By Midnight Freemasons Senior Contributor
W.B. Gregory J. Knott
As I was being installed during a meeting held virtually on Zoom, I listened to the ritual from the Illinois Book of Ceremonials; “....you are appointed Senior Steward of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970, and will now be invested with the jewel and rod of your office. You are to assist the deacons and other officers in performing their respective duties, and when the lodge is at refreshment it will by your province to extend to visiting brethren such attentions as circumstances may suggest. Your regular and early attendance at our meetings will afford the best proof of zeal and attachment to the lodge. You will repair to your respective place in the lodge.”
As I thought about what these duties were, I thought to myself, this job is really a good fit for me. I had already served as Master of St. Joseph Lodge in 2011, so I’ve already had the opportunity to sit in the Oriental Chair. I have never been one to be a Grumpy Past Master, so I am eager to help the lodge try new things and do it differently than I did as Master.
I enjoy working with new members, especially those that may be holding an office for the first time. I’m not a great ritualist, but I know enough to help get them to know and understand the work. As Senior Steward, I am in a good position to assist in this role.
Greeting visitors and ensuring they have a good experience in visiting our lodge is of utmost importance. A friendly lodge is a place where they will want to return. This kind of welcoming atmosphere is vital for brothers to have the ability to learn, achieve personal growth, and get those things out of masonry that we so boldly promise during the degree work.
As a Steward I am charged with being a regular attendee of meetings and to ensure I am there early. Doing so illustrates my zeal and attachment to lodge. But is merely showing up early and often enough? My answer is no, there is more to be done.
So many times, we end up putting brothers in the Stewards chairs, just so we can fill the slate of officers for the year, even when in many cases we know they might never actually come to the meeting. But the Senior Steward is in a unique position to have a great influence in the lodge through assisting other brothers and helping foster the atmosphere for our brothers to become all they might be.
I am looking forward to my year as Senior Steward.
WB Gregory J. Knott is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D. and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org