Provincial Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Surrey
Duties of a Lodge Charity Steward

Introduction
In the past, many Mark Lodges appointed “Charity Representatives” even though the position was unofficial. This situation was regularised in 1975 with the institution of the office of “Charity Steward”, thereby creating a clear distinction between the functions of the collection of charitable donations and the disbursement thereof by the Almoner.

It is difficult to define the duties of the Charity Steward because there is so much room for discretion in the ways that charity can be collected and applied, and there can be major variations between Lodges, dependent upon the views of the membership as to what is appropriate for them.

This leaflet is offered to provide guidance to those Brethren who have accepted appointment within their lodges as Charity Steward It covers the activities undertaken at the Provincial level to attract charitable donations, and the duties he may expect to have recommended to him by his Worshipful Master, and/or Lodge committee.

Duties of a Charity Steward
The Charity Steward may have some or all of the following duties recommended to him:

To collect or supervise the collection of donations/alms at each meeting, according to the customs of the Lodge.
To undertake personally, or to organize, such general events of fund-raising activities as may be agreed by the Lodge.
To encourage the Lodge in promoting and organising events in aid of the MBF Mark 2022 Festival appeal
In conjunction with the Almoner, to disburse donations collected according to the wishes of the Worshipful Master, and/or Lodge committee.
Familiarise himself with the regular or continues payment promise procedure with regards to the Mark Benevolent Fund Mark 2022 Festival appeal, to keep stocks of the appropriate forms (which can also be downloaded direct from the Provincial website – click here), to provide them to brethren on request, and advise on their completion.
To maintain records, where appropriate, of ongoing commitments, donations, and regular payment promises for the benefit of the Lodge members.
To ensure a smooth handover to his successor, when the time comes, including the transfer of membership records.

Provincial Initiatives
There are several initiatives at the Provincial level for fund-raising. It is to be hoped that brethren will be encouraged to support these initiatives, in addition to those at his Lodge level. The principal initiatives are:

The Annual Meeting, normally on the 4th Monday in March each year.

The Annual Cricket Match between Surrey, Middlesex, Sussex and Kent, normally held in June. The venue rotates between the Provinces, and, therefore, Surrey hosts once every 4 years. Full information can be obtained from the Provincial website.

The Annual Cha Di Da, Dinner Dance held on the last Saturday in October.
Biennial Church Service normally held on the 4th Sunday in April in odd years.
Various fund raising Provincial activities connected to the MBF Mark 2022 Festival Appeal.

The Lodge Charity Stewards should mention these events (as appropriate) during their report to each of their meetings in the year. From time to time, there will be other initiatives to be reported, and the Lodge Secretary will also be advised of these.

Surrey Mark Provincial Benevolent Fund - MBF Mark 2022 Festival Appeal
Lodge Charity Stewards Should encourage their Lodges and Brethren to support both the MBF 2022 Festival Appeal, which is a registered charity and both contribute towards the Scrip Purse award presented annually at the AGM.

The most efficient method by which a Brother can contribute is by a regular payment promise. This is a simple and straightforward document which each Lodge Charity Steward should have readily available. It can be downloaded from the Provincial website: click here.

While a regular monthly payment is the best method, payments can be made quarterly, half-yearly or annually. Typical amounts are £5 per month (£60 per annum), with a suggested minimum of £24 per annum i.e £2.00 per month. (Brethren wishing to donate less than £60 per annum are earnestly requested to pay annually, as this considerably reduces the workload imposed on the Provincial Grand Treasurer). Regular payment promises can be cancelled by giving one month’s notice in writing. Tax reclamation is currently 28.1%, and is of great value to the Provincial Benevolent Fund and MBF Mark 2022 Festival Appeal.

At the bottom of this leaflet is a suggested layout of the record to be maintained by the Lodge Charity Steward of all those regular payment promises entered into by the members of his Lodge. As a Lodge Charity Steward moves on, this booklet should be handed over to his successor, who will need to monitor the position in the future.

The Provincial Benevolent Fund also benefits from the surplus realized from the sale of Provincial, and Officers’ Mess, ties, lapel pins and cufflinks. Order forms are held by the Lodge Secretary, together with the price list.

Scrip Purse
It should be remembered that the Lodge best adjudged to have supported the MBF 2022 Festival appeal in any one fiscal year wins a coveted Scrip Purse. Lodge Charity Stewards are in the vanguard of this work, which is based both on individual and collective payments.

Festivals
The 2022 Festival is in support of the MARK BENEVOLENT FUND which is a general fund (similar to the Craft's Grand Charity) and in 2018 will celebrate 150 years of helping our members who find themselves in distressed circumstances. The Fund also supports many non-Masonic charities and worthy causes which benefit our community at large, for instance a major grant of £1.6m to the RNLI to help fund a new life boat operating out of Pembrokeshire, over £2m to Addenbrooke's Hospital Trust for machines to help in the diagnosis of prostate cancer and a pledge for £2.6m has been made to the Hope For Tomorrow Cancer Charity for the purchase of mobile chemotherapy units throughout the UK. There are also many smaller grants to various UK charities. The MBF can only continue to assist our Brethren and other Worthy Causes by our collective and individual support - Collectively by Provinces and Lodges supporting the Annual Festivals and individually by regular payments by Brethren to this fund (for more information see the 2022 Festival pages).

Provincial Benevolent Committee
Details of the structure of this Committee are contained within the by-laws of the Province. Charity donations by this Committee are announced at the Annual Meeting.

If in any doubt or difficulty, please contact the Provincial Grand Charity Steward, W. Bro. Stewart Butcher.

Email: provchstew@markmastermasons.org.uk