Officers of the Lodge
A Freemason's Lodge comprises the following "offices" or positions
This is the name given to the chairman of the lodge. The role of Worshipful Master is taken for one year by one of the brethren, elected to that position by the rest. The honorific "Worshipful" does not imply that he is in any way worshipped, it is simply a courtesy title much as an MP is called the "Honourable Member for..." we are not expected to honour the title bearer! Nevertheless the Worshipful Master plays a pivotal role in the work of the lodge.
It is the Master's prerogative to decide what is to be the business transacted at each lodge meeting, though much of this is governed by the bye-laws of the lodge and the Book of Constitutions.
All the other officers of the lodge are appointed at the sole discretion of the Master; with the exception of the Treasurer (who is elected by ballot), and the Tyler, (who is elected if he is not a member of the lodge.)
Wardens: The Wardens have slightly different but complementary roles in the Lodge and assist the Master to open and close the Lodge and to conduct the rituals.
The Senior Warden carries out tasks delegated to him by the Master and is particularly responsible for closing the lodge. It is usual for the Senior Warden to be next-in-line for the office of Master.
The Junior Warden in known as the Ostensible steward of the lodge and he is particularly responsible for the visitors who may be present. It is he who must ensure that visitors are bona fide Masons before allowing then into the lodge and he who will direct the Stewards to ensure the visitors are well looked after at the Festive Board.
It is usual for the Junior Warden to succeed to the office of Senior Warden.
While Freemasonry is emphatically neither a religion nor a substitute for religion, we do say prayers both in the Lodge and at the Festive Board. It is the Chaplain’s job to lead those prayers.
The prayers are of a non-denominational nature and are offered to “The Great Architect of the Universe.” They always conclude with the words “So mote it be.”
As you might expect, the Treasurer looks after the Lodge finances. It is he who will collect the annual subscription and the dining fees at the Festive Board. Of course, he is also responsible for paying the Lodge's bills
As in every formal meeting, the secretary takes the minutes and deals with the correspondence. He is central to the operation of the lodge though much of his work is done at home.
Director of Ceremonies
The “DC” does precisely what his title implies; he directs the ceremony. He is responsible for keeping the meeting moving and for making many of the various announcements required both in the meeting and at the Festive Board.
The Almoner’s duties are to look after any member or dependant of a member who is sick or in distress or lonely and to establish good communications to reveal early notice of problems. The Almoner is the point of contact within the Lodge whenever help is needed.
His duty is to raise funds for charitable purposes and to encourage every member of the Lodge to give as much as he can readily afford. There are very tax-effective ways of giving, which allow donations to be augmented by the recovery of Income Tax. Regular or lump sums can be donated in this way.
The Lodge Mentor, a relatively new office, is appointed to promote the development of brethren within the Lodge, and to support and integrate new members and those in new offices within the Lodge. The Mentor does not necessarily take all this on himself, but will appoint other experienced members to become a personal mentor to newer members, along guidelines laid down for the office.
The Deacons - The Deacons accompany and instruct Candidates during the various ceremonies. They are responsible for communication between the Worshipful Master and his Wardens and have two of the most interesting and delightful roles in the Lodge. As well as the duties described below, the Deacons are responsible for conducting any ballots which are taken in the Lodge.
The Senior Deacon has a particular role to play in the ceremonies of Passing (to the degree of a Fellowcraft) and Raising (to the sublime degree of a Master Mason) The Senior Deacon is also responsible for conveying the Minute Book from the Secretary to the Worshipful Master after the minutes have been approved by the Brethren.
The Junior Deacon has a particular role to play in the ceremony of Initiation. He is also responsible for ensuring that the correct Tracing Boards are displayed when the Lodge is open (and that they are concealed when the lodge is closed!)
Assistant Director of Ceremonies
The “ADC” assists the DC.
Masonic meetings are normally filled with music provided by the Organist. Keyboard players are as rare as hen’s teeth so if you let on you can play a keyboard, you may get a job!
The Inner Guard reports to the Junior Warden, advises when there is a Candidate or Brother wishing to enter the Lodge after it has been opened, and checks that everything is in order before entrance is allowed into the Lodge.
Steward is usually the first role a new Mason takes on. The Stewards have little responsibility within the Lodge Room but a major role at the Festive Board, where they are expected to look after the visitors and to see that they are comfortable and want for nothing.
Being a Steward is a wonderful opportunity to move around and meet everyone attending a meeting. Often senior members will happily volunteer to act as Steward just to be able to mingle. In the Lodge Room, stewards have the perfect opportunity to concentrate on absorbing all of the ritual without the responsibility of having to deliver any of it.
The Tyler remains outside the door of the Lodge at all times while it is open. He is often a senior and experienced Brother who is not necessarily a member of the Lodge and may well be the Tyler for a number of lodges and other Masonic organisations. His duty is to ensure that Candidates are properly prepared before they enter the Lodge; that any late arrivals or visitors are entitled to enter the Lodge and to ensure that only those who are entitled and are vouched for as Masons enter our Lodge Room.
Immediate Past Master
Although not actually an officer of the Lodge (since he takes this office by for one year after completing the previous year as WM, the Immediate Past Master nevertheless has an important role to play. He is the Worshipful Master’s amanuensis and is expected to stand in for the Worshipful Master should he for any reason not be present at a meeting.