Perhaps as part of the ever-changing nature of Freemasonry’s public-facing image, the United Grand Lodge released its first ever Annual Report, documenting the achievements and some enlightening statistics regarding the fraternity in 2020.
Available to download here, the annual report is written in such a way that invites the general public to understand what Freemasonry is and understand the significant role that brothers play in communities across the UK.
To quote UGLE directly:
“The United Grand Lodge of England has launched its first annual report, in its 300-year history, marking another major step forward in its commitment to modernization, transparency, and normalization.”
To some traditionalists within the Craft, the report might be viewed as an unwelcome move towards even less secrecy regarding the functionality and value of the Masonic lodge, that has long been shrouded in mystique and closely guarded by the men who act as its custodians.
But David Staples, CEO of UGLE, believes that the publication of the Annual Report is a watershed moment for the fraternity:
“Our first-ever annual report is a major step ahead for the organization in terms of the transparency and normalization of Freemasonry, we want to tell the public who we are and what we do.”
Reading through the report, there’s little holding back when it comes to articulating what Freemasons do and the contribution they make to charitable causes, particularly in light of the emergence of CO VID-19.
The first couple of pages tell us that there are 172,889 Freemasons in the UK, who raised £42 million in charitable donations, and donated 18.5 million hours of their time to complete unpaid work in 2020.
As the report continues, one is able to learn about the structure and values of Freemasonry and are able to understand what happens within a lodge, thanks to the case study presented.
Overall, we think it’s an excellent move towards modernization and something that has been much needed in recent years. Freemasonry has long received negative press, and the publication of such a report will present the facts and true value of the Craft according to the fraternity.
But of course, not everyone will agree with this sentiment. We would encourage you to read through the report yourself and consider what it means for the secrecy of the Craft going forwards. We would love to hear your take on the future direction of Freemasonry, and what you think such publications will do for the understanding of the centuries-old fraternity.