Freemasonry is the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organization. As Freemasons we live by an ethical and moral code that distinguishes us and creates an atmosphere where friendship and understanding can grow among men of every religion, race and culture. This is the public website of the Masonic Grand Lodge of Rhode Island. If you're interested in our lodges and considering an application to join,
visit our  Petition Application page

Organization of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is the oldest fraternal organization for men in the world, and its organizational structure shows its age. The basic organizational unit of the      fraternity is the lodge. We believe the term comes from the lodges (shelters) constructed at the building sites of cathedrals and castles during the Middle Ages. Masons worked and lived in these shelters.

Each lodge is headed by an officer called the "Worshipful Master." "Worshipful" means "highly respected" or "honored." The term comes from the judicial system of England and carries no religious implication.  "Master" means "leader," or "best qualified," as in "Concert Master" or "Master Architect."

Each officer of a lodge has a title that originated during the Middle Ages. These titles may vary somewhat from state to state, but in general the officers and their contemporary equivalents are:

Middle Ages Title Current Title Middle Ages Title Current Title

Worshipful Master

President

Marshal

Master of Ceremonies

Senior Warden

1st Vice President

Deacon

Messenger

Junior Warden

2nd Vice President

Steward

Page

Treasurer

Financial officer

Tiler

Door Keeper

Secretary

Recorder

Chaplain

Chaplain

Until 1717, each lodge of Masons was autonomous. On June 24, 1717, four of the lodges operating in London met together to form the first Grand Lodge of England. It became the first administrative or policy-making body of Freemasonry.

Masonic lodges still retain autonomy over their finances, activities, officer election, fundraising, and joining ceremonies. But administratively, each State      or Province has a Grand Lodge which co-ordinates activities, serves as a central source of record keeping, and performs other administrative and policy functions      for the fraternity. The state president is called the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He has broad powers in overseeing the progress of the fraternity and while there is no national spokesperson for the fraternity, within his own state (Jurisdiction) he is the chief spokesman.

 

Masonic Service Association