What is a Lodge? It is not the building, nor is it the room in which the meeting takes place. It is the particular group of Masons combined in a unique way, by the Charter issued to them by the Grand Lodge. They can meet anywhere and at any time subject to complying with the By-Laws and the Constitution. The members can be divided into several classifications as follows: The Past Masters; the Progressive Officers; the Non-progressive Officers and the general membership comprised of Master Masons, Fellow Crafts and Entered Apprentice Freemasons. This page is meant to give you an insight into the various officers and their relationship within the Lodge.
You can click on any Officer to find out what role they play in the Lodge.
The role of the worshipful Master
His Jewel is the Square, which is a stonemason's tool to ascertain true and correct angles of the cut and smoothed stone...thus his Jewel symbolises
The Worshipful Master of a Masonic Lodge is the highest ranking of all Lodge Officers which a Lodge may elect.
The Worshipful Master sits in the East of the Lodge room (symbolic of the rising sun in the East) and directs all of the business of the Lodge. He also presides over ritual and ceremonies.
His position is similar to a CEO of any other organisation. As Master, his word is final over any and all actions pertaining to his Lodge. While the Worshipful Master's rank is highest of all members, his Lodge Officer Duties are the easiest to remember. The Worshipful Master is responsible for every single thing within his lodge during his year as Master. He is ultimately responsible for every other lodge officer and their duties, every lodge committee, ritual and degree work, Masonic education, social functions, fundraisers, District and Grand Lodge liaison.
While Freemasons call the Master, "Worshipful Master", they do not, as some people may erroneously believe, actually worship him. "Worshipful" is an honorary title which shows respect for his position. In France, the word "Worshipful" is replaced with the word "Venerable".
It is no different than respecting the office of the Prime Minister. He would be addressed, formally, as "Prime Minister" rather than by his first name. Likewise, if you go before a judge, you would address him as "Your Honor", rather than by his first name, as a measure of respect that you hold for his office.
The role of the Immediate Past Master
The Immediate Past Master is the last brother to hold the office of Worshipful Master. He has a ceremonial role in the opening and closing of the lodge, and is expected to deputise for the Worshipful Master in the event of his absence or death.
The role of the Director of Ceremonies
The Director of Ceremonies supervises the delivery of ritual and perambulations during the ceremony. He prompts those delivering ritual charges (predetermined speeches) where needed and will coach or correct presenters where necessary. He will attend rehearsals, provide guidance on presentation and movements and run proceedings at the Festive Board (the dinner after the meeting which we also call "The South"). Lastly, he will arrange presenters of ritual and advise the Secretary.
The role of the Senior Warden
His Jewel is the Level...symbolising that all Masons meet on the level, without regard to social, political or religious beliefs or status.
The Senior Warden of a Masonic Lodge is the second in command within the Lodge Officers. In the absence of the Worshipful Master, the Senior Warden assumes the Worshipful Master's duties. The Senior Warden of a Masonic Lodge sits in the West (symbolic of the setting sun) and assists the Worshipful Master in opening and closing the Lodge.
The Senior Warden is in charge of the Lodge when it is at labor. His position is similar to a Deputy Leader or Vice-President of any organisation.
His ancient duties were to pay the Craft (the members of the guild) their wages and to handle disputes among the workers. It is his duty to support the Master and to prepare himself for that office during the following year.
The role of the Junior Warden
His Jewel of Office is the Plumb, which is a stonemason's instrument used for ascertaining the alignment of a vertical surface. It symbolises upright behavior among Masons.
The Junior Warden of a Masonic Lodge is the third in command of the Lodge. The Junior Warden sits in the South (symbolic of the position of the sun at midday) and is responsible for the Brethren while the Lodge is at ease or refreshment.
His position is similar to a Second Vice-President. The Junior Warden, too, may open the lodge if the Master is unable to attend the meeting.
It is the Junior Warden's duty to arrange meals for the lodge, and, typically, the two Stewards act as his assistants in this responsibility.
Symbolically, it is also his duty to make certain that the members do not convert their refreshment into intemperance or excess, or get out of line.
The role of the Chaplain
His Jewel of office is an opened book, symbolising the Volume of Sacred Law (the Christian Bible, Hebrew Torah or Tanach, the Muslim Qur'an, the Hindu Vedas or other Holy Books).
The Chaplain of a Masonic Lodge is an appointed officer of the Lodge. He sits to the left of the Master.
The Chaplain is the spiritual leader of the Lodge. While he may or may not be a real-world Minister, Priest, Rabbi or Imam, in the lodge, the Chaplain is responsible for non-denominational prayers at both the opening and closing of meetings, during degree ritual ceremonies and before meals.
Most Chaplains have no religious training and prayers are non-denominational. The Chaplain's position is similar to that of a Supervisor.
The role of the Treasurer
His Jewel is a Pair of Crossed Keys, signifying he is the Collector and Distributor of all Lodge Monies as he holds the keys to the cashbox.
The Treasurer of a Masonic Lodge is the Chief Financial Officer of the Lodge. He sits to the right of the Secretary. The Treasurer is responsible for all financial transactions. He receives all money, pays all debts by order of the Worshipful Master with the consent of the lodge and renders a report when requested.
The treasurer does not need to be in possession of an accounting degree, however experience with bookkeeping and accounting is an asset. The Treasurer's duties can be likened to a corporate C.F.O. (Chief Financial Officer).
