Language Center News

Greetings from the OC Childhood Language Center 

We are back from winter break and ready to get to work helping kids become great communicators. Every day when we arrive at the office we are so grateful for the new space and to our CLC Board for all the help they provide.  Thank you again to all Scottish Rite members for their generous support through the Holiday season!

We have several success stories to share, as the children have been making great strides in their therapy. 


Evan started attending the RiteCare CLC at age 18 months with virtually no language skills.  He showed very little eye contact when interacting with people. Thanks to the therapy sessions with the student clinicians he is now a great talker.  Evan will be graduating from the RiteCare CLC and will transition to school-district services. As you can see, he is a very loving boy with lots of eye contact.

Valerie has been with us since May of 2018 and has been  working very hard to improve her communication skills.  She has continuously progressed through her therapy goals by targeting her speech sounds.  Hooray for Valerie, another recent graduate!

We had three preschoolers who came into the RiteCare CLC within the last year with both language delays and speech sound disorders. Had these challenges not been treated, this could have caused the children to not fully participate in school and avoid social interactions with their peers. By attending the RiteCare CLC and working with our student clinicians, these three made quick gains in their communication skills and were able to graduate in December. They are now ready for school!   

Thanks for all your support.

David Frias 32° KCCH
RiteCare Childhood Language Center of Orange County

Please Donate!

Please consider donating to our Language Center during the new year. We are very thankful for all your support. To donate, visit:

Commander of Kadosh

Brothers: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, and this being my first article as Commander of Kadosh, I thought: What better way look into Freemasonry than celebrating love? Sir Winston Churchill could not have said it better (see below). One of the best ways to make a good man better is the love of a supportive partner. Someone who can share the load or lift your spirits when it seems the world is at its darkest, is the love we all look for. Take a moment to reflect on your special someone this day and let them know what they mean to you.

For brotherly love, I give you the following song that was written in 1881 for an installation at Royal Lodge no. 643 Filey:

Brother Masons, arise, and join in the chorus,
When you hear what it is you will gladly obey;
A heart-stirring duty is present before us,
To welcome our Master on Valentine's Day. 
Una voce elected to rule us, we render
A willing consent to be under his sway;
As a proof of that feeling we all of us tender
Our “hearty good wishes” on Valentine's Day.
The jolly old Veteran he has succeeded
Has made his path easier every way;
To follow his footsteps is all that is needed
To merit our plaudits on Valentine's Day.
In “brotherly love” we each of us greet him;
For his health and his happiness all of us pray;
And when in the Lodge, 'tis our duty to meet him,
We'll hark back with pleasure to Valentine's Day.
At the end of the year, when his term shall expire,
May each of the members be able to say,
“There is not one amongst us could ever desire
A better than ruled us on Valentine's Day.”
Then raise up your voices and join in the chorus,
And let our energy loudly display
How earnest the wish, that our brother before us,
May live to see many a Valentine's Day.
©W.W. Morgan., 1880 Freemasons Chronicles Vol 13

I hope this finds all of you in good health and happiness. May brotherly love surround us today, tomorrow, and forever.

Bob White, 32°
Commander of Kadosh

Master of Kadosh

Brethren: As we look forward to a New Year, filled with possibilities, ups and downs, and successes and failures, it is more important than ever to keep Free Masonry utmost in our hearts.

 The basic principles help guide us toward a much more centered life, where we endeavor to always improve – in our work, our trade, our relationships, and especially our family.

I encourage everyone to revisit the basic tenants of each Degree. They were ingeniously, as with everything the Great Architect has done, laid out so that by understanding and following the deeper meaning of the Masonic Ritual, one can lead a better life.

Here’s to a peaceful, loving and emotionally and financially prosperous 2020. 

Rob Rappaport, 32°
Master of Kadosh

Senior Warden

Greetings Brethren: I would like to take a moment and wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. I would also like to encourage you to get involved this year, and help promote our Valley and Language Center. I truly feel if we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot, and make a difference. 

I came across an article on brotherly love that I’d like to share with you:

What is brotherly love and how do we find it?

Whether the subject of heart is mulled over by the philosopher or analyzed by the scientist, one thing is certain — the heart is one of life’s most important mysteries. 

