Charity Steward - Officers Duties:
As Charity Steward my responsibilities are to look after the charitable giving of the Lodge. This work has many different aspects;
The first is that as Charity Steward I am also the Treasurer and Secretary of the Waverley Lodge Benevolent Association, which is a registered Charity in its own right. This Charity is set up to receive annual payments from the Lodge Brethren under Deeds of Covenant. Our Deeds of Covenant are actually bank standing orders that run for seven years. All the Lodge Brethren are encouraged to establish such a Deed bearing in mind their personal financial circumstances. Due to our registered charitable status we are able to claim income tax back on our Members’ donations.
The Association has been set up to support the four main Masonic charities:
1.The Freemasons’ Grand Charity, providing help for Freemasons and their families who are experiencing hardship.
2.The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys, providing support that relieves poverty and addresses educational needs.
3.The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution, providing residential, nursing and dementia care for older Freemasons and their dependants.
4.The Masonic Samaritan Fund, providing grants towards the costs of private medical and dental treatment in situations where there would otherwise be a long wait.
My second responsibility is the disbursement of the Lodge ‘Alms Collection’ we hold at every Meeting. The Lodge must vote as to how this money is spent. The recipients of these funds can vary greatly – from supporting National Charities such as the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal to the much more local Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, and many others.
The third responsibility is to encourage the Lodge to support initiatives of the Province of Surrey. The Province holds ‘Festivals,’ which can run for seven or eight years and will support one specific Masonic Charity. The concept behind these Festivals is that each year several Provinces reach the end of their Festival and donate the raised funds. This ensures that each year those Charities receive the proceeds from a specific Provincial Festival, which generally total millions of Pounds!
The fourth responsibility is again to influence the Lodge to support initiatives of the Farnham Masonic Centre. These initiatives are aimed at supporting local charities or events, lifting the profile of Masonry in the town, and letting people know that we are about.
As Charity is such an important Precept in Freemasonry, this is one of the more important Offices, so there is some overlap with the responsibilities and interest of a few of the other Lodge Officers, such as the Treasurer, Lodge Almoner, and the Lodge Membership Officer.