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  About Freemasonry

OFFICERS (The Chairs)

Each Masonic lodge has officers who maintain the day-to-day governing of the lodge. Because Dominion is a Canadian Rite lodge (deriving its ritual from Great Britain), this also includes the Inner Guard. The image shown below is a mock-up of where the officers sit in a typical Canadian Rite lodge room.

(WM) - Worshipful Master
(IPM) - Immediate Past Master
(SW) - Senior Warden
(JW) - Junior Warden

(Sec.) - Secretary
(DofC) - Director of Ceremonies

(SD) - Senior Deacon
(JD) - Junior Deacon
(Ch.) - Chaplain
(IG) - Inner Guard
(SS) - Senior Steward
(JS) - Junior Steward
(Tyl) - Tyler
(Org.) - Organist

Description of Offices

Worshipful Master (WM)

He is the overall administrator of all acts in and for the Lodge. The Lodge at all times belongs to the Master, and is to be at his Will and Pleasure. He can not be contested or questioned. He answers only to the Grand Master/Grand Lodge, and his conscience.

It is his duty to deal fairly with every infraction of Masonic Law in his domain. This includes visitors and unaffiliated Masons. He is to maintain peace and harmony in his Lodge, and serve as a good example to the Craft. He should establish a process of learning for his Craft and demand that each member participates. He should demand that his officers become proficient, and he himself be proficient. He must possess a love for genuine Masonry.
Immediate Past Master (IPM)

The Worshipful Brother who served directly before the present incumbent, and acts as his mentor and prompter. The IPM also helps to open the Lodge for meetings and degree work.
Senior Warden (SW)

In the presence of the Master, he is the second ranking officer or member of the Craft. While the Master is about the business of the Lodge, the Sr. Warden generally is authorized to superintend the behaviour of the craft.

A responsible and concerned Sr. Warden will attempt to involve himself in all aspects of Lodge movement and stay abreast of lodge activities. He, like the Secretary, should be in contact with the Master almost daily in order that he might stay informed, and the Master should welcome this type of concern and support. In the absence of the Master, the Sr. Warden is to faithfully represent the Master, and govern the Lodge as such.
Junior Warden (JW)

His duties are second only to the WM in quantity: he is the manager of entertainment; counselor and advisor; supervisor of morals; admonisher to erring members; and prosecutor during trials. He is to conduct personal investigation into all charges against a member. Should the charges prove factual, he is to prepare written charges for presentation to the Lodge in a regular meeting.

In the absence of the WM and the SW, the Jr. Warden shall open the meeting. Unlike his two seniors, he can not open the Lodge from the East. He must do so from the South. Once the meeting is opened, it is his choice to preside, or call on a PM to do so.

As with any other organizations, someone must take care of the paperwork, manage the correspondence, and handle the "business" of the Lodge. The Secretary is also charged to observe and record all Lodge proceedings.

Fourth in line of Lodge Officers, the Treasurer is responsible for the proper management of the Lodge finances. In some Lodges (curently including Dominion Lodge), the Secretary and Tresurer offices are combined.
Senior Deacon (SD)

His every act on the floor is as the representative of the desires of the WM and must be accepted by all brethren in the Lodge as such because the WM seldom appears on the floor. The Senior Deacon is the drawing personality during degree work and is directly assisted by the Stewards and the Master of Cermonies. He must master certain Masonic dialogue and assist in the opening and closing of the Lodge.
Junior Deacon (JD)

His responsibilities are to perform the duties of attendant to the Senior Deacon. The Jr. Deacon, having been appointed to a Line Officer position, would do well to actively improve his ritualistic talents and Masonic rhetoric. Where possible, he should assist the Sr. Deacon during the conference of degrees. While being the immediate proxy of the West, he is also employed in the security of the Lodge, keeping the outer room clear and keeping the Tyler informed as to activities and changes in the Lodge.

As the word Steward means servant, these officers are in fact servants of the Lodge. Since ancient times, Stewards have been directed to provide refreshment and good cheer to members of the Craft during the hours of refreshment. They are also to assist other Lodge officers in the performance of their duties in the Lodge. They are to assist the Tyler in the preparation of the Lodge and aid in the care of all furnishings. At meetings and social gatherings, they are to make certain that the Worshipful Master and special guests are adequately provided for.

His duty is to perform those prayerful duties delegated by the Master. Although Freemasonry is not a religion, Masons believe that a religious belief is important for a man. We do not care what religion a man believes in. Most every religion is represented somewhere in the Masonic Fraternity. We have a Chaplain in our officer core because we open and close each meeting with a secular prayer. The Chaplain is in charge of that duty.

The Tyler is sometimes known as the "Outer Guard" of the lodge. His duty is to guard the door (from the outside) with a drawn sword and ensure that only those who are duly qualified manage to gain entry. He, through acceptance of office, relinquishes participation in Lodge affairs, except that he may participate in balloting.

The Tyler is also the keeper of Lodge properties. He is to place Lodge regalia before meetings, with the aid of the Stewards. He must collect entries to the registry of members and visitors. He is the messenger for the Lodge, and should deliver special summonses when such an act is required.
Inner Guard

The Inner Guard stands as counterpart to the Tyler within the door of the Lodge.
Director of Ceremonies

The title "Director of Ceremonies" is used in the United Grand Lodge of England and its subordinate lodges, as well as in Canadian Rite lodges. However, other jurisdictions may refer to this officer as the "Lecturer" or "Ritualist." Whatever the title, this officer is responsible for the smooth flowing of ceremony and ritual, and he may hold rehearsals for degrees and/or installations. He may be responsible for prompting other officers who forget their lines.

The Registrar maintains the Lodge's historical records for inspection by the Grand Master or his Officers upon any of their visits.

The Organist (or "Director of Music" in some jurisdictions) provides musical accompaniment to Lodge proceedings, althought the form this music takes can vary widely fom Lodge to Lodge.
[Text adapted from Short Talk Bulletins issued by the Masonic Service Association.]


© 2010 Dominion Lodge #117 - AF&AM, GRA.