Steward, a Church officer among the Methodists.
1. Methodist Episcopal --The number of stewards on each charge varies from three to nine. They are nominated by the preacher in charge, but the Quarterly Conference has the right of affirmation or rejection. They hold office for one year, subject to reappointment, and by virtue of their office are members of the Quarterly Conference. They should be "men of solid piety, who both know and love the Methodist doctrine and discipline, and of good natural and acquired abilities to transact the temporal business." Their duties are thus defined: "To take an exact account of all the money or other provision collected for the support of preachers, and apply the same as the Discipline directs; to make an accurate return of every expenditure of money, whether to the preachers, the sick, or the poor; to seek the needy and distressed in order to relieve and comfort them; to inform the preachers of any sick or disorderly persons; to tell the preachers what they think wrong in them; to attend the quarterly meetings, and the leaders' and stewards' meetings; to give advice, if asked, in planning the circuit; to attend committees for the application of money to churches; to give counsel in matters of arbitration; to provide elements for the Lord's supper; to write circular letters to the societies in the circuit to be more liberal, if need be; as also to let them know, when occasion requires, the state of the temporal concerns at the last quarterly meeting." One of them is the district steward, who represents his individual Church in the district stewards' meeting; another the recording steward, who makes and preserves the records of the Church. The stewards are amenable to the Quarterly Conference, which has power to dismiss or change them. In the division of the labor between stewards and trustees, the former attend to all the current expenses of the Church for ministerial and benevolent purposes; the latter to all the financial interests connected with the Church property. They have no right to incur any debt which is binding on the property of the Church; and hence it is their duty to complete their collections, and to meet their obligations annually.
2. English Wesleyan. — In this connection the office of steward embraces four departments, viz. circuit, society, poor, and chapel stewards. They are usually appointed at the December quarterly meeting; the society and poor stewards at the first leaders' meeting in January. Their term of office ceases at the end of the year; but they are eligible for reelection for three years successively.
(1.) The duties of the circuit stewards are:
1. To examine at each quarterly meeting the books of the society stewards, and receive moneys raised for support of the ministry.
2. To pay each circuit preacher the allowance due him.
3. To meet all demands for house rent, taxes, etc., and provide suitable furnished homes for the preachers.
4. To keep the accounts of the circuit; to transmit each quarter to the district treasurer of the Children's Fund whatever moneys may be due from the circuit to that fund, or to receive from him what the circuit is entitled to.
5. To attend, during the transaction of monetary business, the sittings of both the annual and financial district meetings.
6. To act as the official channel through which the communications from the circuit are transmitted to the Conference.
7. To audit, in conjunction with the superintendent minister, the accounts of all trust estates in the circuit that are settled on the provisions of the Model Deed.
8. To take the initiative in the invitation of ministers for the ensuing year.
(2.) Duties of the Society Steward. —
1. With the ministers and leaders, to promote the spiritual and temporal interests of the societies.
2. To attend the leaders' and quarterly meetings, and receive and pay over moneys for support of ministers.
3. To provide for The taking of collections.
4. To attend to the supply of the pulpit, and prepare or sign notices intended for announcement from the pulpit; to prepare for the sacrament of baptism, and, in case there is no poor-steward, the Lord's supper and love feasts.
5. To provide, when necessary, a suitable home for the preacher who officiates.
(3.) Duties of the Poor-Stewards.—
1. To attend the leaders' meetings, and pay out, as sanctioned by them, the poor moneys.
2. To furnish the minister with the names of sick and poor members.
3. To provide for the Lord's supper and for love feasts.
4. To keep an accurate account of all receipts and disbursements in reference to the fund.
(4.) Chapel Stewards are appointed by the trustees, in conjunction with the superintendent of the circuit, and on them devolves the general oversight of the chapel and furniture, its cleaning, warming lighting, etc.; to direct the movements of the sexton and pay his salary, and attend meetings of the trustees. See Discipline of the M.E. Church; Simpson, Cyclop. of Methodism, s.v.