On the 8th September 2007, the Durham Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 9833, was consecrated by the then Provincial Grand Master, the late RWBro Derek Richmond, with WBRo Andrew Peter Fall Foster installed as its first Worshipful Master. There were 35 founding members.
In subsequent years, a number of brethren have been appointed to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Steward, readily identifiable by their Crimson aprons, and it is expected that these newly honoured brethren will join the Stewards Lodge, replacing the outgoing members who have served the Province, typically for 5 to 6 years. The new members are drawn from the current crop of Worshipful Masters and Immediate Past Masters, who will have been identified for their commitment to their lodge and the craft in general, and will be expected to undertake a number of duties on behalf of the Provincial Grand Master and the Province.
These duties include, but are not limited to, Directors’ of Ceremony at lodge installations, Event organisation, Learning and Development (formerly Training and Education), Demonstrations, and Distribution of Provincial materials.
The Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and Provincial Grand Secretary are all Honorary members, two of whom once wore the Crimson apron themselves.
Often described as the engine room of the Province, members of the Durham Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge No. 9833 work to ensure that the activities of Provincial Grand Lodge run as smoothly as possible and to the highest standards.
Current Master: WBro John Henry
The WM of the Durham Provincial Grand Stewards Lodge is not a successive post, but is appointed by the Provincial Grand Master. He serves in this post for two years.
The purpose of the Worshipful Master is to lead the lodge on behalf of the ProvGM, acting as the conduit for all messages and duties required from the ProvGM and his team to the Stewards.
The WM is the driving force behind the Lodge. He appoints the Project Managers/Team Leaders, and allocates the current Stewards to the required teams.
Current Secretary: WBro Neil King
The Secretary of the DPGSL performs many of the duties that the Craft lodge secretary carries out but tends to send out more general messages than they would do.
The duty of the Secretary during our meetings is generally the same as your Craft Secretary but he is not required to read out the general communications from UGLE & PGL, unless it is specifically of reference to the function of the Lodge.
The Assistant Secretary is an acting post that supports and assists the Secretary in all of his duties and succeeds to the senior position at the next installation.
The Leader for this group is the appointed Stewards Lodge Director of Ceremonies; currently WBro Richard Davison.
Four teams, organised geographically, nominally North West, North East, South West and South East, of Directors of Ceremony (DC) operate in support of a Representative of Provincial Grand Lodge at all Lodge Installations within the Province. Each team has a nominated mentor, an experienced DC whom the newer members can call on for guidance.
Although a member of a team, the DC works individually under the invitation of the lodge concerned. He is also expected to communicate with the Representative ahead of the meeting, to greet him at the meeting and then to ensure he is looked after during the meeting.
The DC performs the task of introducing the Rep to the brethren in the lodge, escort him to the Chair and to lead the salutations before passing over to the lodge DC at the appropriate time. The DC then concludes the work within the lodge by arranging the departure of the officers and the Rep.
The formal duties continue as he acts as DC at the festive board until the Rep completes his response, at which time he passes the gavel to the lodge DC.
DCs may also be called to perform particular duties at the Provincial Meetings and Convocations.
Current Lead: WBro Gary Roper.
All stewards are members of the Events Team, operating under the leadership of a Team Leader and his deputy.
Each event calls for different duties, ranging from car park attendant to brochure sales, guide and general dogsbody!
Provincial meetings require a lot of work from all who wear the collar and a flexibility to carry out whatever task is required of them.
The Team Leader liaises closely with those who have arranged the event and plans & organises the necessary attendance and duties, often requiring a number of prior meetings with the various people involved, including the building management and Provincial Grand Lodge.
Current Lead: WBro Nick Howell.
The Learning & Development team are responsible for the seminars and other training forums put on for the benefit of the brethren. These include seminars such as ‘Preparing for the Chair’ and training for lodge secretaries & treasurers.
The duties include the writing and preparation of the various sessions, including regular updates, and arrangements with buildings for the events.
The team reports not only to the WM but also directly to a representative on the Provincial Team and responds to their stated requirements.
Team members are selected for their various skills in their personal and professional lives and are expected to be flexible in their response to calls for their time and ability.
Currently under review.
Each demonstration involves four people who do readings from a prepared script relating to one of the three degrees in Craft masonry.
Each takes a position in the hall and reads from a script whilst the lodge moves through the particular degree. Whilst scripted, skilled oration is required, with proper intonation and an obvious prior knowledge of the words being spoken.
Currently under review.
All Stewards are members of this team, with the Team Leader overseeing the distribution of year books, Christmas cards and any other information and media that Province wishes to send out to the brethren independently of the regular postal system.
The TL prepares the information required, arranges the assistance necessary to complete the task and, importantly, maintains knowledge of the transfer of the ‘boxes’ and reports back to the WM and Provincial Office.
Current Officer: WBro Chris Fairs.
The Senior Steward in the lodge is responsible for the background work in the preparation of the festive board for lodge meetings, and also for larger gatherings of the Provincial Grand Lodge, such as the annual meeting and the promotions meeting.
PGL meetings require the Senior Steward to organise the seating plan for the festive board together with the preparation of name-plates. At the meeting itself, he will manage the placement of tables and name-plates, usually with the assistance of stewards under the direction of the Events Team Leader.
TLC Teddy Initiative……
“thank you Freemasons for the thousands of teddies donated to children’s casualty departments”
Community Support Grants…..
“The grant from Durham Freemasons has made an enormous difference to our service users”
Provincial Annual Meeting….
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”….
“My husband would be so proud that you still contact me so many years after his death, thank you for remembering me”
“The Provincial annual meeting is one of the highlights of my year, it’s great to meet everyone and support all those being rewarded for merit”
The Royal Arch…..
“I feel that I have a much better understanding of the whole Masonic story after joining the Royal Arch”
What have you gained?
“I’ve made wonderful friendships with people from all walks of life who I wouldn’t otherwise have even met”
In respect to the TLC Teddy initiative
“A child patient copes with medical treatment so much better when they’ve been given a TLC teddy”
What Freemasonry has done for you?
“The teachings of the masonic ceremonies helped me to be a better father, better husband, better son and better neighbour”What Freemasonry has done for you
One of the best things I have ever done…
“Along with getting married, the birth of my children and Sunderland winning the FA Cup, becoming a Freemason is one of the best things I’ve ever done”