Every Freemasons’ Lodge is an independent body which operates under a Warrant, or Charter, from Grand Lodge. The Warrant entitles the Lodge to conduct the ceremonies and rites of Freemasonry. Without this Warrant no Lodge is legal and its members cannot consider themselves to be Freemasons.
The Lodge pays two capitation fees for each of its members, one to Provincial Grand Lodge (PGL) and one to the United Grand Lodge (UGLE) to meet the considerable costs involved in the administration and governing of the Order and the maintenance of fraternal relations with Grand Lodges overseas. It also pays a contribution to The Grand Charity on your behalf. These fees must be paid regularly by your Lodge on the due date. Therefore, it is essential that you in turn are prompt in the payment of your dues to avoid placing any unnecessary financial burden on your brethren for the administrative costs involved in the running of your Lodge. Note that the Lodge in which you were initiated is, and will always remain, your ‘mother’ Lodge.
Lodge accounts are normally separated into a General Fund and a Benevolent Fund. They are kept quite distinct from each other. A full report is given to, and voted on by, the Members at the end of each Lodge year.
The business component of the Lodge meeting is conducted on the established lines of motions requiring a formal proposition, a seconder and a vote by the membership. Minutes and Accounts are also transacted. A Freemasons’ Lodge is structured, in part, much the same as any other club or association.
The Worshipful Master is the chairman and his Wardens are his first and second vice-chairmen. The Immediate Past Master (IPM) acts as an advisor to the reigning Master. There is a Secretary (Sec) and a Treasurer (Treas) who handle the matters of administration and finance, and a Director of Ceremonies (DC) who is the Master of Ceremonies both within the Lodge and at the after proceedings.
The Stewards are assistants to the Junior Warden (JW) who is responsible for the Festive Board or dining arrangements for the evening.
All our ceremonies involve music, and ideally each Lodge should have an Organist. Skills at the keyboard are scarce now that fewer people learn to play the piano. If you can help with music, please tell us. Great virtuosity is not required, so any talent, however modest, should be offered for the good of your Lodge.
Each of these Officers has an important function in the successful operation of the Lodge meeting and their regular attendance is of particular importance. Freemasonry is progressive and after becoming a competent Master Mason you will be considered for an Office or role in the Lodge team.
Usually the first role is that of Steward (not actually an Office) and from there you may progress through the offices of Inner Guard (IG), Junior (JD) and Senior Deacon (SD), Junior (JW) and Senior Warden (SW) and ultimately into the Chair as Master of the Lodge. In most Lodges the offices of Tyler and Chaplain are occupied by Past Masters (PMs) of the Lodge but this may vary from one Lodge to the next.
For the position of Director of Ceremonies it is essential that the Officer should be a well qualified Past Master as the Lodge depends heavily on his in-depth knowledge of ceremonial procedures.
If you become Master of the Lodge the brethren will look to you for guidance in all aspects of the Lodge’s operations but you will be well supported by a Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Ceremonies and your Immediate Past Master.