Officer’s Roles and Responsibilites

The Officer Line Defined

As in every well-regulated Masonic Lodge, Alki Lodge has an Officer Line.  Here we examine the Officer positions, and the roles and responsibilities of each position in the Line.

There are two types of officers, Elected and Appointed.  The Elected Officers are chosen by the Lodge, the Appointed Officers are chosen by the Brother elected as Worshipful Master.  The elections for Alki’s officer line generally occur during the November Stated Communication.

Alki Lodge #152 Installation of 2014 officers, December 8, 2013

Alki Lodge #152 Installation of 2014 officers, December 8, 2013

The Elected Officers are:

  • Worshipful Master
  • Senior Warden
  • Junior Warden
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

The Appointed Officers are:

  • Senior Deacon
  • Junior Deacon
  • Senior Steward
  • Junior Steward
  • Chaplain
  • Marshal
  • Tyler

We talk about “advancing through the officer line.”  We say that because there are certain positions that a Brother traditionally “advances” through as he makes his journey to the Oriental Chair.  These positions start with the Stewards, advance through the Deacons and the Wardens, and ends with the Worshipful Master.  The other positions (Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain, Marshal, and Tyler) are typically filled by Brethren for multiple years, but there is no requirement for that, nor should any assumption be made about who is filling the roles.  It is the responsibility of the incoming Worshipful Master to ensure that all appointed positions are filled.

If you would like to become part of the Officer Line (I and the rest of the Brethren would heartily encourage you to take this step), there are a few resources that you should be familiar with outside of this document.

  • Read and become familiar with the Ciphers of all degrees.  Most of what you will be saying and doing are in the Cipher.  It is awkward and can be embarrassing to forget your lines, and it happens to all of us.  A familiarity with the Cipher helps prevent this.
  • Read and become familiar with the Monitor.  That which is not in the Cipher will be in the Monitor.  There is a large amount that falls into this category.
  • This may sound like repetition, but if you pay particular attention to the “Installation of Officers” section of the Monitor, you will find that the installation ritual contains a very good description of what each officer is supposed to do.  This isn’t just a ceremonial speech, it’s what we, and the Grand Lodge of Washington State expect you to do.
  • Obtain a copy of the “Lodge Officers Handbook,” and familiarize yourself with it.  This is where you find out how such activities as balloting are conducted.

It all sounds daunting, but don’t let that discourage you.  Becoming an Officer in the Lodge is one of the best ways to learn about Masonry and to meet the Brethren.

As the roles and responsibilities are described, keep in mind that this is the way we do it in Alki Lodge.  The way it is organized in different Lodges will differ as a matter of custom.

Worshipful Master

The buck stops here.  The Worshipful Master is in charge of the Lodge, and acts as a (hopefully) benevolent dictator.  Everything in the Lodge begins and ends with the Worshipful Master.  He plans the structure of the year, he appoints the appointed officers, he appoints committees, he runs the meetings.  Since this is a larger job than one man can perform, it is expected that he will delegate roles to the rest of the officer line.  If there is something that needs to be done, odds are that the Worshipful Master will need to be involved.

The Master’s jewel of office is the right angle of a square, a stonemason’s tool used for checking the angles of cut and smoothed stones. It is not a measuring square, like carpenters use. It’s used to make certain an angle is “true.” It symbolizes virtue.

If there will be a memorial in the next Communication, Stated or Special, the Worshipful Master should inform the Chaplain at least a day before the meeting so that the Chaplain may ensure that he remembers the Prayer.

The Worshipful Master is responsible for acknowledging the salute of any member entering or leaving an open Lodge.

The Worshipful Master is the head of the Finance Committee, and must sign off on any bills to be paid.

During the first meeting of his year, the Worshipful Master will appoint an Audit Committee, which will be tasked with auditing the financial records of the previous year, giving a report to the Lodge, and transmitting a copy of the report to the Grand Lodge.

On special events that require catering service, the Worshipful Master takes care of sending the invitations out and ensures that reservations are handled properly.

According to Grand Lodge rules, only sitting Worshipful Masters and Past Masters can vote in Grand Lodge.  If this is your first time in the East, it is also the first time that you will be eligible to participate in Grand Lodge.  Take advantage of this, go to Grand Lodge.

Senior Warden

The Senior Warden is in charge of the Deacons.  He is also in charge of the fund raising functions of the Lodge.  It is also to be noted that since his time in the East is rapidly approaching, he should be spending a significant amount of time planning and scheduling his year and his Installation, since by the time the hat is placed on his head, he will have time only for executing his previously made plans.

