The Junior Warden

Exemplifying the Plumb

By: Kevin L. Fitzwater
Junior Grand Warden

Kevin L. Fitzwater

We all know who the Junior Warden of a lodge is. He is the first elected officer in the “chairs.” He calls the craft from labor to refreshment and back again at the command of the Worshipful Master. But what and why is he there?

Let’s start with the title “warden.” The noun warden has traditionally been used to talk about someone in an official supervisory position, especially in British English, but the prison guard definition goes back to the early thirteenth century, when it meant “one who guards.” The root is in the Old English word weard, “a watchman or sentry.” Think of the duties of the Junior Warden as detailed in the Official Monitor and Ceremonies. The Junior Warden oversees the Craft during the hours of refreshment. This traditionally finds the Junior Warden in the kitchen (as so many in the progressive line find out!).

While at refreshment, the Junior Warden is tasked as the watchman over the conduct of the craft, not just to ensure that no one turns the means of refreshment into intemperance or excess. Remember: his jewel is the plumb. It is his for a reason, for he ensures that each brother be reminded of his obligation to walk uprightly in all his actions. At refreshment, his is the pillar of authority. When raised, he has responsibility to be “weard” over the craft, and even the lodge room. Traditionally, he is charged with the oversight of the lodge room at refreshment, to the point of being required to remain there while the craft is at refreshment.

The Junior Warden has roles of greater gravity than first envisioned. When so directed by the Master of the Lodge, he shall be the one to prefer Masonic charges for possible trial. He may at any time be requested to sit in the East and lead the lodge in the absence of the Master and Senior Warden. It is incumbent on the Junior Warden to be proficient in opening and closing his lodge and knowledgeable of the order of business. He should be mentoring the line following him, by instruction, assistance, and more importantly by example, to assume his position upon his advancement. And it is never too early to start preparing for his time in the East!

Another definition of a Warden is one who is responsible for the caretaking and wellbeing of others, for their moral and Masonic nourishment. Think of game warden as an example. So… wait… we are back to the kitchen!

What’s for supper, Brother Junior Warden?!

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