Freemasonry reflects this idea when it instructs that every mason is made ready first in his heart, and at the close of our Masonic quest it is the purified heart which we consecrate to serving humanity. Among all the masonic teachings, none is more important than brotherly love. 

It is a familiar aphorism of Vincent van Gogh, and I think a true one: That which undertaken for the cause of love is well accomplished. 

Van Gogh wrote:  

It is good to love many things, for therein, lies the true strength. Whosoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much…. What is done, in love, is well done.

Unfortunately, in the world today, it seems like the practice of brotherly love falls short of the ideal. Peace and harmony do not rule the day. There is conflict here and around the world. Our very home, this tiny little planet, is in real crisis. The disconnect between the ideal and the reality bewilders and baffles me. As a humanity, we are just not very good at the practice of brotherly love. Perhaps it is because we don’t really know what it is.

Are we all just looking for love in all the wrong places? 

W.L. Wilmshurst in The Meaning of Masonry tells us:

The very essence of the Masonic doctrine is that all men in this world are in search of something in their own nature which they have lost, but that with proper instruction and by their own patience and industry they may hope to find.

Could this “something” be love? BIG LOVE? Love is an elusive subject. We know that it is often driven by a range of factors. To feel love is one thing but to define it is quite another. Brotherly love is not a thing that one can hold in the hand or see with the eye.

Many masonic writers define brotherly love as tolerance. Although, tolerance is admirable among virtues, I have always felt it not a very lofty concept. Sure, if we compare it with outright bigotry, tolerance is indeed a virtue. But dig a little deeper, and behind tolerance is a concept a few steps removed from our loftiest ideals. “I tolerate you” is a far cry from “I love you.” 

What is the loftiest expression of brotherly love? If not tolerance, what? How do we find it?

Mike Selix, 32°, KCCH
Senior Warden
Orange County Lodge of Perfection 

From the Editor

As you’ve likely noticed, the newsletter has a new look. I hope you find it easy to digest. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to brother Mark Hoage for setting the standard of excellence with his prior work on the newsletter and for his assistance in getting this new version up and running.

We’re trying something a little different this year, in that we’re running with a theme each month. As you’ve no doubt noticed in the articles posted by our noble authors, this month’s theme is brotherly love — the foundation upon which our fraternity is built. Hopefully you’ll have a little love to pass onto your brothers at our next meeting, this month, and throughout the year.

Calling All Writers!

You don’t have to be a head of body or a member of the line to contribute to this newsletter! If you have something to say from a masonic perspective — perhaps insights into your masonic ruminations, scholarly endeavors you’d like to share, or general news for the brethren — this newsletter is your conduit for those ideas. I encourage any and all brothers who’d like to contribute something to this newsletter to send their ideas to:

I’ll work with you on getting your article together for the next issue.


Andrew Todd, 32°
Wise Master, Chapter of Rose Croix
Editor, Director of Masonic Education

Masonic Education

A friendly reminder that we’re holding our Master Craftsman Study Group prior to each Stated Meeting at 5:45pm. This is your opportunity to enhance your understanding of the Craft, its degrees, and esoterica; and a chance to participate in true Masonic scholarship with your brothers. Our Venerable Master James Cervantes has graciously volunteered to lead the activities and guide us on our path.

If you’d like to attend, please prepare by visiting the website for information about the books and other information to get you started:

The Master Craftsman Program 

For those unaware, the Master Craftsman is a by-mail correspondence course. Each participant is required to do some scholarly reading in advance and complete a written quiz which is mailed to the Supreme Council for grading. As each quiz is completed, a new one is sent and the program progresses. The course consists of 7 quizzes, after completion of which the successful participant will receive a certificate and a lapel pin.

Our study group is being formed to enhance the experience through fraternal collaboration, discussion, and rumination. We have started our sessions at the very beginning:  Master Craftsman: Symbolic Lodge and ESOTERIKA.

The Scottish Rite Master Craftsman: Symbolic Lodge course will familiarize students with aspects of the development of Blue Lodge Masonry and explore some of its developing symbolism. This will reveal that the “High Degrees” began to develop soon after formation of the Premier Grand Lodge (1717). Albert Pike’s book, Esoterika: The Symbolism of the Blue Degrees of Freemasonry, along with Arturo de Hoyos’ Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor & Guide (3d edition) will be used to demonstrate a rational and philosophical interpretation for much of what is found in Craft Masonry.

