I’ve Always Wanted an Older Sister: Sigma Phi Lambda, the Christian Sorority!
Note: Outside of the Pan-Hellenic Greek system, there are a Christian sorority and a Christian fraternity called Phi Lamb (Sigma Phi Lambda), and BYX (Beta Upsilon Chi), respectively. They’re also technically off-campus, but feel very on-campus since all members are Vanderbilt students and Phi Lamb meets at St. Augustine’s on Greek row. Here, I’ll detail Phi Lamb and Phi Lamb “rush,” and in a future post, a guest writer and my best friend, Robbie, will talk all about BYX (Hint: BYX is MUCH more crazy than Phi Lamb). Get ready for some awesome lamb love!
I think that my attitude towards Phi Lamb is best represented by this Facebook post after saying yes to Phi Lamb:
“Ten minutes before the introduction to Phi Lamb, I walked determinedly across the Vandy bridge and promised myself I wouldn’t say yes. And then they asked if I wanted to join, and well, they were just too wonderful. And now I’m so, so happy to say that I’m a Lamb!!! I can’t wait to finally (finally!!!) have older sisters to tell me when pink tights are not the right fashion choice, to remind me that God is in everything, and to share all the wisdom that being an “older girl” (my aspiration for forever) comes with. They’re all beautiful and smiley and amazing and I don’t even know everyone yet. Love y’all so much! I can’t wait to grow in faith with you all; you’re all so amazing!!! <3 <3 <3 Praying for all the lambs always :) :) :)”
Yes, I am so excited to say that I am in the Spring 2016 pledge class of Phi Lamb. Although other sisters have written about Phi Lamb in other Inside Dores blog posts (the reason I knew about Phi Lamb in the first place!), I hope to give an even deeper look into what Phi Lamb is to y’all.
Sigma Phi Lambda, or Sisters for the Lord, is a Christian sorority in name, but one does not officially have to be Christian to join. One can be searching for the religion that resonates the most with her, or looking for a sorority where the focus is on learning more about oneself through prayer and long talks with the sisters. The schedule consists of a 90-minute chapter on Monday night starting at 8 PM, New Member meetings on Saturdays for 90 minutes, prayer group for 20 minutes during the week (usually between classes and mostly at the Last Drop Coffee Shop in Rand), and various service events throughout the semester. It sounds like a lot, but it’s very doable, and honestly, it’s less work and more hanging out with some of your favorite people. <3 #lamblove
Phi Lamb is made up of a conglomeration of such girls, girls who are more focused on the inner self than the outer, girls who are looking to become better daughters of Christ. One joins Phi Lamb by typically going to one or more rush events, which are held both in the Fall and the Spring. These can include watching Disney movies, painting nails, and the one event I had time for: open chapter. At open chapter, I didn’t feel any overwhelming feelings of sisterhood or fellowship, but I did see the potential for the sisterhood in the forty or so smiling sisters. And the sisters were different from Greek sisters, too. They didn’t all look vaguely the same, and there weren’t so many of them that it was overwhelming. The sisters were all shades and shapes, and I knew that there wouldn’t be any focus on a certain way to look here. The focus was on the inner.
When I opened the door to St. Augustine’s (an Episcopalian church located on Greek Row, ironically enough a triangular shaped building next to the Tri Delt house), I saw Inside Dores blogger and University Catholic member Aleida Gomez, the reason I even knew about Phi Lamb in the first place. As soon as she saw me, Aleida walked over and gave me a huge hug, officially welcoming me to Phi Lamb. After the fifty degree weather outside, I was so happy to be hugged by a potential future older sister! (And Aleida is the best “older sister” ever!)
At 8:00 PM, the president of Phi Lamb, Sami, opened the doors to the chapel and the sisters filed in, chatting and laughing. Then, after a short prayer, the sisters began to sing Oceans, and the chapel filled with the comforting sound of their rising voices…
Fifteen minutes and three songs or so later, one of the sisters gave a devotional and then we split into “cable groups” to discuss the focus of the devotional: prayer. A little nervous, I didn’t say a word, just listening to the insights of the girls around me. And goodness, I’m so glad I listened. Their insights into prayer helped me in the stressful week ahead. Throughout the chemistry equations and theorems of the next few days, phrases from cable group kept running through my head, helping me calm down and trust that it’d all be okay.
Following cable groups we went back to the pews, various officers and committees ran through announcements, and then the President announced that anyone interested in joining Phi Lamb should sign up for an interview at a pink laptop outside. Feeling nervous about the whole decision but knowing I could always say no, I signed up on the laptop, grabbed my stuff, and then, after another sister said goodbye and gave me a hug, headed outside. Conflicting voices ran through my head: “Sophie, you have no time!” And then, from my best friend, “Sophie, you’ve always wanted an older sister! And they’re just so nice!”
On Friday, I dressed up and headed to Sarratt for the interview, knowing I was going to thank the Phi Lamb officers for everything and then tell them that I really wanted to join but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time. I could have emailed one of the officers to cancel the appointment, but I felt that cancelling at the last minute would be rude, so off I headed to the interview. And goodness, I’m so glad I did.
Because after twenty minutes of talking, one of the officers, giving me a huge smile, asked me if I wanted to join Phi Lamb. And I just couldn’t say no.
Two weeks later, I found myself at the New Member Retreat, making a red and white fleece blanket with seven other girls. We swapped stories, talking about our families and our lives as we tied the sides of the blankets together. The chapel was ringing with laughter as we created the blankets and as I sat on the stone floor, I realized that I hadn’t been that happy in days.
Three hours later, I was wearing my favorite dress and standing behind the chapel doors, my eyes closed. A hand led me to the doors and I could hear cheering as they slowly opened. The
owner of the hand told me to open my eyes and I stepped forward as my big stepped towards me, about to give me a huge hug. Our tiaras sparkled as the Phi Lamb photographer’s camera flashed and then my whole family (because there’s double recruitment a year, Phi Lamb families are big!!!) rushed towards me, enveloping me in a huge Princess Pham hug.
It’s been a month now since that day and I’m slowly getting to know my big. She’s beautiful, intelligent, and she even likes to exercise… everything that I’ve always wanted in a big sister. She tells me to get enough sleep and she loves dark chocolate just as much as I do. We even have a date to go coffee-hunting in Nashville; I’m so, so excited!!!
I can’t wait to keep y’all updated on the events of Phi Lamb. Questions about Phi Lamb or the Christian ministries in general? Email me at Sophia.firstname.lastname@example.org!
Love y’all! (And because this is a Phi Lamb post—lamb love!!!)
Ever so sincerely,