When the Metropolitan Grand Stewards’ Lodge No 9812 was formed in 2005, the Lodge’s by-laws enshrined an objective to, “Assist and support the work of the Metropolitan Grand Master and the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, and to increase the Masonic education and broaden the Masonic experience of its members and of the Craft in general.”
The first part of that mission can be seen at many events held by Metropolitan Grand Lodge; from the Annual General Meeting and the London Grand Rank and Senior London Grand Rank Investitures, to assisting at charity presentations, active and former Metropolitan Grand Stewards can be seen doing everything from ceremonial work to guiding members of the public around Freemasons’ Hall to helping with the washing up after an event!
But perhaps less often seen is the work that the Lodge does in increasing the Masonic education of the members of Metropolitan Grand Lodge. The primary way the Lodge does so is through its Demonstration Team.
The Team does not demonstrate degree or installation work – that is the remit of the various Lodges of Instruction for the different workings - but rather, demonstrates an abbreviated version of the Catechetical Lectures which traditionally made up part of each degree. Currently the Team deliver a presentation of the First Degree Lectures, but presentation for those of the Second and Third Degrees are currently in the pipeline.
W Bro Patrick Penny PJGD, a Past Master of the Metropolitan Grand Stewards’ Lodge who together with W Bro Jon Cooper PAGDC was responsible for the formation of the Demonstration Team, says that “the Team fulfils an amazing function, in that it allows us to educate, and enliven, and inspire. While [the other degrees] will be coming in due course, there are still lots of Lodges who haven’t seen what we do in the First Degree, and it’s an amazing piece of ritual. The joy of it is that it’s unusual, and that most Freemasons no matter how experienced they are, from Master Masons through to Grand Officers, won’t necessarily have seen this work, and so everyone can learn something from it”.
As well as a piece that is both educational and entertaining for its audience, delivering the abbreviated lectures has been hugely informative and beneficial for its members too. One of the newest additions to the team from the 2018 Metropolitan Grand Stewards, W Bro Stephen Christou LGR, feels that joining the team “has given me a new perspective and appreciation of ritual, whilst encouraging me to learn something more about the symbolism within the Craft, ” while one of the Team’ s original members, W Bro David Luckins SLGR, claims that, after initially “feeling as small as a church mouse” compared to the other founding Team members, it helped him find confidence in his abilities – the point where he ended up being the Preceptor for the Team!
The Team’ s work, according to Team member W Bro Ian Burgess SLGR, has been “enjoyed by Lodges big and small, from Lodges with only seven Brothers in attendance, to those with over 150 Brothers in attendance. No matter where we’ve been in London, we’ve been received with that same friendship and appreciation”.
While there are many options these days for Lodges without work to do in their meetings (see “What to do when you have no work” in the last issue of Arena), the Demonstration Team is one you should consider as, according to Bro Patrick, “it is a brilliant, fantastically delivered and beautiful spectacle, one which, as it is in the first degree, is open to everyone from the newest initiate to Grand Officers”.
If you are interested in having the Demonstration Team perform the abbreviated Lectures in your Lodge, then there is no cost to the Lodge for doing so – the Team even pay for their own dining! – all that is asked is that the evening’s charity collection is a donation to the Metropolitan Grand Stewards’ Lodge relief chest.
To book the Team, contact:
W Bro Alan Giddings LGR at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07957 881 289.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 40 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 40 here.