In common with other Craft Masonic Lodges, each year individual Members of the Lodge of St Mark who have achieved an appropriate level of Masonic experience will be offered the opportunity to be appointed and, or invested or installed to hold the various Lodge Offices set out below.
There are also Committee and other Representative activities, again as outlined below.
All these areas of responsibility combine to provide ample opportunities for Members to participate and contribute, whilst developing their life within Masonry.
Whilst not all Members may wish to progress to Office, to be asked to take Office is a clear indication of the faith held in an individual to contribute to the success of the Lodge. Performing the duties of Office to the benefit of the Lodge and its Members brings with it very enjoyable and rewarding opportunities and challenges.
Certain of the Offices are progressive, in the sense that Members will generally be offered the opportunity to progress up through these Offices year on year, with a view to them finally achieving the Mastership of the Lodge.
For names and contact details in respect of individual Members holding Offices in the Lodge of St Mark, Members may refer to the Lodge of St Mark Facebook Group – Members Only and other relevant Lodge communications.
Worshipful Master (WM)
The ‘Master’, as he is generally referred to, is elected each year by the Members and to qualify he must have served Office as a Warden. He presides over all Lodge proceedings for his year in Office and ensures that the Lodge carries out its duties and responsibilities. He will play a key role in all Ceremonies and thus the ritual work of the Lodge. It is the most senior Office that a Lodge can confer on a Member and the Master will also represent the Lodge in, for instance, visiting other Lodges.
The WM will appoint all Officers for his period in Office, apart from those elected to hold Office by the Members.
He is referred to as ‘Worshipful’ as a term of honour and mark of respect and not in the sense that he is intended to be worshipped. The term ‘Master’ is used to acknowledge that he is fully qualified to carry out the duties of his Office and is thus sufficiently experienced in Masonry to further instruct and develop the Lodge Members.
At the end of his period in Office, the WM will be invested as the ‘Immediate Past Master’ (IPM), which is not an actual Lodge Office, but a position from which he will assist and support the incoming new Master. Each Member who has served as WM is then always known as a ‘Past Master’ (PM).
Senior Warden (SW)
The second of the three principal Lodge Officers, the SW assists the WM in carrying out his responsibilities and will again have a key role to play in the Ceremonies carried out. He will generally be expected to progress to become WM.
Junior Warden (JW)
The third of the three principal Lodge Officers, the JW assists the SW and WM in performing their duties and, for instance, has responsibilities for ensuring that refreshments at the Festive Board are properly attended to. He will again have a key role to play in the Ceremonies carried out.
The principal duties of the Chaplain are to lead prayer at the Lodge Meetings and grace at dining. It is not required that he is a member of the clergy.
The Treasurer is elected each year by the Members. He is responsible for the management and control of Lodge finances, including such matters as collection, banking and payment of monies. He will keep the Lodge Accounts, which will be presented annually for agreement by the Members, after inspection by Account Examiners, again elected annually by the Members.
The Secretary is responsible for all matters relating to Lodge administration, which includes the timely issuing of the Summons for each Meeting (a formal notice of an impending Meeting), recording Meeting minutes (which are circulated to and approved by the Members), submitting of required information returns to the Grand and Provincial Grand Lodges, dealing with correspondence and advising the WM on matters of procedure.
Director of Ceremonies (DC)
The DC is responsible for the direction and smooth operation of the Lodge proceedings and in particular the Ceremonies, including the ritual workings carried out. This will also include ensuring that prompting support is provided for those transacting ritual work and the running of Rehearsals for Officers.
The Almoner fulfils a caring and support role for and on behalf of Lodge Members, helping to ensure that assistance is considered and provided where health or other circumstances demand. He will remain in contact with Members or their families who are unwell or otherwise distressed, and also maintains a discreet presence in the lives of widows of former Members, so that the Lodge may readily assist any of them should they find themselves in any particular need.
The Almoner will be familiar with the work of the local and national Masonic charities and be able to offer advice to those who might qualify for such assistance.
The Charity Steward will have responsibility for helping to ensure that the Lodge generates from its Members and the Lodge activities an appropriate level of charitable giving and that the Lodge considers donations to good causes. He is likely to lead discussions about the appropriate recipients of the Lodge’s charity funds and to be able to advise Members upon matters relating to Masonic Charities.
