Metropolitan Active Office

W Bro Col Simon Bennett LGR MetAGSwdB

Every Masonic Lodge and Chapter elects or appoints officers to execute the necessary functions of the unit’s life and work; the same is true for Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter – these are the Metropolitan Active Officers.

An active office is held for one year, with some offices re-appointed according to convention. Active officers are awarded an active office collar jewel denoting their appointment during their active year and will wear a former active officer collar jewel at the end of their service – but this is not a separate rank.

Being an active officer broadens your knowledge and provides a deeper understanding of how Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter operate. It also introduces you to the Rulers, their thinking and how they deliver the Metropolitan vision. They are no longer just a name on the Toast List. The predominant role for most active officers given the rank of MetSGD and below is the management of official visits as Escorting Officers (EO) or as part of the visiting team as a Steward.

The role of the EO of any rank is primarily one of public relations. EOs are ambassadors for Metropolitan and have more contact with a unit and its members than anyone else on an official visit. The EO is a diplomat charged with making sure that the Ruler’s visit is a happy, special, relaxed and memorable occasion for the unit being visited.  

As an EO, planning for the official visit starts three to four weeks in advance with conversations with the unit’s Secretary or Scribe Ezra and Director of Ceremonies to explain what will happen and put their minds at rest.  You will also speak with the Guest of Honour – which for the majority of visits will be a Metropolitan Grand Inspector – to understand any preferences they have and brief them on the proposed agenda and their role in the proceedings. If Stewards are to be part of the visiting team, you will speak to them to advise them of meeting times and any changes to standard procedures.

On the day of the visit, the EO arrives early to run a rehearsal and to answer any questions the members may have. The EO makes sure that the Guest of Honour is looked after and that the processional work into and from the Lodge or Chapter runs smoothly. Taking over the Director of Ceremonies’ role for the occasion ensures the Festive Board proceeds with due decorum and pace.  The EO is not there to conduct, prompt, or criticise the ritual and working!

As a Metropolitan Grand Steward, you will be part of the visiting team being led by an EO.  However, in the Royal Arch, having gained experience as a Metropolitan Grand Chapter Steward, you may be offered the opportunity to be an EO during your year, an honour peculiar to the Royal Arch.

As an EO, you will have the opportunity to become a member of Hornsey Lodge for Metropolitan Craft Escorting Officers or Peckham Chapter for the Royal Arch Escorting Officers.  As a Metropolitan Grand Steward, you will have the opportunity to join the Metropolitan Grand Stewards Lodge or Chapter.

There is no minimum commitment during your active year. Still, it is an opportunity to be grasped with some active officers completing more than 20 official visits, including overseas delegations.

If you would like to be considered for Active Office, make it known to your Secretary / Scribe E.  Active office applications are made separately from the more well-known LGR, SLGCR, etc., honours with applications due into Metropolitan before the end of December each year.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 44 April 2020 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 44.