The role of the Secretary
His Jewel is the Crossed Quill Pens. The Secretary is the Lodge's Recorder. The Secretary's Lodge Officer Duties require a high degree of lodge experience, Masonic knowledge, diplomacy and, above all, detailed paperwork skills.
The Lodge Secretary is the backbone of any Masonic Lodge and he holds a position of great responsibility. His duties require him to handle all correspondence to the members, minutes of Lodge meetings, petitions of new candidates, continuous lodge member count, and many other administrative duties. He compiles an ongoing list of each new candidate and which degrees that candidate has undertaken. From his member list, he sends out the annual dues notices and receives dues payments.
He communicates with other Lodges and the Grand Lodge, types letters, retrieves the mail as well as handles many other details. The Secretary's Lodge Officer duties are many, not the least of which is that he must be well versed in Grand Lodge By-Laws for his jurisdiction and his Lodge By-Laws. He keeps the list of Lodge members and helps the Master organize his meetings.
A very experienced member usually resides in this chai and usually he is a Past Master of the Lodge. While it is not a prerequisite, due to the number of hours that this position requires, most (not all) Lodge Secretaries are retired and therefore able to devote the many hours required which are necessary to this position. The Secretary's position is similar to a corporate COO (Chief Operation Officer).
The role of the Senior Deacon
His Jewel is the Dove. His duty is as messenger of the Worshipful Master, hence he does a lot of walking.
The Senior Deacon of a Masonic Lodge is an assistant officer of the Lodge. The Senior Deacon's principle roles are to welcome and escort both visitors and candidates into the lodge.
It is his duty to assist the Worshipful Master and carry orders between the Worshipful Master and the Senior Warden. During degree rituals, he guides the new candidate and conducts him around the Lodge room for the Second and Third Degrees. He also carries the ballot box around the lodge when new members are being voted upon.
The Senior Deacon's position is similar to a Manager. The Senior Deacon (and the Junior Deacon) both carry long staffs (or rods), because as messengers of the Worshipful Master, the staffs are symbolic of the caduceus (or wand) that the Roman winged god and messenger Mercury carried during their duties. Atop the rods are the jewels of their offices.
The role of the Junior Deacon
Like his senior counterpart, the Senior Deacon, the Jewel of his office is Dove, and emblem of a messenger. The Junior Deacon of a Masonic Lodge is an assistant officer of the Lodge. He sits to the lower right of the Senior Warden.
The Junior Deacon's principle roles are to assist the Senior Warden by carrying messages from the Senior Warden in the West to the Junior Warden in the South. He also assists with entry of visitors including Grand Officers.
During degree rituals, he guides the new candidate and conducts him around the Lodge room for their Initiation.
The Junior Warden's position is similar to a Manager.
The role of the Inner Guard
The Inner Guard takes instructions from the Junior Warden and communicates back information he receives from the Tyler. It is his duty to ascertain at all times whether the Tyler is guarding the door and only allowing visitors to enter after they have been properly vouched for. He also assists with admitting candidates for Degrees. The Inner Guard and the Tyler communicate with each other by knocking on the door (the Tyler from the outside...and the Inner Guard from the inside).
The role of the Tyler
His Jewel is the Sword, by which he symbolically refuses entrance to anyone who is uninitiated in the Craft. The sword has no scabbard, as it is his symbolic duty to always have his sword drawn, ready for the defence of his post.
The Tyler of a Masonic Lodge is an appointed officer of the Lodge and is sometimes known as the "Outer Guard". He sits outside the closed door of the lodge room, armed with a sword.
The Tyler's duties and principle role is to ensure that only those who are duly qualified are allowed to enter the Lodge Room. He guards against "Cowans" and "eavesdroppers". During the Middle Ages, a cowan was a man who built stone walls of poor quality. He was an uninitiated or non-apprenticed stonemason...a "jackleg", if you will.
While the Tyler is called upon to assist in the preparation of candidates, his chief duty is to (symbolically) keep unskilled workmen from overhearing the conversation within the Lodge Room.
After the lodge members are inside the Lodge Room, the door closes and it is the Tyler's duty to decide whether late arrivals may enter. It is also his duty to make sure that each visitor is "properly clothed", which means they must be wearing their Masonic apron. The Tiler's position is similar to that of a Supervisor.
The role of the Caring Officer
His jewel of office is two clasped hands within a circle. The Caring Officer is a recently created position in our jurisdiction and any interested and motivated Brother may be elected. The duties of his position require him to contact sick and absent members and report back to the brethren.
The role of the Education Officer
The Lodge Education Officer is appointed by the Master of his Lodge and is responsible to him for the delivery, in conjunction with the District Education Officer, of Masonic education to the members of his Lodge so that they might better recognise and utilise the core values and aims of Freemasonry.
The role of the Membership Officer
The Membership Officer is another recently created position in our jurisdiction. Any interested Brother may be elected to this position.
His duties include the creation and maintenance of a membership attendance register; arrange for contact to be made with Brethren absent from meetings; maintain contact with Brethren and improve relationships; be active in recruiting and interviewing, and generally ensure a viable sustainable membership for the Lodge.
He can promote the Lodge to the community at large and should be involved in interviews with Candidates and attend management meetings to outline his recruitment initiatives.