Here is some information to help you understand what you may find on a membership card from the Grand Lodge of Maine.
There are some pieces of information that will be common to almost all membership cards. You will find the name and number of the lodge that a member joined, and dates of his initiation process. A member participates through three phases of initiation, namely the Entered Apprentice (EA) degree, the Fellowcraft (FC) degree, and the Master Mason (MM) degree in this order. You may see them enumerated as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd on a membership card. You may see a member who has affiliated or demitted from a lodge, meaning that he has joined a new lodge and/or withdrawn membership from a previous lodge. In past years, a member could only join one lodge at a time, while current regulations allow for membership in multiple lodges.
A member has the opportunity to become a lodge officer should he choose. Becoming the officer of a Masonic lodge is a responsibility which members assume voluntarily and represented their dedication to their lodge and to Freemasonry. Terms for these offices are typically for one year, though some may retain their office for many years in a row.
The principal officers are:
- WM – Worshipful Master or Master – The leader of the lodge
- SW – Senior Warden – The second senior lodge officer
- JW – Junior Warden – The third senior lodge officer
- Tr/Treas – Treasurer – Takes charge of the funds and property of the lodge
- Sec / Secy – Secretary – Keeps the records of the lodge
- SD / JD – The Senior and Junior Deacons welcome and accommodate visiting brethren and answer alarms at the door
- SS – Senior Steward // JS – Junior Steward – The Stewards assist in the ritual and prepare the dining room tables
- Tyler – Guards the outer door of the lodge room and allows none to enter who aren’t Masons in good standing
Grand Lodge Officers:
The senior officer of the Grand Lodge in Maine is the Grand Master (GM). Other Grand Lodge officers have the word “Grand” prefixed to a similar title in the local lodge such as Grand Senior Warden, Grand Senior Deacon, Grand Tyler, etc. These officers are elected (GM, a Deputy Grand Master – DGM, SGW, JGW, GTreas, GSec) by the membership and appointed by the Grand Master (all others). Naming conventions follow the lodge officer titles in most cases.
One officer unique to Grand Lodge is the District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM). This officer is the direct personal representative of the Grand Master in the geographical area (Masonic District) in which he serves. He has the responsibility for overseeing several lodges and is expected to visit each of them at least annually. If you encounter this title on an ancestor’s card, you should know that great trust was placed in him by the Grand Master who believed he would faithfully and truthfully ensure ‘his’ lodges’ were in compliance with the rules, regulations, customs, and traditions of Freemasonry.
There may be more information that is unique to Masonry. Feel free to contact our offices to learn more about our membership cards.