In the Lodge there are thirteen non-progressive officers and seven progressive officers.
Lodge officers are recognisable by the jewels suspended from their Lodge collars and from the positions they occupy in a Lodge.
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 / confirmation of the Master for the year.
Steward is usually the first Office that 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, although theoretically they may be called upon to fill a vacant position in the Lodge should they be qualified to do so.
The Inner Guard position is just inside the Lodge to the left of the Senior Warden. He 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 with the Tyler that everything is in order before entrance is allowed into the Lodge by means of a challenge.
The Junior Deacon is located at the right of the Senior Warden and has a particular role to play in the ceremony of Initiation as well as assisting the Senior Deacon in the other ceremonies.
The Senior Deacon is located at or near the right of the Worshipful Master and 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). He is also required to assist the Junior Deacon 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!) Note in other Lodges, mainly those of Emulation Workings this is the duty of the Junior Deacon.
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 Warden is located in the South of the Lodge and when required will suspend the Lodge at the appropriate moment during ceremonies. He is particularly responsible for the visitors who may be present. It is he who must ensure that visitors are bona fide Masons with the help of the Tyler and Inner Guard before allowing them into the Lodge and it is 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.
The Senior Warden is located opposite the Worshipful Master at the West end of the Lodge and carries out tasks delegated to him by the Worshipful Master. He 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 Worshipful Master’s location is at the East end of the Lodge and he is elected by the Lodge Members having previously occupied the offices of Wardens. He normally serve for one year unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The honorific “Worshipful” is a courtesy title.
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 Worshipful 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.)
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 Worshipful Master annually, except the Treasurer and Tyler. The Immediate Past Master is normally the preceding year’s Worshipful Master.
Although not actually an officer of the Lodge (since he takes this office by for one year after completing the previous year as Worshipful Master), the Immediate Past Master nevertheless has an important role to play as he acts as a guide and support to the Worshipful Master and is expected to stand in for him should he for any reason not be present at a meeting. He sits on the immediate left of the Worshipful Master.
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.”
The Treasurer is responsible for Lodge finances and will collect the annual subscriptions and the dinning fees for the Festive Board.
He produces annual accounts, which are audited before being approved by the Lodge. Subscriptions are decided in open 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 United Grand Lodge and 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.
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 rehearsals. It is also part of his responsibilities to see that the ceremonies are conducted with dignity and decorum.
He should liaise with the Tyler to ensure that the Lodge Room is set out for the meeting. In the absence of a Tyler it is his responsibility to carry out that task.
He is responsible for making many of the various announcements required both in the meeting and at the Festive Board.
The Lodge Mentor 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 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 Lodge Membership Officer’s duty is to develop the concept of pro-active recruitment within the Lodge. Providing a link / opportunity to connect with men who currently have no Masonic connections and wish to find out more about Freemasonry and those who come to masonry through the traditional route.
He is to ensure the Promotion of Freemasonry at all appropriate opportunities; including community shows, exhibitions, open days at Masonic Halls etc., and following up of any membership enquires.
Assisting the Lodge in developing and implementing membership strategies, with a view to attracting suitable candidates.
Helping to identify and share ‘best practice’ which is expected to have a positive impact on candidate growth and contribute towards improving retention.
The role of the Charity Steward 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. He may also suggest to the Lodge to which charities (Masonic or non-Masonic) the members may wish to subscribe.
He is also the conduit for communication between the Masonic Charitable Foundation and the Relief Chest Scheme
The role of the ADC is to assist and / or understudy the Director of Ceremonies in his office.
The role of the Assistant Secretary is to help and / or understudy the Secretary
The Tyler remains outside the door of the Lodge at all times while it is open. He is often a senior and experienced Brother. If he is not a member of the Lodge he will be paid for his services 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.
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 who is paid by the Lodge for his services.