Officers Duties: Lodge Almoner
When first viewed through the eyes of the inexperienced or newer Member of a Craft Lodge, the role of the Almoner can perhaps appear sometimes to be one without much work required. An elderly experienced Mason usually with a smiling cheerful countenance, is conducted to the East and invested with a collar, with suitable words of thanks from the Master, which he has and will wear on many occasions for years. For the rest of the year he will carry out his traditional role, to a greater or lesser extent, of caring for the membership and their dependents.
No matter what situation he may encounter throughout the coming year, out of sight of the Members of the Lodge for the most part, he is expected to cope with every eventuality which comes his way and very frequently he does so without recognition or acknowledgement of the work he performs. Frequently the Brother appointed as Almoner has years of knowledge and first-hand experience. This knowledge may well have been acquired through his working environment which has equipped him to deal with distressing situations with quiet decorum and confidence in his own ability, to the advantage of the Brethren and their dependents.
In this traditional role the Lodge Almoner is elected to advise, assist, and where necessary to seek the help and assistance of the various Masonic and outside bodies for financial help(for example arranging for urgent operations with the help of Masonic Charities), housebound assistance, and sometimes residential care. It will be a very experienced Almoner who can, without reference, handle every situation with the single or varied form of approach required when unfortunate circumstances are presented to him. Unlike any other Lodge Officers, except that of Secretary or Treasurer, the office of Almoner can be held for many years by the same appointed Officer.
In Lodge the Almoner can be readily recognised by his collar which has as its Jewel a Script Purse on which there is a Heart.
Other duties of an Almoner can include:
- Caring for the Widows of Former Lodge Members by arranging for flowers to be sent to them when they’re unwell.
- Sending Christmas and Birthday cards and gifts to them on behalf of the Lodge.
- Visits to hospital to sick and ill Brethren and their dependents.
- Generally keeping in touch by telephone as to the well-being of all the Members.
Finally most lodge Almoners tend, by their very nature, to be less demonstrative of their efforts on behalf of the Lodge, and will always keep the Lodge and its Worshipful Master informed of any serious matters that need their input. All this work and time is carried out by the goodwill of the Almoner with little or no recompense for his own expenses, and indeed none are asked for.