By their conduct, their dress, their attendance, their enthusiasm, the proficiency in their work and their attitude, the officers of your lodge set the tone for the entire lodge operation. Each officer can do much to convey to the candidates and to all members of the lodge, the seriousness, the beauty and the honor of Masonry as well as the fun and fellowship. The duties on the following pages are provided as guidelines to achieve the above goals. This idea is core to creating and maintaining a high-quality Masonic experience for those interacting with your Lodge.
This section of the website is developed from "The Traveler's Journey" a publication of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F&AM and available to all members on the Lodge Portal.
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The officers preparing to advance to the next station in line should be prepared sometime during the middle of the year. There is no official line in a lodge. Every member eligible to vote at an election also is eligible to hold office in the lodge. However, most lodges establish an unofficial line that their officers follow as they progress from station to station. The Lodge Officer’s duties outlined in this chapter are based upon an assumed line of progression as follows: Junior Steward - Senior Steward - Junior Deacon - Senior Deacon - Junior Warden - Senior Warden - Worshipful Master.
This line of progression and the respective duties of each position will prepare the officer for the administrative position of Worshipful Master as he progresses through the line. Each officer shall have assigned duties that provide challenges and experiences that prepare him to hold the office of Worshipful Master.
Each officer has the potential of serving his lodge as Worshipful Master. Therefore, it is very important that no Mason should be asked to serve as an officer if you would not be proud to have him as your Worshipful Master. The following duties should be modified and adapted for each lodge as the Master sees fit. They are only to be used as a guideline and as a suggestion for the operation of a lodge.
One of the most important evenings that you can organize during your year as Master is an Advancement Night. On that evening, all the officers assume the stations of the office that they would fulfill in the coming year. Your Senior Warden sits in the East and runs the stated meeting, while the Junior Warden sits in the West to assist him. The Senior Deacon moves into the South, etc. You as the Master get to take the evening off, almost. You do need to sit down with your Senior Warden and walk him through all the things that might come up that evening. If he is to name an investigating committee or have a report or summary of an upcoming event, make sure that he is prepared before putting him in front of the lodge.
Planning for this evening should begin in early fall. Let everyone know the date of the event well in advance. This allows everyone to start preparing for that evening. Your purpose is to help prepare them for their future roles. You may want to consider having a rehearsal for officers prior to the Advancement Night. You can then help all of them be well prepared. This kind of event should be held toward the end of the year, in October or November.
Maxwell's Law of Legacy states that an effective leader helps those behind him to be better than he was. Much of your success as a Master will be in helping prepare all the officers behind you to be the best that they can be. You can only do that by sharing information and encouraging each of them throughout the year.
The following topics apply to the operation of all lodges.
Only one person present during a degree should be allowed to prompt. Multiple prompting, no matter how well intended, results in confusion and spoils the effect of the ritual. The officer in charge should either do the prompting or assign a prompter. All others should remain quiet.
Special Duties of the Officer in Charge
This refers to the Master, in the case of Stated Meetings and all Degrees. It is to be noted that in some lodges, this role is handled by the Senior Warden for Second Degrees, and the Junior Warden for First Degrees. The Officer in Charge should be personally responsible for the following:
Prepare a list of the Brethren assigned to fill each station during the degree. Inform them in advance, of the station that they are to fill, giving them time to go over the work before the degree night.
See that the Tyler knows the degree and the candidate’s name(s) so that he is properly informed when greeting visitors.
Be responsible, both inside and outside the lodge room, for all decorum, visitor’s comfort and introductions.
If a visitor is to take part in the work, make sure that he is reasonably proficient in the work involved.
When preparing to close, see that sideliners who are not proficient in the closing ritual are removed from the stations they have filled during the degree.
Suggested Duties of Lodge Officers
Below is a very detailed explanation of each officer and their duties. This is a great starting point for your lodge to create its own officers’ duty list. You may wish to require some ritual work be added to different offices, in addition to what each officer must learn. As difficult as it is, if each outgoing Master would learn a lecture, in just a few years, your lodge will have two to three members capable of performing any of the lectures.
However, a suggestion is just that, nothing more. A Master has wide latitude in allocating duties but in doing so, keep these limitations in mind:
The Bylaws of the Grand Lodge
The Bylaws of your Lodge
The special utilities of each officer
The following is a suggested model. It will need to be adapted to meet the special requests of your lodge and the differing abilities of each line officer. This accounts for all the values which will have to be done by someone. Make sure that every task that needs to be done is assigned to someone.