Quiz #1

Great news for newcomers! Due to the influx of interest in the program, we are starting back at square one in February at Quiz #1. This is a great opportunity for new members to start the year on the right track. If you want to join us, please purchase the books and read the following in preparation for the quiz:

Albert Pike’s Esoterika, pp. xvii-xliii and 75-88
The Scottish Rite Ritual Monitor and Guide, pp. 75-93 

Note: If you don’t have the big Monitor and Guide book, let me know and I can get you a PDF document of the required reading.

You can also reach out to me directly for information and access to our Facebook group.

Thanks to all our brothers for your interest and participation. I’ll see you in the classroom!

Speaking of Facebook 

Did you know that your Valley has a Facebook page? Be sure to stop by and like us next time you’re online!

Wise Master

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already traversed the first full month of 2020. Time is an impatient taskmaster. We’re well on our way through a new year and a new decade! I’ve got a few topics that I’d like to cover this month, including news from the Chapter Rose Croix, the Masonic Education program, and also a few words on this very newsletter you peruse, so let’s get started.

From the Chapter Rose Croix

It is truly an honor to serve as Wise Master this year. I’d like to start by thanking brother Shawn McCuen for his leadership in 2019 and for setting such a fine example; one which I shall work hard to live up to.

As February finds us contemplating the ideas of love and — specifically — brotherly love, I’d like to encourage you all to consider the components from which love is comprised. Specifically: Compassion, trust, and forgiveness.

Compassion, Trust, and Forgiveness

In the romantic sense, love need contain none of these elements, but I believe that true love — be it the love of a parent for their child, the love of two who have chosen a life together, or the brotherly love that all masons embody when entering a lodge — revolves around these components, and I would encourage you to contemplate upon them this month.

Compassion is the true lifeblood of love; the seed from which it grows. Without compassion, what we often see is lust; not love. When you contemplate, think of the compassion you hold and express for those you love.

Love is made stronger with trust, and without it love quickly fades. Trust is the currency of love that is accrued over time, through action and deed. When you contemplate, remember the trust that you have in those you love.

Finally, forgiveness is the salve through which love endures. Should compassion falter; should the temper of trust be tried, through selfish impulse or forgetfulness, it is forgiveness that sustains love. When you contemplate, consider forgiveness of those you love, as they would most certainly forgive you.

Just a little something to carry with us for the month of February; the month of St. Valentine, of candy hearts and greeting cards, of fancy dinners. Remember also that it is first and foremost the month of love.

General Secretary

 Brethren: Our Installation of Officers on January 13th went superbly. SGIG Illustrious Frank Loui 33°, Illustrious John Heisner 33° and Illustrious Ray Godeke 33° all participated in the event. Attendance at the next Installation is highly recommended to all of the Brothers who didn’t make it this year. It is a great ceremony and you can bring your spouses. We appreciate all of the Brothers who have paid their 2020 dues. The Tiler will be checking for 2020 dues cards at the February Stated Meeting. There are still a number of Brothers who need to pay their dues. If you have any questions about your membership status, please call us or email us at the office. 

All is well at the Valley office. Our new location is working out great. Our regular office staff consists of myself and Illustrious Lloyd Clayton 33°. Also, Brother Russ Albright 32° comes in to help. 2020 can be the best year ever for our Valley. To make that happen, all members should participate in a Valley activity. You can be:

  • An officer
  • A cast member in a degree
  • A Knight of St. Andrew
  • An ambassador to your Blue Lodge for OCSR
  • A member of the Super Breakfast crew 
  • Or enroll in the Master Craftsman class. 

Your enjoyment and appreciation of your Scottish Rite membership is directly related to your level of participation.


Jamie Hopkins 32°
General Secretary

Venerable Master

Well, my Brothers… we made it. A quick thank you to our installing team of Ill. Frank Loui, 33º S.G.I.G. for California, Ill. John Heisner, 33º and our own Ill. Ray Godeke, 33º for the honor of their work at our installation ceremony! It was great seeing so many friendly faces to welcome a new Masonic year for our Valley! 

And speaking of thank you’s and what not: Since it is February and love is in the air, a special nod to all of our partners who support us as we all make our way along our own Masonic journeys. 

