Masonic Lodges have been in existence for centuries. Their roots date back to the Middle Ages and the influential craftsman guilds that formed along with the middle class of skilled workers. The Freemasons, who are members of Masonic Lodges, have an illustrious list of members: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, Henry Ford and Harry Houdini are just a few. Officer roles are progressive and clearly defined, with junior officers moving up in rank in turn after each one-year term. The officer roles, and the duties that ascribe to them, are open knowledge.
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The worshipful master is the head of the lodge and presides over all meetings. His role is akin to president, and his say on matters is final. While he has final authority, he also has final responsibility for the actions of the lodge. He is personally accountable for every thing that occurs inside the lodge and by its members during his term of office.
The senior warden is the second-in-command of the lodge and acts in place of the worshipful master when he is absent. He takes part in opening and closing duties and is automatically in line for the office of worshipful master the following year.
The junior warden is next in line in the chain. He is responsible for arranging food and drink and for keeping an eye on lodge members during meals and social events. He can also act in the worshipful master's place if the senior warden cannot and is the messenger for the master.
Senior and Junior Deacons
The deacon offices are associate positions. The senior deacon is a host and escort for candidates and visitors. He also has specific roles in rituals and ceremonies. The junior deacon is in charge of guarding the lodge door from the inside.
Senior and Junior Stewards
The stewards are appointed by the worshipful master. Both stewards assist the junior warden with refreshments. The senior steward acts as the understudy for the junior deacon and fills in for him when he is absent. The junior deacon helps get candidates ready for the initiation ritual and acts as escort to the ritual.
The treasurer is an elected office and is responsible for all the money and for paying all bills. He prepares financial reports as needed. This is a non-progressive position and many are re-elected.
The secretary is an elected office responsible for handling the membership lists and information, as well as all correspondence within the lodge. He is the general administrator and must be very knowledgeable about all bylaws. Many secretaries are former worshipful masters and are elected like the treasurers.
The marshal oversees all ceremonies for form and correctness. His has an appointed, non-progressive position.
The tiler, or tyler, sits outside the door of the lodge room. He acts as a form of bouncer, keeping strangers out and denying entry to members who are not properly dressed. The tiler is appointed and is a non-progressive position.
The chaplain is an appointed, non-progressive position that leads non-denominational prayer at the open and close of ceremonies. He is the lodge's spiritual leader.
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