Belfast Masonic Lodge 651 Officers.
In the Irish Masonic Constitution, there are progressive officers and non-progressive officers. Lodge officers are recognisable by the jewels suspended from their Lodge collars (these are illustrated below) and from the positions they occupy in a Lodge.
The Progressive Offices: Usually, each year a Brother would progress through these offices on a path from Steward, via the Deacons and Wardens, to the highest honour within the Lodge – Worshipful Master.
Each office is subject to election by the Lodge Brethren at the October meeting for the following year.
The first office held in a Lodge. The Stewards main function is to assist the W. Master, and to attend at the dinner following the Lodge meeting (the Festive Board).
The Inner Guard sits just inside the door of the Lodge room. He is responsible for checking that all those who enter the Lodge are qualified to do so.
The Deacons accompany and instruct Candidates during the various ceremonies. They are responsible for communication between the Worshipful Master and his Wardens and have two of the most interesting and delightful roles in the Lodge.
The Junior Warden sits in the South of the Lodge and will normally progress to Senior Warden. It is his role to ensure that no unqualified person enters the Lodge and he is responsible for the welfare of the brethren while at refreshment
The Senior Warden sits opposite the Master at the West end of the Lodge and is usually the next W. Master.
Although their roles are different, the Wardens work together by assisting the Master in running the Lodge. The SW is responsible for the welfare of the brethren during labour.
The Worshipful Master
The Worshipful Master is elected by the Lodge members every year and is then installed into his office. He is usually Master for one year, and is in charge of the Lodge during his tenure of office and acts as its chairman. He also normally conducts the ceremonies in the Lodge. Being elected and installed as Master is the highest honour a Lodge can bestow on any of its members.
The Non-Progressive Officers
These offices are usually occupied by Lodge members who are Past Masters of the Lodge and tend to be occupied by the same person for some years, to provide continuity and experience.
All meetings begin and end with prayer and the Lodge Chaplain leads the members in this part of the meeting
The Treasurer is responsible for the Lodge finances. He produces annual accounts, which are audited before being approved by the Lodge. Yearly subscriptions are decided in Lodge on the Treasurer’s recommendation.
Director of Ceremonies:
The role of the DC is to organise and oversee ceremonies held in the Lodge and to ensure all other officers concerned in any ritual are aware of their roles. This is usually achieved by meticulous rehearsals.
It is also part of his responsibilities to see that the ceremonies are conducted with dignity and decorum.
The Almoner is the Lodge welfare officer. He maintains contact with the widows of members and with those who are ill or indisposed. He is also trained to assist those who are in financial need and he knows the variety of resources that exist for Lodge Brethren in time of need.
Assistant Director of Ceremonies:
The role of the ADC is to assist and to understudy the Director of Ceremonies in his office.
Steward of Charities:
The role of the Charity Steward is to organise charity collections in the Lodge and to suggest to the Lodge
Brethren to which charities (Masonic or non-Masonic) the Lodge members may wish to subscribe to.
The Secretary's official duties include issuing the circular
(a formal notice of an impending meeting, with time, date and
agenda), recording meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to Grand Lodge, and advising the Worshipful Master on matters of procedure.
In the Irish Constitution, this office is held by an experienced Past Master.