A Cup, a Chain and a Statue by Eleanor T. Cheslak


            Three words form the circle that is the Sigma Phi Gamma logo.  These words, “Friendship, Community, Service” represent the essence and/or goals of the Sorority as well as the dedication of its members.  Our Pledge and Creed confirm these commitments.

            Further evidence of these intentions is represented by three objects; the loving cup, the chain of friendship and the Buddha statue, found on the crest which was designed by the Founders one hundred years ago.  The loving cup is often used at wedding ceremonies to signify love, togetherness and family.  When repeating our Pledge we say, “I PLEDGE TO PROMOTE FRATERNAL FEELINGS.”

            The second symbol on the crest is the chain of friendship which dates back to 1916 and a cartoon published during the First World War.  The cartoon depicts one nation coming to the defense of another forming a chain.  Thus we say, “I PLEDGE TO DO ALL I CAN TO HELP A SISTER.”

            The third object pictured on the crest is a Buddha statue.  In order to understand the reason for its inclusion, we must answer two questions.  Is the Buddha statue the symbol of Buddhism and is Buddhism a religion?  The answer to the first question is “no”, the symbol most often used is the lotus flower.  However there are several symbols used such as The 8 Spoked Wheel, and Two Golden Fish.  In order to answer the second question, we must go back in history to 500 BC to the first Buddha.  Siddhartha Gautoma was the son of a nobleman in northern India.  He was a philosopher who denied the ancient deist beliefs.  Siddhartha traveled the countryside searching for and contemplating the meaning of life and death—a beginning and an ending.  His thoughts were more closely related to science than religion.  It is said that he reached enlightenment.  Therefore, a Buddha is simply defined as an enlightened person.

            In order to answer the second question, we must look to the definition of religion.  The Merriam Webster dictionary defines it as: “The belief in a god or a group of gods: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god or group of gods.”  Buddhism does not fit this definition since Buddhists do not look or pray to a god, a belief, or a doctrine.  Instead, it is a system of meditation concerning awareness and meaning of life especially the concepts of generosity and good thoughts and deeds.  These concepts are basic to our fulfillment in life. Generosity is the  basis of compassion and the greatest gift to us is the act of giving itself.

            Ghandi referred to this concept when asked the question, “Why do you serve all these people?”  He answered, “I don’t give to anyone.  I do it all for myself.”

            As a Sorority, we are dedicated to community service and our Creed states, “MY DONIMANT DESIRE IS TO RENDER A SERVICE AS GREAT AS LIES WITHIN MY POWER AND TO RENDER THAT SERVICE TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.”

By Eleanor T. Cheslak

Moving Forward by International President Sandy Morris

I hope this letter finds everyone safe and healthy!  As we are all in different parts of the country and in Canada, we face slightly differing situations with staying home, quarantining, being safe and healthy, which is and should be our focus right now.  Things related to that are changing daily, everyone is hoping that Covid-19 is relaxing its grip on us and will allow us to renew our economies.

Your International Council along with the 2020 International Convention Committee is working together.  Knowing that we are living in an uncertain time right now, we are going to have to move on with the planning and hosting of our International Convention.  We have an obligation to the Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri and they are very willing to work with us on having our Convention.  Now, we know there is still a possibility the event will be cancelled due to the State of Missouri continuing its ban on groups larger than 50 from gathering.  It is very clear that this is out of our control and it won’t be decided until much closer to the event.  Lambda Province must move forward to plan the event; they cannot wait.  We are asking you to send in your registrations for International Convention if you think you will plan on attending if the travel bans and group restrictions are relaxed.  Only this way will Lambda Province have a clear picture to move forward in negotiating with the hotel.  Please know your registrations will be refunded if indeed the Convention is cancelled.

The International Council is considering the consequences of cancelling and believe we have the beginning of a good plan in that event.

