDGM or the Grand Sheba of the Exalted Order of the Clockwork Oranges, all the while, you were there with them when this began for them. Don't be shy yourself, guide them firmly, make them feel at ease and apart of something bigger than themselves. Congrats on being selected for this. Very important duty for sure.
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  6. Rifleman1776

    Rifleman1776 Registered User

    I'm a JS and tell them pretty much what you said. A little conversation helps a lot and I remind them we have all been through this. Although I am not beyond adding some humor. I'll sometimes tell them someone forgot to bring the goat that night. Always good for a laugh.
    Matt L likes this.
  7. Thomas Stright

    Thomas Stright Premium Member

    Our Stewards have no part in the degrees (other than providing the meals).
    Our Senior Deacon answers the alarm at the inner door....
  8. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    That depends on the jurisdiction. The spoken degree part of answering for the candidate from outside the door just before being admitted to the lodge room is performed by different officers in different jurisdictions. In California I learned and performed it as Senior Steward. In Illinois I learned and performed it as Junior Deacon. In Texas I learned and performed it as Master of Ceremonies - A chair that doesn't even exist in my other two jurisdictions.

    In all of my jurisdictions to be installed into a chair you need to be a Master Mason but to sit in a chair "pro tem" for the evening you only need to be the degree being performed that evening for the junior chairs. Different jurisdiction, different list of which chairs are junior.

    The degrees are about the candidate. Focus on taking care of him and try to put in less than half your effort into learning your own part and other parts during the degree. Or rather try to get the candidate to see you as taking care of him more than as learning the degree. Appearance and reality aren't always the same thing ...
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  9. Bloke

    Bloke Premium Member

    Well said.
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  10. Keith C

    Keith C Registered User

    As others have said, ritual and roles vary by jurisdiction. In our lodge a Steward would be in the kitchen getting food ready during a degree. The role that is described here for JS in your jurisdiction seems to be part of the duties of a "Guide" here in PA. In that case the Guide is always a very experience brother, more often than not a PM in our lodge, as there is quite a bit of dialog in their part during the degree as well as taking care of the preparation.

    When I was a FC I was asked to be JD for an EA degree and, although there was little I had to do, and nothing I had to say, I was still nervous, it can't be helped. What did help was a ritual instruction night before the Degree, where I was shown exactly what to do.

    I have since been a Guide a few times, and I agree there is no place for saying things that will make the Candidate more nervous or uncomfortable. Remember your EA degree and be a gentle and helpful as possible.
  11. Canadian Paul

    Canadian Paul Registered User

    In lodges in both jurisdictions here the JD conducts the candidate in the EA degree, the SD in the other two. Whichever Officer does it, his most important duty is to help make the candidate be at ease.
    Elexir and Matt L like this.

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