The Senior Warden’s jewel of office is the level, a stonemason’s instrument used to check the level of horizontal surfaces. It symbolizes that all Masons meet on the level, without regard to social, political, or religious status.

It is the responsibility of the Senior Warden to schedule and cast the team necessary for conferring the Master Mason degree, and while he is not obligated to confer the degree himself, he should give serious thought to doing so.  See the list of Roles for a Master Mason Conferral for assistance.

Because of the positioning of the lighting controls in the Lodge Room, the Senior Warden is also in charge of controlling the lighting during the appropriate moments in the Opening and Closing of the Lodge, and at other times that the ritual requires it.  Because the controls can be confusing, it is suggested that the incoming Senior Warden seek out instruction in their operations.

It is the Senior Warden’s responsibility to introduce any visiting Senior Wardens.

If the Worshipful Master is unavailable, it is the Senior Warden’s responsibility to open and close the Lodge.

If the Worshipful Master has to leave the Lodge Room for any reason, the Senior Warden will take over the Worshipful Master’s duties.

The Senior Warden is a member of the Finance Committee, and must sign off on any bills to be paid.

Every year the Grand Lodge puts on a Warden’s Conference.  As Senior Warden, you will be invited to attend.  It covers topics such as planning your year, planning your installation, it offers up ideas for programs you can introduce into your Lodge, and more importantly gives you an opportunity to meet Brothers throughout the state who are, like you, working diligently to become ready for their time in the East.  The Lodge will pay for this conference, and that includes room and board.  It would be a mistake not to take advantage of this opportunity to gain knowledge.  Go.

Junior Warden

The Junior Warden is in charge of the Stewards.  He is also in charge of the food, arranging for the hosting of the Pot Luck Dinners that traditionally precede our Stated Communications, arranging catering if needed, and if any other event requires some sort of refreshment, it is his responsibility to arrange it.  It is expected that he will use the Stewards to assist him.  On special events that require catering service, the Junior Warden is in charge of arranging the catering needs which includes taking reservations (RSVPs) and coordinating with the caterers.

The Junior Warden’s jewel of office is the plumb, a stonemason’s instrument used for checking the alignment of a vertical surface. It symbolizes upright behavior among Masons.

It is the responsibility of the Junior Warden to schedule and cast the team necessary for conferring the Fellowcraft degree, and while he is not obligated to confer the degree himself, he should give serious thought to doing so.  See the list of Roles for a Fellowcraft Mason Conferral for assistance.

The Junior Warden is the Toastmaster for any event.  During refreshments, if any announcements need to be made, and they aren’t to be made by the Worshipful Master, it is the Junior Warden’s responsibility to make the announcement.  During the refreshment period after a degree conferral, it is the Junior Warden’s responsibility to choose speakers — the candidate himself is always the second to last speaker, and the Worshipful Master will always be the final speaker.

It is the Junior Warden’s responsibility to introduce any visiting Junior Wardens.

The Junior Warden is a member of the Finance Committee, and must sign off on any bills to be paid.

The Junior Warden should be familiar with the operation of the building facilities, including but not limited to the lights (interior and exterior), the heating, and the steps necessary to secure the building.  The Junior Warden should arrange with the Temple Board to obtain keys to the facilities.

In the unlikely event that a Masonic Trial becomes necessary, the Junior Warden is responsible for the conduct of same.

Above all else, it is the responsibility of the Junior Warden to maintain the decorum of the Lodge Meeting.

Every year the Grand Lodge puts on a Warden’s Conference.  Since it is expected that you will be elected into the Senior Warden’s office for the next year, you will be invited to attend.  It covers topics such as planning your year, planning your installation, it offers up ideas for programs you can introduce into your Lodge, and more importantly gives you an opportunity to meet Brothers throughout the state who are, like you, working diligently to become ready for their time in the East.  The Lodge will pay for this conference, and that includes room and board.  It would be a mistake not to take advantage of this opportunity to gain knowledge.  Go.

Senior Deacon

It is the responsibility of the Senior Deacon to be the messenger between the Worshipful Master and the Senior Warden, and anything else asked of him by the Worshipful Master or the Senior Warden.

The Senior Deacon’s jewel is a square and compass, with a sun in the middle. The sun signifies that his position is in the east, with the Master.

The Senior Deacon will introduce any visiting Brothers not introduced by the Senior or Junior Wardens.

The Senior Deacon is responsible for controlling access to the Lodge Room via the door to the Preparation Room, and if an alarm is caused at the door, he must report it to the Worshipful Master.

