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Mirror removes inaccurate article following IPSO complaint

News from UGLE - 9 February 2018 - 12:11pm

The United Grand Lodge of England would like to thank the Mirror for removing an article published on their website which contained inaccurate and misleading information about Freemasonry

Following a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), an investigation confirmed that the article was provided by the Press Association and published on the Mirror website in good faith.

The Press Association’s copy was derived from the recent article in The Guardian headlined “Two Freemasons’ Lodge Operating Secretly at Westminster”, which contained significant inaccuracies. The main points being that the lodges are not secret, they don’t operate at Westminster and contrary to what was written, they don’t have MPs or journalists as members.

This follows a personal letter by Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of UGLE, on 8th February 2018, titled ‘Enough is Enough’, to address misleading articles published in The Guardian – this was also placed as a full page advert in The Times and Daily Telegraph.

A separate complaint has also been submitted to the IPSO regarding The Guardian article.

Categories: UGLE News

Enough is enough

News from UGLE - 7 February 2018 - 9:50am

Enough is enough

A personal letter by Dr David Staples, Chief Executive of the United Grand Lodge of England. This has also been placed as a full page advert in The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardian

At the United Grand Lodge of England, we value honesty, integrity and service to the community above all else. Last year we raised over £33 million for good causes.

As an organisation we welcome individuals from all walks of life, of any faith, age, class or political persuasion. Throughout our 300 year history, when people have suffered discrimination Freemasonry has embraced them into our lodges as equals.

The United Grand Lodge of England believes that the ongoing gross misrepresentation of its 200,000 plus members is discrimination. Pure and simple.

We owe it to our membership to take this stance, they shouldn’t have to feel undeservedly stigmatised. No other organisation would stand for this and nor shall we.

I have written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to make this case.

I appreciate that you may have questions about who we are and what we do, so over the next six months our members will be running a series of open evenings and Q&A events up and down the country. These will be promoted in the local media and on our website.

I am also happy to answer any queries directly. Please feel free to write to me here at Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ and I will come back to you.

We’re open.

Dr David Staples
Chief Executive
United Grand Lodge of England

Categories: UGLE News

Letter of complaint to the Guardian newspaper

News from UGLE - 6 February 2018 - 12:47pm

Dear Sir/Madam,

Complaint - Article published on Sunday 4 February

This is a complaint pursuant to your Editorial Code about an article published on Sunday 4 February on your website and in print on Monday 5 February. The article was headlined "Two Freemasons' Lodges Operating Secretly at Westminster" and Ian Cobain was credited with the byline. lt contained significant inaccuracies which created a substantially misleading article. The existence of the two lodges in question is not secret, they don't operate at Westminster and they don't have MPs or journalists in their respective memberships.

ln particular:

  1. The article claimed that "Two Freemasons' lodges set up for members of parliament and political journalists are continuing to operate secretly at Westminster". This is inaccurate. The Lodges do not operate at Westminster and only meet in Camden at Freemasons' Hall.
  2. The article stated "Exclusive: Lodges for MPs and journalists are so covert even lobby reporters do not know members". The Lodges in the article do not have any MPs or journalists as members.
  3. The Lodges are not secret. Their meeting place is open to the public all year and their meeting dates are published in the United Grand Lodge of England directory of Lodges and Chapters available for the public to buy from most Masonic retailers. Details of the founding of the New Welcome Lodge were published in the press including in the Daily Telegraph. The New Welcome Lodge and Gallery Lodge are referred to in Hansard and have had Wikipedia pages for 12 years. Both Lodges feature in publicly available academic articles (on Researchgate, among other resources) and press. A detailed history of Gallery Lodge, together with its past and present members, was published in 1968. lt is wilfully misleading for the Guardian to state that the Lodges operate secretly or to imply that their existence is "secret" or "covert".
  4. The article claimed that "The New Welcome Lodge has about 30 to 40 members ... only about four of the current members are MPs". This is fictitious, as anybody connected with the Lodge would know. New Welcome Lodge only has 22 members. There are no current MPs who are members of New Welcome Lodge.

We provided extensive information and quotes to Ian Cobain in answer to his questions about Freemasonry and he used this information in other contemporaneous articles about Freemasonry. He chose not to ask us about New Welcome Lodge and appears to have ignored all of the widely published and available information about it and Gallery Lodge. He did not provide us with any opportunity to correct the errors in his article. Instead, inaccurate information has been published to create a misleading impression of Freemasonry. The reader is deliberately left to infer that journalists and MPs meet in secret at Westminster as Freemasons, which is untrue and which the author must have known or suspected to be untrue. There is no evidence for, or truth in, these inferences in the article about Freemasonry.

By publishing inaccuracies which foster and promote popular prejudices against Freemasonry concerning corruption, power and control, the article damaged the reputation of the United Grand Lodge of England as a membership organisation and encouraged further discrimination against individual Freemasons.

We request that you publish a retraction of the article in an agreed form which confirms that journalists and MPs don't meet in secret at Westminster as Freemasons. We also request that you publish an apology to Freemasons for misleading the public about the nature of Freemasonry.

Yours faithfully,

Dr David Staples
CEO
For and on behalf of
The United Grand Lodge of England

Categories: UGLE News

Striking new sculpture of Grand Master unveiled

News from UGLE - 2 February 2018 - 12:00am

It’s been two years in the making, with the United Grand Lodge of England’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, brought to life in a striking new bronze bust

Sculpted by Frances Segelman, it is life and a quarter size, with his eyes subtly picked out in blue. It was cast by Bronze Age in Limehouse.

