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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

David Staples Resigning as U.G.L.E.'s CEO and Grand Secretary


by Christopher Hodapp

The United Grand Lodge of England's First Rising email newsletter arrived Monday morning with a surprising message from Geoffrey Dearing, President of the UGLE's Board of General Purposes:

I'm sorry to announce that David Staples (CEO) has decided to resign from his role as Chief Executive Officer for United Grand Lodge of England with effect from 14 April 2022 although he will remain as Grand Secretary until 14 September 2022 and will attend the investiture events.

David has commented as follows:
 
“Being the Chief Executive Officer of the UGLE has been a singular privilege and honour, and I feel, with the completion and imminent launch of the new UGLE strategy for the next seven years, the time has come to hand on the mantle to someone new so that I can embark on new opportunities.

“The last four and a half years have seen an enormous rate of change within Freemasonry, and I am honoured to have been part of the journey. I have asked the President of the Board to allow me to step down as Chief Executive Officer and to begin the process for recruiting my successor to take the organisation forward into a new chapter of its history. Recognising my desire to move on to new and different challenges, he has kindly agreed. With leave of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, I will be continuing in my role as Grand Secretary until such time as a successor has been appointed in my stead, at which time, as is right and proper, I should expect to step down from office in his favour. I would like to thank you for your enormous hard work and support whilst in tenure and I wish you all, and the United Grand Lodge of England, the very best for the future.”

 I would like to thank David for his hard work and commitment during his time in office, which has led to many positive improvements within Freemasonry. I wish him well in the future.

Geoffrey Dearing, President of the Board of General Purposes

Dr. David Staples has been a Freemason since 1997 when he was initiated into Apollo University Lodge No. 357 in Oxford. He later became Master of Middlesex Lodge No. 143 in 2006 and was appointed Metropolitan Grand Steward in 2011. He was was appointed to the newly created role of Chief Executive Officer of UGLE in September 2017, and invested as Grand Secretary (the youngest in UGLE's history) in April 2018. He quickly became the public face of the Freemasons in England.


Dr. Staples' accomplishments since becoming CEO and Grand Secretary just four years ago are impressive, to say the least. Whether it is the growth and promotion of the UGLE's University Scheme, the opening of a cafe and bar and the beautiful new Letchworth's Masonic Shop in Freemasons Hall, new advertising and promotional campaigns, classical music performances in Freemasons Hall's breathtaking Grand Lodge Temple, and much more. 

Additionally, unlike some of his predecessors in the Grand Lodge who seemed reticent to deal with the press, Staples has quickly made the rounds of news shows and media interviews whenever a story involving the fraternity arises. 

In the last 50 years or so, UGLE and their subordinate lodges have made massive donations to the communities in which they reside, especially for local police, fire and rescue services. Dr. Staples has been especially proactive about issuing press releases and speaking with the media to highlight these contributions throughout the country. Besides local and regional donations made by individual lodges and district Grand Lodges, funds distributed by UGLE's charitable trusts each year consistently make it one of the top private philanthropic organizations in the country.

But in spite of their ongoing generosity to the public year after year, English Freemasons have suffered mightily at the hands of the press, really ever since the publication in the 1980s of Steven Knight's anti-Masonic screed, The Brotherhood, which made completely false allegations of improper Masonic influences in Britain's institutions, especially law enforcement agencies and the courts. English reporters seem to always be on the lookout for an opportunity to invent a Masonic scandal or secret plot, and public comments on these stories are usually filled with "my old man got sacked because of the bloody Masons and their dodgy handshakes!" messages. Once a smear is in the headlines, it bores into the collective minds of the public at large, perpetuating anti-Masonic myths on into the future.

Suffice it to say that institutional silence by grand lodges in the face of anti-Masonic campaigns in the media has not served us well in the modern age. And so, upon becoming the CEO for UGLE, David Staples became very proactive in defense of the fraternity.

In 2018 when the Guardian newspaper published a series of inflammatory attack articles and opinion pieces making false accusations, Staples quickly responded. Multiple news sites quickly began to reprint parts of the story, and embellish it on their own. Knowing full well that any news outlet would do no more than selectively quote any letter or press release, the UGLE followed up Staples' response to the Guardian and other news outlets with full page advertisements in the Telegraph, the Times and other major papers in England, declaring 'Enough Is Enough.'  

The hashtag #EnoughIsEnough quickly spread among members.




Perhaps it's only an illusion or wishful thinking, but since the #EnoughIsEnough campaign in 2018, there seems to have been a sharp reduction in anti-Masonic reporting in Britain. 

In an appearance on the BBC, Staples had the perfect rejoinder to non-Masons who leveled completely false accusations and conspiracy theories at the fraternity: "The trouble about Freemasonry is that, if you want a medical opinion, you go and ask a doctor. If you want to know about how to build a building, you go and ask an architect. But if you want to know about Freemasonry, you ask absolutely everybody but a Freemason." 

Dr. Staples hasn't publicly said what his future plans may be, but his achievements for the fraternity are a lasting legacy. We wish him well in all his endeavors, and hope his successors continue to build upon the foundations he has laid.




4 comments:

  1. I thank Dr. David Staples for a job well done and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

    The continued success of the United Grand Lodge of England is crucial to the overall success of regular Freemasonry around the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Forward Thinking FreemasonFri Apr 29, 01:40:00 PM 2022

    I’m calling it now: Dr. Staples will be the next Pro GM, or close to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the Deputy GM, Jonathan Spence, has already been announced for Pro GM. It wouldn't surprise me though if Dr Staples goes in as Asst. GM with the current Assistant moving up to Deputy.

      Delete

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