What are Officers in Freemasonry?
Officers in Freemasonry are responsible for the administration of Masonic Lodges. Each Masonic Lodge has a set number of Masonic Officers, the highest of which is the Worshipful Master. Likewise, Grand Lodges have Grand Lodge Officers.
Masonic Officers are in charge of leading and administering Masonic Lodges. The Masonic Officers are themselves Freemason members of the Lodge that they hold office in. They direct Masonic Lodge meetings as well as the overall organization of the Lodge.
Types of Officers
Each Masonic Lodge will have a set number of specific officers, each with a different role. Every Lodge will have a Worshipful Master, who is the leader of the Lodge. Each Masonic Lodge will also have a Secretary and a Treasurer.
In Freemasonry, Officers perform both administrative and ceremonial functions. Let’s go through some of the Offices in a standard Masonic Lodge:
The Worshipful Master
The Worshipful Master of a Lodge is similar to the CEO of a business. He is the highest ranking officer of the Masonic Lodge and is usually appointed on an annual basis. The Worshipful Master holds the highest Office in the Lodge and is considered the leader of the Lodge.
The Worshipful Master chairs the monthly Masonic Lodge meetings and leads the overall direction of the Lodge as well as approving major Lodge decisions. The Worshipful Master is styled “Worshipful Brother”, whereas Masons who haven’t held the position are simply “Brother”.
During Masonic meetings, the Worshipful Master sits in the East of the room, symbolizing the rising of the Sun.
The Lodge Secretary
A very important role within the Masonic Lodge. The Lodge Secretary organizes the Lodges meetings, dates, events and correspondence. He keeps in contact with the members of the Lodge during the month and is the primary contact for communications between his Lodge and other Lodges.
This role often lasts for years due to the experience and expertise needed.
The Treasurer keeps on top of the Lodges finances including payment of bills, collection of membership fees (Lodge Dues) and all things financial. He keeps a record of the accounts and usually has some accounting experience. This role, also tends to last for years.
The Senior Warden
The Senior Warden is 2nd in command of the Lodge and takes over if the Worshipful Master cannot attend the meeting. If the Worshipful Master is the CEO, the Senior Warden is like a Vice-President. Like the Worshipful Master, this office is usually an annual appointment.
During meetings, the Senior Warden sits in the West of the room, symbolizing the setting of the Sun.
The Junior Warden
The Junior Warden is 3rd in command, after the Senior Warden. The Junior Warden is usually responsible for organizing and inviting the Lodge members to the meal after the meeting, known as the Festive Board.
During meetings, the Junior Warden sits in the South of the room.
The Senior Deacon holds the 4th highest office and actually sits directly beside the Worshipful Master. The Senior Deacon plays an important role in the ritual and ceremony of the Masonic Lodge, especially during Masonic degree initiations. The Senior warden passes messages from the Worshipful Master to the Senior Warden.
The Senior Deacon and Junior Deacon (mentioned below) both hold long staffs during Masonic Lodge meetings.
The Junior Deacon, as the name suggests, is the junior counterpart to the Senior Deacon. The Junior Deacon acts as the messenger of the Senior Warden, carrying messages to the Junior Warden.
The Stewards are the most junior roles within the Lodge Officer hierarchy. There’s sort of like interns in a company, on their way to getting promoted to higher offices. They play assistive roles during Lodge meetings and are a good starting point for members of the Lodge looking to move up the Officer ranks.
Each Lodge has a Chaplain that is responsible for the saying of prayers at the start and closing of the Lodge meetings. The Chaplain does not need to be a Chaplain of an organized religion in his actual life, and the prayers are non-denominational. Remember, Freemasonry is not a religion, but it does require you to believe in a Supreme Being.
The Inner Guard is responsible for guarding the door whilst Masonic meetings take place. Anyone who enters or leaves the Lodge room during Masonic meetings, must go through the Inner Guard.
The Inner Guard sits inside the room during Masonic meetings. The Tyler on the other hand, guards the Meeting from outside the room. He stands guard outside the door of the Lodge room.
Masonic Lodges run like a well-oiled multinational corporation. Each Masonic Officer has their role and duty, with the greatest responsibility falling on the Worshipful Master, the CEO of the Lodge. To ensure everyone gets a change, most offices change every year.
If you’re a Freemason reading this, what was your favorite office?
Non-masons also feel free to share your thoughts below, or contact us for questions.