Masonic Lodge Officers, as they move through the Masonic Officer Chairs, as in any organization, could not properly function without a leadership team which provides Masonic Officer Training.
A successful organization's future depends upon how well this team of lodge officers work together to provide Masonic Officer training. In the business world, an organization is built around Presidents, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Regional Managers, Supervisors and Workers. Each plays an important part in order for the organization to be profitable and successful. In essence, the Masonic Lodge Officer duties and Masonic Officer Training structure, much like their counterparts in the business world, shoulder the Lodge Officer Responsibilities which makes a lodge successful.
Lodge Officers are part of a "progressive line", which is also known as "going through the chairs" ...or as the Masonic Officer Chairs. This line of succession moves up one position at a time from one year to the next.
If no one asks to "step out of line" for any reason, 7 years from the time of becoming Junior Steward, the Master Mason will arrive at the chair of the Worshipful Master. The progression is as follows: Junior Steward, Senior Steward, Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, Junior Warden, Senior Warden...and then Worshipful Master. The progressive line is used in the United States and in many other jurisdictions, as well.
In the Masonic Lodge, the top five Lodge Officers are (in this order) the Worshipful Master, the Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer and Secretary are elected by the Lodge members at their annual elections.
Normally each position is filled for one year, however they may be re-elected to the same position depending on the circumstance. Lodge elections are performed via a Masonic Ballot Box.
The other officers, which include the Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Senior Steward, Junior Steward, Marshal, Tiler and Chaplain are appointed positions by the Worshipful Master. Other members of the Masonic Lodge may be called on to serve on any of the numerous committees by the Worshipful Master.
The duties and names of the officers are taken from very old customs dating back to the medieval stonemasons' guilds.
In England in the 1400s, under the reign of King Edward III, local (city) governments grew out of the merchant and craft industries in each city or town. After an operative Master stonemason created his "Master's Piece" to the satisfaction of the Master of his craft, or guild, he was considered a "Master Mason".
Heads of the guilds became heads of their town councils, mayors, sheriffs, etc. During this time, one of the ways which a local official proclaimed his rank was by wearing a badge of office, or jewel, on a chain around his neck. The practice is still in use today in England. If you have ever watched a ceremony wherein a Lord Mayor (regular mayor in the United States) attends a formal ribbon cutting event, you would see an ornate necklace which is the medallion, signature of his office, around his neck. Masonic Lodge Officers carry over this ancient guild tradition, today, in the form of the symbolic "jewels" of their offices.