The Deacons

Richard H. Ryder, 2017

Once you attain the office of Junior or Senior Deacon in your lodge you are signaling to the brethren that you have aspirations to serve as Master.  It’s a commitment and creates a definite expectation.  Like other organizations Masonry has a line of succession, and those responsible for ensuring a smooth transition from year to year typically look out five years to ensure strong leaders are progressing forward toward the East.  Any break in the offices of Junior and Senior Deacon, Junior or Senior Warden significantly impacts the lodge.  When this occurs, it is disruptive, and someone is sought to fill the void. Maybe it’s a Past Master or maybe the line of officers must move ahead prematurely before they are ready.  What this means is that the decision to serve as Junior or Senior Deacon should be thoughtfully made; you are not just committing to a year of service – you are committing to five or more.

There is a reason why the collars, aprons, and rods of the Junior and Senior Deacon contain the square and compasses.  Likewise, there is a reason the Junior Deacon collar, apron, and rod contain the moon and the Senior Deacon collar, apron, and rod contain the sun.  It all alludes to the fact that they are assuming more responsibility for the success of the lodge as they progress closer to the East.

According to the Lexicon of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey, “It is to the Deacons that the introduction of visitors should be properly entrusted.  Their duties comprehend also a general surveillance over the security of the lodge.”  He goes on to say that “The office of Deacons in Masonry appears to have been derived from the usages of the primitive church.  In the Greek church the deacons were always the doorkeepers, and in the Apostolical Constitutions the deacon was ordered to stand at the men’s door, and the sub-deacons at the women’s, to see that none came in or went out during the oblation.”

So, in our lodges today what should Deacons consider?

First, floor work and ritual for the Senior Deacon exponentially increases from that of all previous offices.  As such he needs to constantly apply himself in pursuit of well executed floor work and proficient ritual.  Not only do you want to excel, but you need to demonstrate to others that you have the potential to progress further up the line of officers.  As such, attention to detail is important.

Secondly, the junior officers will look to the Senior Deacon for guidance, especially during floor work.  You hold a position of authority and you must be aware that your actions dictate the actions of others.  For example, after floor work the junior officers will not sit until you do. Also, during degrees, when the Stewards seem unsure during their floor work, you are often able to guide them without drawing the attention of others.  Use this opportunity to foster a sense of team work with other officers, since you are moving up the line together and will someday serve together as Master and Wardens.

For the Junior Deacon, he needs to be prepared to assume the responsibilities of the Senior Deacon should the need arise.  Therefore, observe how the Senior Deacon executes floor work.  Be aware of the sequence of events involving the Senior Deacon.  Begin to learn some of the Senior Deacon ritual in case you need to fill in the position. Since your Junior Deacon floor work and ritual is limited it can be easy to fall into a false sense of security that “you’ve got this one”.  I’ve witnessed too many Junior Deacons that, for whatever reason, can’t master their limited work.  It’s not due to an inability to execute; it’s more reasonable to conclude that they are not taking their role seriously.  Don’t let this happen to you.

The following checklist will assist the Senior Warden in preparing for his term:

  1. Become more acquainted with lodge members
  2. Become more acquainted with Deacons within the district
  3. Increase visibility within the lodge and at lodge activities
  4. Increase visibility within the district and at district activities
  5. Regularly attend and support district Lodge of Instruction
  6. Attend all rehearsals and monthly meetings
  7. Properly prepare for and effectively execute floor work and ritual
  8. Observe the Junior Warden and mentally prepare to step into that position
  9. Fulfill the Senior Deacon roles and responsibilities as outlined in the book, Duties and Responsibilities of Lodge Officers and Committee Chairmen

The following checklist will assist the Junior Warden in preparing for his term:

  1. Become more acquainted with lodge members
  2. Become more acquainted with Deacons within the district
  3. Increase visibility within the lodge and at lodge activities
  4. Increase visibility within the district and at district activities
  5. Regularly attend and support district Lodge of Instruction
  6. Attend all rehearsals and monthly meetings
  7. Properly prepare for and effectively execute floor work and ritual
  8. Take your roles and responsibilities seriously
  9. Observe the Senior Deacon and mentally prepare to step into that position
  10. Fulfill the Junior Deacon’s roles and responsibilities as outlined in the book, Duties and Responsibilities of Lodge Officers and Committee Chairmen
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