Chapter Protocol

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I have noticed in my travels that some Sr and Jr, Wardens are unfamiliar with their role during the refreshment period errors do occur. In a lot of cases the Chapter or Lodge does not normally have a formal sit-down, head table affair and so when entertaining distinguished guests: are all at sea. If one does not know what to do one tends to be concerned, nervous and upset. In such cases a formal type refreshment would be in order at the last regular meeting just prior to the evening with the guest so that everyone would be aware of what was required. A dress rehearsal as it were. If it is to be informal, make it informal: at a formal evening do not set the tables so half of the companions have their backs to the head table. The ‘J’ or Jr, warden is in charge of refreshments and should name those he wants at the head table and the position they should occupy so there is no milling about at the last minute.

A name plate is an asset. The toastmaster site in the centre of the head table with the guest of honour on his right and the ‘Z’ or Master on his left. If there is no guest of honour the ‘Z’. or Master sits to his right. There is no set position for the others. If a District Superintendent or D.D.G.M. is present in addition to his respective Grand First Principal or Grand Master he can be placed anywhere down the table as he is only representing only himself. If you have a guest speaker he sits to the toastmasters right. The Grand First Principal or Grand Master sits on the right of the guest of honour.

After the main course, or at some other suitable time the toastmaster should rise and announce that he is about to introduce the head table And that those being introduced should stand, remain standing, and the companions hold their applause until all are introduced. He commences by giving his own name and the fact that he is toastmaster. He then starts the introduction on the far left and introduces each in turn up to and including the person on his immediate left. He then continues at his far right and introduces each one in turn to the person on his immediate right. If this person is a guest speaker and is being introduced just before he speaks it is in order to pass him and say, “More about him later”. Then say companions this is your head table”. After applause, sit down.

I would suggest that dinner be over before the first toast is given, which is the toast to the queen and the Craft. The next toast should be to the Grand First Principal, or Grand Master, whether he is present or not. This is to say the least., common courtesy. If he is present he will reply to the toast without invitation. Remember the toast is to the Grand First or Grand Master, and not the office.

The toastmaster should be well prepared, and have arranged well in . advance the persons to propose the various toasts as well as those expected to reply. Do not call on some one at the last minute and remember toasts and replies should not be to long winded.

Neil Clark  P.G.M. Manitoba -  edited by Ex. Comp. Brown 

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