It is the responsibility of the Senior Deacon to schedule and cast the team necessary for conferring the Entered Apprentice degree, and while he is not obligated to confer the degree himself, he should give serious thought to doing so.  See the list of Roles for an Entered Apprentice Conferral for assistance.

The Senior Deacon will assist the Senior Warden and Junior Deacon during the initial purge of the lodge.

The Senior Deacon is responsible for the opening and the closing of the Great Lights.

Every year the Grand Lodge puts on a Warden’s Conference.  Since, as a Senior Deacon, it is expected that you will most likely be elected to be the next Junior Warden, you will be invited to attend.  It covers topics such as planning your year, planning your installation, it offers up ideas for programs you can introduce into your Lodge, and more importantly gives you an opportunity to meet Brothers throughout the state who are, like you, working diligently to become ready for their time in the East.  The Lodge will pay for this conference, and that includes room and board.  It would be a mistake not to take advantage of this opportunity to gain knowledge.  Go.

Junior Deacon

It is the responsibility of the Junior Deacon to be the messenger between the Senior Warden and the Junior Warden, and anything else asked of him by the Worshipful Master or the Senior Warden.

The Junior Deacon’s jewel of office is the square and compass, like his senior counterpart. The difference is that the Junior Deacon’s jewel has a moon in the center, signifying that he is in the west.

The Junior Deacon is responsible for controlling access to the Lodge Room via the main door, and if an alarm is caused at the door, he must report it to the Worshipful Master.

The Junior Deacon is responsible for ensuring the the Tyler is adequately guarding the door of the Lodge Room.

Senior Steward, Junior Steward

It is expected that the Stewards will arrive at the meeting place early, and assist in the preparation of the meeting and dining areas.

The Stewards’ officers jewels are the same: a cornucopia, or “horn of plenty,” symbolizing — what else? — lots of food. Masons love to eat and will find any excuse they can to have a breakfast, luncheon, or dinner to commemorate just about anything.

The Stewards are responsible for the preparation of the food, and in that regard are under the control of the Junior Warden.  Typically they will be excused from the Lodge early to enable them to prepare the refreshments for after the meeting.

The Stewards should be familiar with the operation of the facilities, including but not limited to the lights (interior and exterior), the heating, and how to secure the building.

I cannot emphasize this enough — know how the coffee machine works.  It looks simple, but it is not.  It is old, and requires much time to come up to speed.  Expect to start it up at least an hour before you want to be serving coffee.  And Freemasons without coffee is not a pretty sight.

The Stewards will flank the Marshal during the flag presentation and the retiring of the same.

Secretary

The Secretary controls all communication flowing into and out of the Lodge, which includes but is not limited to all reports to be filed with the Grand Lodge, notification of Dues to be Paid, Scrolls of Remembrance, and other matters of communication.

The Secretary’s Jewel of office is the Crossed Quill Pens, as the Secretary is the lodges Recorder.

The Secretary will receive all bills to be paid, and when approved for payment, will transmit them to the Treasurer after they have been approved by the three members of the Finance Committee.

Treasurer

The Treasurer tracks all of the stocks and accounts of the Lodge, and will provide a report of such to the Worshipful Master.

The Treasurer’s 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 will pay any bills that have been approved by the Finance Committee and given him by the Secretary.

Chaplain

The Chaplain is responsible for delivering any Prayers that may be needed during the Lodge Meeting.

The Chaplin’s Jewel of office is an opened book, symbolizing 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 will deliver Grace before our meals.

Marshal

The Marshal is responsible for presenting and retiring the flag of our nation.

His Jewel is the Crossed Batons. The Marshal is the Lodge’s Conductor or Master of Ceremonies.

The Marshal’s duties and principle role is the organization of processions and ensuring the correct precedence and etiquette in formal proceedings.

Tyler

The Tyler is responsible for guarding the door of the Lodge room, for ensuring that an Brethren requiring admittance are properly dressed and vouched for, and will inform them of the degree the Lodge is open under so that they may give the proper salute at the altar.

The Tyler’s 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 defense of his post.

The Tyler controls the Tyler’s Register, which will be signed by all Brethren attending the Lodge Meeting.

The Tyler is responsible for ensuring that the Lodge Room is properly set up for the ensuing Lodge Meeting.

In Conclusion

This list is most likely not complete, and will be updated when errors and omissions are identified.  Again I repeat that this list represents the way that Alki Lodge works, and may not represent the way that other Lodges are run, even Lodges in the same jurisdiction.

It is my wish that this document becomes an important resource for active and prospective Lodge Members, and for the Brethren in general.

So Mote It Be.