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This will be my final article for 2017 and with this the holiday season is upon us.  For many, the holiday season is not only the most anticipated time of year, but it is a time when even the busiest individuals can take time out to be with their families.  Aren’t you glad our Thanksgiving dinner is always on a Tuesday, and not Thursday, so you can get a chance to be with your Masonic family as well?

For activities in the next months, in addition to the Thanksgiving dinner, we have our December Stated Meeting/Holiday party on December 11th with the usual carolers, Santa, and fellowship.  Burlingame Lodge Holiday Party will be on December 16th (with some new surprises).  Look for flyers with details for both events.

Let the season of the year remind all Masons no matter what their religious beliefs, to follow those universal tenets of our Craft and the 18th degree  (Knight Rose Croix)  Faith, Hope, and Charity.  In so doing, satisfaction should come during this Holiday time.

It is also a time to look ahead to opportunities in the new year.  We look forward to our new Burlingame Scottish Rite Masons to become active members and take a leadership role in our Valley.  We look forward to a new BSR degree team to confer the 26th degree at Oakland Scottish Rite, where all 29 degrees will be conferred for the first time ever in Northern California.   We look forward to our new Director of the Childhood Language Center bringing new ideas, leadership and hope to the many children with speech and language challenges.  We look forward to BSR to continue to be a small but mighty valley by continuing to participate as an active organization in Burlingame and beyond.

Finally, be proud of our Masonic culture, our commitment to Free Masonry, our values and present ourselves to the world with assurance, dignity and humility.  Be proud that you are a Mason, and that becoming a Mason, you have become a better person.


Gary Stephens
Venerable Master, Burlingame Lodge of Perfection

The Master Mason realizes Charity to be one of the greatest traits which the elder Brethren have unfolded, which means not only properly regulated charity of the purse such as donations of cash, checks, stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments but charity in thought and action and other equally legitimate forms such as gifts of time, skill and energy (pro bono work).

As has been alluded, 19th century was the age of capitalism, 20th the age of socialism, and the 21st seems to be the age of charity. If you take a cursory look around you, you will read about the emergence of several prosperous industrialists and software giants that are channeling their largesse or enormous resources to fund projects worldwide to alleviate poverty and to improve access to advances in health and learning in an active effort to improve the quality of human life.

One of the most widely referenced sections of the Mishneh Torah is the section dealing with Tzedaka.  Tzedakah is a Hebrew word commonly used to signify charity. Here is Maimonides (in the Rambam, Hilchot Matanot LAniim 10:1,7-14)  Hierarchy of the Eight Degrees of Charity as quoted in the Mishneh Torah, his book of Jewish laws and concepts.
(Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Presents to the Poor)

1. The greatest level, above which there is no other, is to strengthen the name of another Jew by giving him a present or loan, or making  a partnership with him, or finding him a job in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer beg from people, supporting  himself  instead of living upon others.

2. One who gives tzedaka to the poor, but does not know to whom he gives, nor does the recipient know his benefactor

3. One who knows to whom he gives, but the recipient does not know his benefactor

4. One who does not know to whom he gives, but the poor person does know his benefactor

5. One who gives to the poor person before being asked

6. One who gives to the poor person after being asked

7. One who gives to the poor person gladly and with a smile

8. One who gives to the poor person unwillingly.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, made some remarks which relates back and gives credence to Mishneh Torah’s first degree of charity.  The text of his remarks follows -

Nothing is finer than the open hand and the generous heart thats prompt-free and unselfish giving.  But modern social science knows, also, that ill directed charity is often directly responsible for encouragement of pauperism and mendicancy.   The best service we can do for the needy and the unfortunate is to help them in such manner that their self-respect, their ability to help themselves, shall not be injured but augmented. Nobody is necessarily out merely because he is down. But, being down, nobody gets up again without honest effort of his own. The best help that benevolence and philanthropy can give is that which induces everybody to help himself.

Freemasonry is not, per se, a relief organization.  It does not exist merely for the purpose of dispensing charity.  Nor has it great funds with which to work its gentle ministrations to the poor.  Fees are modest, dues often are too small. Yet Freemasons support many charitable causes to propagate the philosophy and principles of equality, brotherhood and the feel of love for every other sentient being.  Let us set examples of charity, kindness and forbearance. Let us remember that it is better to love than to hate;  that your duty is not to be better than others, but to be better than yourselves; and that the more you have, the more you owe to those who need assistance.

And never forget to give thanks. The best way to give thanks is to pay forward. Giving back to whom it is due is being grateful,  but paying forward by serving without cost is gratitude a thousand fold. You don’t succeed by yourself so be thankful and pass it on.

To the Charitable, you have given the greatest gift of all.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Proud to be a Scottish Rite Mason, I remain..



Chris 2017 web

Greetings CLC Supporters!

Greetings CLC Supporters!

The fifth annual golf tournament has come and gone,  thanks to Hon. Whit and the rest of the volunteers and donors for another great event! The final numbers aren’t in yet, but it looks like this event will net our CLC another $10k! Awesome!

If you have been reading my articles, you have seen $10k here and another $10k there, and you may be thinking that we are doing such an awesome job raising funds, that your donations aren’t needed. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. We (the Valley of Burlingame, the Valley of San Francisco and the CLC board members) have to raise around $40k to fund our CLC as it is. That is, $40k is the amount of additional funds required to stay flat,  no new services, no more kids in the program and no money back into our investment portfolio. At our last CLC Board meeting, I asked the members if they thought this was acceptable “ they said NO! I hope you all agree with us and will commit to supporting our language center!

How can you help? I’m glad you asked! You can:

1. Donate $250 and become a member of the 365 club for a year
2. Donate any other amount of money you can afford
3. Tell your friends about our CLC and the great work we do
4. Explore donation matching with your employer
5. Volunteer at our fundraising events
6. Support our social media efforts
   a. Like the California Scottish Rite Foundation page on Facebook
   b. Like San Francisco-Burlingame RiteCare Childhood Language Center on Facebook
   c. Follow the California Scottish Rite Foundation on LinkedIn
   d. Follow on Instagram and Twitter
   e. Most important is the like/follow, but sharing posts is definitely a close second.

Our CLC doesn’ have very many likes on Facebook, so I’ll be checking next week to see how many of you have responded to my request, so no pressure! 

Chris D. Smith, 32 KCCH
Chairman, SFBRCCLC Board of Directors

April 27th - Stated Meeting

May 2nd - Education Fete - Cancelled

Note it will be held on Stated meeting night

May 18th- Stated Meeting


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Want to know how you can support Scottish Rite Childhood Learning and Language Center? Click here!

Want to learn more about it, click read more below.            


November 21st - 6:30pm (Tuesday)
Thanksgiving Dinner
See enclosed flyer.
Burlingame Lodge #400 Hosting

November 27th - 6:30pm (Monday)
Stated Meeting Dinner
Meeting to follow

December 11th - 6:00pm (Monday)
Stated Meeting (Short Meeting)
6:30pm Christmas Dinner and Party