Officers of the Lodge
In most Lodges there are eleven non-progressive officers and seven progressive officers.
Lodge officers are recognisable by the jewels suspended from their Lodge collars (these are illustrated below) and from the positions they occupy in a Lodge.
The Progressive Officers
Usually, each year a Brother would progress through these offices on a path from Steward, via the Deacons and Wardens, to the highest honour within a Lodge – the Worshipful Master. However, each office is subject to the choice of the Master for the year.
This is the first office held in the Lodge. The Stewards’ main function is to assist at the dinner following the Lodge meeting (the Festive Board).
The Inner Guard sits just inside the door of the Lodge. He is responsible for checking that all those who enter the Lodge are qualified to do so.
Junior and Senior Deacons
The Deacons accompany the candidate during the ceremonies of the Three Degrees in the Lodge. The collar jewel for both Deacons is identical. They carry a wand as a badge of their office.
Junior and Senior Wardens
The Senior Warden sits opposite the Master at the West end of the Lodge and is usually the next Master. The Junior Warden sits in the South of the Lodge and will normally progress to Senior Warden. It is the role of the Junior Warden to ensure that no unqualified person enters the Lodge. Although their roles are different, they work together by assisting the Master in running the Lodge.
The Master (Worshipful Master)
The Master is elected by the Lodge members every year and is then installed in to his office. He is usually Master for one year. He is in charge of the Lodge during his tenure of office and acts as its chairman.
He also normally conducts the ceremonies in the Lodge. Being elected and installed as Master is the highest honour a Lodge can bestow on any of its members.
The Non-Progressive Officers
These offices are usually occupied by members who are Past Masters of the Lodge and tend to be occupied by the same person for a number of years, to provide continuity and experience.
They are also appointed by the Master annually, except the Treasurer and Tyler, who are elected. The Immediate Past Master is normally the preceding year’s WM. Some Lodges formally appoint a Mentor to look after new members.
Immediate Past Master (IPM)
Although not actually an office (as the position is his by right), the IPM is normally the previous Master and acts as a guide and support to the Master when needed. He sits on the immediate left of the Worshipful Master.
All meetings begin and end with prayer and it is the role of the Lodge Chaplain to lead the members in this part of the meeting.
The Treasurer is responsible for Lodge finances. He produces annual accounts, which are audited before being approved by the Lodge. Subscriptions are decided in Lodge on the Treasurer’s recommendation.
The Secretary has responsibility for the smooth administration of the Lodge. He is the main conduit for communication from Grand Lodge and his Provincial Grand Lodge (if the Lodge is out of London) or from the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London.
He is also responsible for organising and distributing the summons notifying the members of the agenda for the next meeting.
Director of Ceremonies – DC
The role of the DC is to organise and oversee the ceremonies held in the Lodge and to ensure all other officers concerned in any ritual are aware of their roles. This is usually achieved by meticulous rehearsals. It is also part of his responsibilities to see that the ceremonies are conducted with dignity and decorum.
The Almoner is the Lodge welfare officer. He maintains contact with the widows of members and with those who are ill or indisposed. He is also trained to assist those who are in financial need. He therefore has a knowledge of the variety of resources that exist in time of need.
The role of the Charity Steward is to organise the charity collections in the Lodge and to suggest to the Lodge to which charities (Masonic or non-Masonic) the members may wish to subscribe.
Assistant Director of Ceremonies – ADC
The role of the ADC is to assist and to understudy the Director of Ceremonies in his office.
The role of the Assistant Secretary is to help and understudy the Secretary. In some Lodges he has responsibility for the dining arrangements.
The Tyler guards the outside of the door to the entrance of the Lodge. It is usually undertaken by an experienced member of the Lodge and is an elected office. He has responsibility for preparing the candidates prior to their entering the Lodge.
The Organist’s role is to provide the music for the meetings and ceremonies. Most Lodges do not have a member with the necessary skills to play the organ and so rely on professional Masonic organists.
Jewel images courtesy of UGLE – Are you thinking of becoming a Freemason publication.