It is the duty of the Lodge Mentor to promote the Masonic development of the Lodge Members by helping to ensure that personal mentoring is provided as a natural part of how the Lodge operates, particularly for the benefit of new Members and those taking Office. His guidance and support will be key in helping Lodge Members to best understand and enjoy their Freemasonry.
Senior Deacon (SD)
The principal duties of the SD are key in that they involve conducting new Members through the Ceremonies, whilst he also has other Ceremonial responsibilities relating to certain communications between the senior Lodge Officers.
Junior Deacon (JD)
The duties of the JD essentially follow those of the SD, leaving him with an equally key responsibility when conducting new Members through the Ceremonies.
Assistant Director of Ceremonies (ADC)
It is the responsibility of the ADC to assist the DC in the successful performance of his duties and he can thus also have a key role in helping to ensure that Lodge proceedings and Ceremonies operate appropriately. He also has responsibility for directing the Meetings of the Lodge of Instruction (LoI).
The Organist provides musical accompaniment to certain parts of Lodge proceedings and Ceremonies and may also play during breaks in those proceedings or Ceremonies. He makes an important contribution towards creating a harmonious, enjoyable and suitably relaxed atmosphere in the Lodge Room.
The Assistant Secretary may be called upon to assist the Secretary in the carrying out of his duties, although his primary role is to perform the duties of Secretary to the Lodge of Instruction (LoI). This can include the production of agendas and will involve keeping minutes of the LoI Meetings.
Inner Guard is the first of the progressive Lodge Offices, after promotion from the Office of Steward. His principal responsibilities are to ensure that the Lodge Room is secured and to control entry to the Lodge Room during Meetings.
Steward is normally the first Office to which Members will be appointed. Stewards could be called upon to assist with Ceremonial duties, particularly presentations or when other Officers have to be absent from a Meeting, but their prime responsibilities will be to conduct a charitable collection during the Meeting and help where necessary with activities at the Festive Board, which may include collection of monies, carrying out of raffles, tending to tables and ensuring that Lodge Guests are properly provided for.
The Tyler (sometimes referred to as the ‘Outer Guard’), who is elected annually by the Members, has responsibility at Meetings to control entry to the Lodge Room from outside the door and to prepare new Members for the Ceremonies. The Tyler is also traditionally responsible for preparing the Lodge Room before the Meeting and for clearing it and storing the regalia after the Meeting, although some of these duties tend to be shared with other Officers and Members.
This Office is usually taken by a Past Master or by a Lodge Member who is not desirous of progressing through the other Offices. It may also sometimes be occupied by a Member from another Lodge who has agreed to provide their services.
Although not invested as an Officer of the Lodge, a Member can be appointed or elected annually to have responsibilities in respect of membership. He will assist, guide and report to the Lodge on the recruitment of new Members and the subsequent retention and renewal of their membership. This may encompass input towards refreshment and strengthening of the Membership experience as arising through all Lodge activities.
Library and Museum Representative
Although again not invested as an Officer of the Lodge, a Member is elected annually to represent the Lodge on matters connected to the Kent Museum of Freemasonry in Canterbury, which can include attendance at related meetings. They will report to the Lodge Meetings on all items of interest or importance relating to the Museum and its library facility.
Holy Royal Arch Representative
Although again not invested as an Officer of the Lodge, a Member is elected annually to represent the interests of Holy Royal Arch Masonry within the Lodge. The representative will be able to communicate information relating to the Holy Royal Arch and assist those who may wish to join.
In common with most clubs and similar organisations, the Lodge has a Committee (normally referred to as the ‘General Purposes [GP] Committee’) who have scheduled meetings and whose responsibilities include considering and reporting to the Lodge on proposals for Membership and upon other matters specifically referred to it. The Committee consists of those Members stated in the Lodge Byelaws.
The Lodge of St Mark have an active elected Social Committee, who co-ordinate and arrange all social events held for the enjoyment of the Members, their family and friends. Being a member of the Social Committee is not a Lodge Office, although those elected may also hold Offices in the Lodge and the Social Committee do have their own Constitution and Officers. Those who may not actually be a member of the Social Committee can still agree to be co-opted onto the Committee to assist with certain events.
Officers of Grand and Provincial Grand Lodge
In reflection of their efforts, service and achievements within their own Lodge and Freemasonry in general, Members may be honoured by being offered a position as an Officer of the Masonic Province of East Kent or of The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE). Those who are in receipt of such honours would still maintain their Membership of and contribution to their own Lodge.