Officers of the Lodge are either elected or appointed and under normal circumstances will serve in their respective office for one year. The Worshipful Master, Treasurer and Tyler are elected by the Brethren in Open Lodge prior to Installation Night (which in our case is the September meeting).
Then there are offices which, though nominally filled by appointment of the Master, in our Lodge usually follow a path from becoming a Steward of the Lodge and passing through the Inner Guard, Deacons and Wardens to the Master's Chair, hence they are considered to be 'progressive'. (In case you think that this progression is 'set in stone' rest assured, in this Lodge no Brother is ever pressured to progress through all of the offices. It is a personal matter for each individual and there have been numerous instances of a Brother deciding that he will best enjoy his masonry without sitting in the Master's Chair).
Finally, there are the offices which are considered 'non-progressive'. They are often filled by Past Masters and are frequently occupied by the same Brother for a number of years in order to provide experience and continuity. They include the Chaplain, Secretary, Lodge Mentor, Almoner and Charity Steward.
The Worshipful Master has the role of supervising all of the different tasks involved in the running of the Lodge. He will be an experienced mason who has shown his ability to successfully participate in all aspects of the Lodge ... this is a very necessary attribute in a Master; as the saying goes 'the buck stops here' and never was it more valid. The Worshipful Master is responsible for all that happens with the Lodge, from the ritual to the social evenings and with everything else in between! (As a quick aside, the Master is not known as 'Worshipful' because we worship him, it is in fact an ancient form of address which implies that the Master is worthy of our respect). Being elected by the Brethren to this office is the highest honour that a Lodge has in its power to bestow upon a Brother.
The Senior and Junior Wardens assist the Worshipful Master in preserving order in the Lodge, both in the Lodge Room and afterwards in the dining room at the Festive Board. Both have additional responsibilities, for instance the Junior Warden has to ensure that all present in the Lodge Room are qualified to be there and as the 'Steward of the Lodge', ensures that the Festive Board runs smoothly and that our Brethren and guests are well looked after. The Senior Warden helps the Worshipful Master in opening and, more especially, closing the Lodge.
The responsibilty of the two Deacons is to aid their respective Wardens in carrying messages to and fro and ensuring that any necessary actions are taken. They also play an active part in the ceremonies in the Lodge Room. This prepares them for their future roles as Warden and hopefully, in time, as Master of the Lodge!
The Inner Guard is posted inside the door of the Lodge Room. Supervised by the Junior Warden, he ensures that none but masons enter.
Steward is normally the first office held by a new Brother. His main duty is to look after his fellow Brethren and the guests at the Festive Board.
The Chaplain leads the Brethren in prayer to both open and close the Lodge in the three degrees. He also participates in the various ceremonies when we call on the Supreme Being to look down on our ceremonies with love and kindness.
The Treasurer is responsible for ensuring that the finances of the Lodge are properly recorded and discharged. He will arrange for his records to be audited once a year and present a statement of accounts in Open Lodge to the Brethren for confirmation.
The Secretary looks after the general administration of the Lodge, ensuring that necessary documents are submitted in due time, summons are sent out to Brethren and guests, rooms are booked and meals ordered and that accurate minutes are recorded and provided to the Brethren following Lodge and committee meetings.
The Director of Ceremonies ensures that all activities in the Lodge run smoothly, from making sure that the participants in ceremonies know their respective parts to maintaining the standards and dignity of the ritual.
The Almoner is the welfare officer of the Lodge. He looks after the widows of former Brothers, their children and others in need. He makes sure that he is fully conversant with the needs of the Brethren, especially those who are unwell or requiring assistance. He has to have a good knowledge of all welfare assistance available, including both financial and health support.
The Charity Steward undertakes the charity collections in the Lodge (our Lodge has the collection during the Festive Board). The Worshipful Master will normally nominate a non-masonic charity of his choice to support during his year in office and the Charity Steward will ensure that this is supported without detriment to other ones, both masonic and non-masonic.
The Tyler is posted outside the door of the Lodge Room. Usually an experienced mason, he prepares the Candidates to be admitted into the Lodge Room during their ceremonies. He is also the first line of defence to prevent non-masons entering the Lodge Room during a meeting.