Officers of The Lodge
In the Lodge of Unity there are ten non-progressive offices and seven progressive officers.
Lodge officers are recognised from their Lodge collars and from the positions they occupy in a Lodge.
The Progressive Officers
Usually, each year, at our installation meeting in January, a Brother will progress through these offices on a path from Steward, via the Deacons and Wardens, to the highest honour with the Lodge – the Worshipful Master.
However, each office is subject to the choice of the Master for the year.
This is the first office held in the Lodge. the Stewards’ main function is to assist at the festive board (dinner following the meeting). The stewards collect any dining fees and ensures that all visiting brethren and catered for.
The Chief Steward, although not an official office, is the most senior Steward and is responsible for preparing the table plan each month, liaising with the rooms manager and organising the other stewards. He should attend the Lodge committee meetings to ensure all preparations are in order for the festive board.
Assistant Secretary (AS)
The next progressive office in The Lodge of Unity is that of Assistant Secretary. This is one of the most relaxing positions and requires little preparation. At each meeting the Assistant Secretary is required to read an antient charge and bye-law. By the end of the year he will have read all the charges and bye-laws. He also reads an antient minute at each meeting.
Inner Guard (IG)
The Inner Guard sits just inside the door of the Lodge. He is responsible for checking that all those who enter the Lodge and qualified to do so.
Junior and Senior Deacons (JD & SD)
The Deacons accompany the candidate during the ceremonies of the three degrees in the Lodge. The collar jewel for both deacons is identical. They carry a wand as a badge of their office.
Junior and Senior Wardens (JW & SW)
The Senior Warden sits opposite the Master at the West end of the Lodge and is usually the next Master. The Junior Warden sits in the South to ensure that no unqualified person enters the Lodge. Although their roles are different, they work together by assisting the Master in running the Lodge.
The Worshipful Master (WM)
The Master is elected by the Lodge members every December and is then installed into his office by the outgoing Master at our January meeting. He is usually Master for one year. He is in charge of the Lodge during his tenure of office and acts as its chairman.
He also normally conducts the ceremonies in the Lodge. Being elected and installed as Master is the highest honour a Lodge can bestow on any of its members.
The Non-Progressive Officers
These officers are usually occupied by members who are Past Masters of the Lodge and may be occupied by the same person for several years to provide continuity and experience.
They are also appointed by the Master annually, except the Treasurer and Tyler, who are elected each year by the members.
The Immediate Past Master (IPM)
Although not actually an office (as the position is his by right), the IPM is normally the previous Master and acts as a guide and support to the Master when needed. He sits on the immediate left of the Worshipful Master and acts as ‘prompt’ for the Lodge. He is the only members with an open ritual book during ceremonies.
All meetings begin and end with prayer and it is the role of the Lodge Chaplain to lead the members in this part of the meeting.
The Treasurer is responsible for Lodge finances. He produces annual accounts, which are audited before being approved by the Lodge. Subscriptions are decided in 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 Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge.
He is also responsible for organising and distributing the summons which notifies the members of the agenda for the next meeting. He also keeps minutes of each meeting and reads the minutes from the previous meeting in open Lodge.
Director of Ceremonies (DC)
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 meticulous rehearsals. It is also part of his responsibilities to see that the ceremonies are conducted with dignity and decorum and, in conjunction with the Tyler, see the Lodge is correctly prepared.
The Almoner is the Lodge welfare officers. He maintains contact with the widows and dependants 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 knowledge of the variety of resources that exist in time of need.
The Lodge Mentor co-ordinates support for each new brother as they are initiated into the Lodge and throughout their Masonic career. It is his duty to promote the Masonic development of the brethren within the Lodge by appointing a more experienced brother to guide and support both new masons, and those taking office, as their Personal mentor. By doing this he will help to lay that solid foundation which is a essential part in helping them to understand and enjoy their Freemasonry.
The role of Charity Steward is to organise the charity collections in the Lodge and to suggest to the Lodge to which charities (Masonic and non-Masonic) the members may wish to subscribe.
Assistant Director of Ceremonies (ADC)
The role of the ADC is to assist and to understudy the Director or Ceremonies in his office.
This is an elected office and in the Lodge of Unity the office of Tyler is normally the previous years Immediate Past Master. The Tyler, in conjunction with the DC, prepares the Lodge before meetings and puts the Lodge furniture away afterwards. He guards the outside of the door to the entrance of the Lodge. He has responsibility for preparing the candidates prior to their entering the Lodge.
The Organist’s role is to provide the music for the meetings and ceremonies.
There are five other offices within the Lodge of Unity…
Lodge of Instruction (LOI) Secretary
As the name suggests The LOI Secretary has similar responsibilities to the Lodge Secretary but only in relation to the Lodge of Instruction. He has responsibility for the smooth administration of the Lodge of Instruction. He is the main conduit for communication from Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge.
He is also responsible for organising and distributing the summons which notifies the members of the agenda for the next meeting. He also keeps minutes of each meeting and reads the minutes from the previous meeting in open Lodge of Instruction.
The Preceptors (teachers) attend the Lodge of Instruction and offer guidance to the brethren on how ceremonies are performed. They are the ‘guardians’ of the Lodge of Unity’s traditions and are senior Past Masters.
The Festival Secretary
The Festival Secretary assists the Worshipful Master to arrange social events during the year.
One brother is appointed to report on events concerning the Provincial Grand Lodge rooms at Stirling Road which may be of interest to members of the Lodge of Unity.
Source: United Grand Lodge of England