Now for a little Brotherly Love and another thank you. I have always personally been so appreciative of the nature of Freemasonry, where men of all walks of life, of every race and religion, can dwell together in harmony and friendship through our shared experiences. Today we’ll look at one journey. A shared journey. In 2011 I was a new Master Mason at my home lodge in Orange, CA. I had barely given my third proficiency return when they suggested “You were good at that, you should be a coach!” So I said okay. Not two months later, I was given my first Candidate. Bro. Wes Green, 32º. I think we were both scared half to death at the time. He, being new to Masonry, English was no

t his first language (Wes was born Wisam Hussain in Baghdad, Iraq), me, the fresh Candidate Coach. We started our journey together there. Me, explaining the ways we work in Masonry. Wes, full of questions, the guy was an absolute sponge for knowledge both linguistically and in the Masonic sense. 

We got through Wes’ first three degrees in Blue Lodge and it was about this time that I, along with several other Brethren from Orange Grove Lodge joined the Valley of Santa Ana (now Orange County). Immediately Wes’ interests were piqued by my new excitement in the Scottish Rite. Not long after, Wes joined our Valley and immediately set on a path of service that I have always admired so much. He always viewed his work in the degrees as not only a way to learn, but most importantly, a way to improve himself as a person. 

Sadly, I got an e-mail I never wanted to receive. (Don’t worry, Wes is okay!) Wes and his family moved to Michigan for work in late December. The impact of his move is one that all of our new Candidates from now on will feel, whether they know it or not. His drive and dedication was so essential to our Reunions and his loss will be nearly irreplaceable. So I just wanted to take a moment to share with all of you what a lovely human being Wes Green is and how much he contributed to this Valley. His work and dedication is something we should all strive to emulate in our Masonic endeavors. Thank you, Wes. 

James Cervantes, 32º 
Venerable Master
Director of The Work

Thanksgiving Message


As is the case with most virtues, you do not magically become thankful. There are disciplines and habits you can cultivate that can reap a harvest of gratefulness in your life.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

1 Chronicles 16:34

Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). When we begin to recognize and embrace this truth, it helps facilitate a greater relationship with Him.

There are disciplines and habits we can develop that help us create hearts that are thankful:

Giving thanks requires practice. We need to regularly give thanks for the good things in our lives. We need thankfulness and not criticism to be our default position. When you see something good in your life, point it out. Thank God for it. We all complain occasionally, but practice responding to your own complaining by finding things to be thankful for. This helps to rewire your brain to be as proficient at recognizing the good in your life as you are at identifying the bad.

Give thanks in all circumstances. Paul tells the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances because it’s God’s will (1 Thess. 5:18). Why? We lack perspective about our lives. We don’t have the clarity to look at any situation and say with any certainty why it’s happening. What we do know is that God is in the middle of it, and He is working to bring good out of it. No matter what we are going through, we can give thanks that God is there. He is redeeming the situation and sustaining us through it. Left to our own devices, we focus on what’s going on around us. We transcend our experience when we’re able to lift our eyes above it and see God’s handiwork in the middle of it. A.W. Tozer says, “Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”

Give thanks when things are going well. It might seem silly to give this advice, but it’s important. Our default position is to expect that things will and should go well for us. When life is running smoothly, it’s easy for us to forget that this is a gift from God. We don’t see the ways he protects and guides us along the way to green pastures and still waters.

Recognize the good that has come from bad experiences. It’s good to spend some time reflecting on the difficulties you’ve already walked through. With enough distance, you can begin to recognize the good that came out of those experiences. Maybe it gave birth to a new blessing or it built your stamina and endurance. Either way, learning to see past trials through eternity’s perspective enables us to be more thankful during times of struggle.

Understand the power of giving thanks. I have seen all sorts of people walk through all sorts of horrendous experiences. It always seems to be the case that those who are the most thankful and have learned to recognize God’s hand have the most fortitude and grit.

Thanksgiving is a superpower. It enables us to see past our experiences and embrace the way that God is moving. Not only are thankful people able to draw strength from gratitude, but they’re also able to empower others with their perspective as well.

Rev. David J. Kussman, 33°
Asst. to the Personal Rep. and Chaplain,
Valley of Orange County