A special event was held here last week, organised by the Grand Charity, in commemoration of His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent’s forty years as our Grand Master. I am delighted to say that the presentation of cheques to Charities of the Grand Master’s own choice, proved to be a considerable public relations success for the Craft as a whole. It presented an ideal opportunity to stress to non Masons, especially the ten non Masonic recipient charities, the diversity and amount of our charitable giving.
Brethren, many of you will know that a great deal of work has been going on to launch the new UGLE Website. I can now announce that the new website is in the process of going live. This well researched site is designed both as a public relations exercise and recruitment tool. Most importantly, it underpins our whole philosophy of open communications. Existing members, I very much hope, will find the new site fresh and informative. But, it is specifically designed for those who are thinking of joining and who have just joined. Interestingly, our research shows that over ninety per cent of potential joiners looked us up on the UGLE website.
Importantly, it will help Masons when they talk to family, friends and acquaintances who are genuinely interested to hear what Freemasonry is all about. Equally, it will go a long way to dispel myths with our detractors. It’s a dynamic site and will be constantly evolving and being updated with the latest news.
Brethren, I think we have all been more than a little irritated at some time or other to discover that some applications for jobs and certain offices have a question asking whether the applicant is a Freemason. As a result of theEuropean Court ruling, we are now actively pursuing any government body or organisation who specifically asks such a question on their application form. Lambeth Borough Council, with whom we have been in correspondence for some time, has now backed down on this subject.
We are now turning our attention to the Ministry of Justice and we have given them until the end of this month to remove the direct question, “Are you a Freemason”, from their application form. I might add Brethren that, although most Masons would be delighted and proud to say that they are Masons, the inclusion of such a question is, nonetheless, flagrant discrimination.
As always, I want to thank the Grand Director of Ceremonies and his team for the excellent way the meeting has been run and the Grand Secretary and his staff for all the organisation for today. Finally, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in September and, until then, I wish you and your families a very happy summer.