The title Worshipful Master invokes a sense of curiosity and mystery in some (and perhaps a misperception of ego or arrogance by others) who are not Masons.
Although most may ponder the dignity, honor, and/or pomp subjectively invoked in the minds of those who hear this title, little thought is given to the role performed by the man who holds this position in his Lodge
What is the role of the Worshipful Master in a Masonic Lodge?
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Worshipful Master is, for all intents and purposes, the President and CEO of the Lodge. He is ultimately the principal overseer of everything that the Lodge does, everything that happens in his Lodge, etc.
A Team Leader
The group of officers in a Lodge is, frankly, a team; so is each committee, and all together are one giant time.
They work together to ensure that Lodge affairs (including business meetings, degree ceremonies, service projects, charities, community outreach, etc.) are all in working order.
A Reliever of the Distressed
The Worshipful Master should seek to help others, whether they are Masons or not.
The charities and service projects that he directs help those in his community.
He should be a steward over the members of his Lodge and should either offer his own help or help from the Lodge to those thereof who are distressed.
I had such an experience yesterday (as of the date that this article was started); I learned that the father of one of our new Entered Apprentices passed away just a few days ago.
I called this Entered Apprentice yesterday to express my condolences. I then asked if there was anything that I or the Lodge could do to help him.
He stated that his dad had been living in northern California and would be traveling there with his daughter and granddaughter for his dad’s funeral.
He mentioned that money would be tight for him. I made sure to bring up his request during the Lodge meeting later that evening; we were able to raise and send this brother a humble amount of funds to help him attend to his familial duty.
A Mentor and a Coach
The Worshipful Master should be able to train his officers and committee members in rendering their respective duties, whether administrative or ritualistic.
He should also be able to coach and mentor new candidates in their respective proficiencies of the degrees and to help the members of his Lodge in the planning and attainment of Masonic goals.
A Former and Overseer of Committees
A Worshipful Master cannot feasibly do everything.
He must delegate various duties; however, he is still absolutely the one responsible for seeing that those duties are duly executed.
An Event Planner/Coordinator
The Worshipful Master is ultimately responsible for the program of each stated meeting as well as the planning of degree ceremonies, charity events, service projects, and social events in the Lodge.
A Position of Trust
Any man who is the Worshipful Master of his Lodge should have been elected because his Lodge trusts him to direct it for the term specified in its by-laws (typically a year). This is trust that he has hopefully earned from his brethren.
The earning of this trust should not cease when he is installed to that office; he should continually strive to make improvements for his Lodge so that, when he finally becomes a Past Master, he will have left his Lodge better than when he found it.
A Bridge Between the Lodge & the Grand Lodge
The Worshipful Master and the Secretary are both bridges between the Lodge and the Grand Lodge. It is the Worshipful Master’s responsibility to see that any communications from the Grand Master, Grand Secretary, etc. are conveyed to the members of his Lodge as applicable.
He should also ensure that the members of his Lodge are conforming to all by-laws, rules, regulations, and protocols of the Lodge and of the Grand Lodge.
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The Worshipful Master is a man who has a lot on his proverbial plate and keeps his Lodge running, all because his Lodge trusts him to do so, which is a very humbling feeling on the part of any man whom the Lodge elects to carry out the role and duties of this office.