Frances was first approached to sculpt HRH The Duke of Kent back in 2016 by then Grand Secretary Nigel Brown, to mark UGLE’s Tercentenary and his 50th anniversary as Grand Master. As a result, His Royal Highness sat for Frances on a number of occasions at both Kensington Palace and her studio in Wapping, London.

Frances Segelman has sculpted a wide variety of public figures including HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. Recent projects have included Boris Johnson, Joanna Lumley, Lord Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Steven Redgrave and Sergei Polunin

The Grand Master’s sculpture can be seen on display in the Kent Room in Freemasons’ Hall.

Categories: UGLE News

Commemorative stone unveiled to mark Tercentenary

News from UGLE - 30 January 2018 - 2:18pm

It’s been 300 years since the well-known story of four London lodges who came together on St John’s Day, 24th June 1717 and founded the world’s first Grand Lodge

To commemorate the Tercentenary of this date, a commemorative stone has been unveiled outside the Tower Entrance of Freemasons’ Hall. 

Three of the four lodges who made this vital contribution to Freemasonry are still active today – Lodge of Antiquity No.2, Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No.IV, and Fortitude and Old Cumberland Lodge No.12. They are referred to as Time Immemorial lodges and have the unique distinctions of being allowed to operate without the requirement of a warrant, and of having a band of dark blue in their lodge officers' collars.

The occasion was marked by a joint meeting at Mansion House where the United Grand Lodge of England’s Grand Master, HRH The Duke of Kent, was proclaimed as the Master of all three lodges.

Next time you walk past Freemasons’ Hall, make sure to cast your eyes over this commemorative stone and its history of four lodges coming together to found the Premier Grand Lodge.

Categories: UGLE News

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator

News from UGLE - 10 January 2018 - 10:42am

United Grand Lodge of England seeks an Administrator on an initial 6 month fixed-term contract (potential extension dependant on workload) to work in the Secretariat Department

The position is available for an immediate start.

The principal focus of the role is to assist existing staff and the Assistant Grand Secretary in preparing the Installations of new Provincial and District Grand Masters and Grand Superintendents. The successful applicant will also assist with planning visits by Rulers to private Lodges and Chapters, and to Provincial meetings. In line with the Department’s aim to multiskill all the staff so that they may each cover the absence of colleagues, there will be a requirement to develop an understanding of many aspects of the administration of Freemasonry in the Provinces and Districts.

The successful applicant will work 9am – 5pm in an open-plan office at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street. He or she will:

  • Possess a meticulous eye for detail.
  • Be able to work alone under pressure and to immovable deadlines.
  • Be willing and able to contribute to the team at times of heavy demand, reprioritising their own work as necessary.
  • Possess tact, diplomacy, and advanced interpersonal skills.
  • Possess excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Have knowledge of the administration of a Masonic Lodge and Chapter, and the ceremonial aspects of ritual. The role will particularly suit someone who has been a capable Lodge Secretary or Scribe E with DC experience.
  • Have knowledge of Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, and Outlook, and be otherwise IT literate to adapt to bespoke systems and databases (training will be given).

Please note that the Department is not receptive to applications from smokers.

Competitive salary and terms package applies.

Please attach your curriculum vitae to a letter comprising no more than two sides of A4 (minimum font size 11), which sets out what skills and qualities you can add to the team, and evidence of how these skills have been demonstrated in a previous role. A detailed Masonic cv is not required. Send to:

Mrs E. Gay
Head of HR
United Grand Lodge of England
60 Great Queen Street
Freemasons’ Hall
London
WC2B 5AZ

Or via email to egay@ugle.org.uk

The closing date for applications is Friday 26 January 2018

Categories: UGLE News

BBC Radio 4 Today - interview with Dr David Staples

News from UGLE - 5 January 2018 - 10:55am

Further to the recent news coverage in the national newspapers relating to Freemasonry and Police Federation Reforms, Dr David Staples, Chief Executive Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England, has been interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

You can listen to the interview here, which starts at 02:46:21.

Categories: UGLE News

Letter to the Editor - National Newspapers

News from UGLE - 3 January 2018 - 2:58pm

Following the news coverage in The Guardian, Times, Sun, Mail Online and Independent Online relating to Freemasonry and Police Federation reforms, Dr David Staples, Chief Executive Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England, has sent this letter (tailored) to each of these national newspapers

Dear Editor

I write in response to your articles Freemasons are blocking reform, says police chair and Why the secret handshake between police and Freemasons should worry us in The Guardian on 1st and 2nd January.

The articles show a complete and disappointing misrepresentation of Freemasonry. Furthermore, we understand, having spoken to the outgoing Chairman of the Police Federation, that recent media coverage does not accurately reflect his views.

We are quietly proud that, throughout history, when people have suffered discrimination both in public and social life, Freemasonry has welcomed them into our Lodges as equals. It is a shame that Freemasons are now quite openly discriminated against and that too many of our members, therefore, feel the need to keep their membership to themselves.

The idea that reform within the Police Federation or anywhere else is being actively thwarted by an organised body of Freemasons is laughable and suggests an unbelievable element of will and influence from an organisation which is non-political, non-religious, values integrity and upholds the law.

In 2001 and again in 2007 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Freemasonry was not a secret or unlawful organisation.

There is absolutely no reason why police officers, or anyone from any other walk of life, should not be a Freemason and we highlight our shared organisational values of integrity and service to the community.

Dr David Staples
Chief Executive Officer
United Grand Lodge of England

Categories: UGLE News

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