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Published: 1 June 2024

United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), the Order of Women Freemasons (OWF) and the Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (Freemasonry for Women) are keen to respond to comments made by journalist Oliver Keens in his piece in today’s edition of The Independent.

In it, the reference to Freemasonry singularly fails to acknowledge the simple fact that women Freemasons have been meeting in this country for over 100 years and that the three main organisations for Freemasons in this country, of which two are women-only and one is for men, work closely together on a number of issues – including invaluable service in our communities and the seemingly endless task of addressing inaccurate, misleading and offensive misconceptions of Freemasonry, perfectly represented in this, our response to yet another misinformed attack.

Addressing other elements of the article, Freemasonry is proud of its history of inclusivity and for centuries, we have welcomed members from all walks of life, regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexuality or socio-economic background. Across the world, most nights, in Freemason Lodges, these groups of people come together to enjoy their Freemasonry, united in their commitment to our core values of Integrity, Friendship, Respect and Service. The commitment to our values has seen millions of pounds donated to deserving causes – all as a result of the generosity of our members. The same people described in such a disparaging fashion by Mr Keens. 

We can assure Mr Keens that these people are not the ‘establishment’, they are normal people who wish to make a positive contribution to their communities and enjoy a timeless hobby as they do so.

On this basis, we are delighted to offer you and Mr Keens the chance to visit Freemasons’ Hall in London, open to the public six days a week, to meet some of our members and find out more about the proud history of our organisations. The Order of Women Freemasons also warmly invites you to visit their headquarters in London.

We look forward to welcoming you.

United Grand Lodge of England

Order of Women Freemasons

Honourable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons (Freemasonry for Women)

Freemasonry responds to The Independent

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