The ABCs of Quarantining By Beth Beckham, International Organizer

Adventure – Life is an adventure, maybe a little too adventurous for some at this time

Blessing – Use this time to count your blessings, you will discover some you never knew you had

Clean – The dreaded spring cleaning, now a quarantine clean

Donate – After quarantine cleaning, think of all the donations you will have ready when this is all over for those less fortunate

Earth – Show the earth around you some love, plant, weed, mow your grass

Fabulous – Show up every day as your fabulous self, even if it is only to get the mail or take out the trash

Gratitude – There are certainly many we can show our gratitude to during this time, pick someone and show them you appreciate their efforts

Helpful – We can all be helpful to others during this time in some way

Imagine – Together we will get through this and it will end someday, imagine your life as it will be when this is over

Joy – Find joy in all that we do, no matter where we do them, be joyous daily

Kind – Be kind to those we encounter, we do not know what they are personally dealing with and they are providing services for us daily

Lovely – Find the lovely in every day, a flower blooming, a bird calling, a neighbor walking that we greet from afar

Mindfulness – Approach each day with a mindfulness to us and others

Nourishing – Every day nourish our souls, minds and bodies, it’s important to take care of ALL of ourselves during this stressful time

Obtainable – Know that peace and happiness is obtainable for each and every one of us, these should be daily objectives

Playfulness – Be playful in some way every day, not only can this bring us joy, but it keeps us young

Quirky – (I could have put quarantine, but we have had enough of that!)  A little quirky every day never hurt anyone, it can be fun, try it, you may like it

Relax – We are all in this together, frustration, anxiety will not make it go away any sooner, just relax, we’ll get through this

Smile – What can I say, a smile can make everyone’s day, even your own

Triumph – We will triumph over this current crisis because we are strong and committed

Understanding – Demonstrate understanding of others’ situations, we are here for each other

Valued – Know that every one of you is valued by me and others, make your day brighter by knowing this

Witty – Maybe take up a new hobby, sharing jokes and riddles, just to make someone’s day a little brighter (see Quirky above)

X – Did you know that X. X. in Victorian slang means double-excellent and X. X. X. is treble excellent?  A little X trivia for you today

You bet – Well really, I bet you can achieve greatness in your own way during this time, see what you can achieve

Zest – Whether a zest for life or a zest in the kitchen, live you life with it

I hope you reach out to others during this time to let them know they are not alone.

Stay well my SPG Sisters, Beth Beckham

International Organizer, Xi Theta Chapter, Omega Province, Port Charlotte, FL

Reach Out And Support One Another By Debbie Henize

Hello Sisters and Friends,

What a difference time can make.  60 days ago if I said that you would be out of work, contained to your home and expecting $1200 from the government, many of you would have said I was crazy.  You would have been right.  Unfortunately, that is our new reality.
I wanted to post this article because I want anyone who reads it to know that Sigma Phi Gamma is strong.  We have wonderful people with great hearts.  We can be that light for others.  Let’s use this time to get close to one another.  (Figuratively speaking)  Call on that sister who may be in need of some encouragement and would love to just hear your voice.  My mom is 71 years old and under normal circumstances is self sufficient.  She helps me much more than I help her.  However, she feels helpless and was nearly in tears yesterday when we spoke on the phone.  You see, she is safe and healthy but this is causing her mental stress.  (I can share this because I know she will not read it.  She does not read the blog.) I share this not for pity for my mom but for a wake up call for all of us.  This is a stressful time and we need to stay strong and support each other.
We each have different skills.  I have noticed that some of you are helping by making face masks and many other selfless acts.  Can you share these with people?  Facebook, this blog or your Province publication are great starts?  Also, let’s be creative.  Which is difficult for me.  How can we make someone else feel special and loved?  I get so much satisfaction from my association with sisters across the country and Canada.   I want to share that love with as many as possible.  Also remember that many of our members are not actively engaged on social media so it may take other means to reach them.  Use your God given talents to reach out to a sister who may need you.
Dear sisters you are all on my heart.  I am proud to be a Sigma Phi Gamma and want to let all my sisters know I love them.  Special prayers for each of you as you reach out safely.  Let this chain of friendship into deeper love grow.  I’ll light your candle.  Keep it aglow!!
Love and Prayers
Debbie Henize
Nu Tau Chapter

Connected Through Social Media by Vice President Linda Bullington

I love being a member of Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority! We are sisters across the US & in Canada too, united in friendship!

We have 3 levels of membership, we’re all in a local Chapter- a group of women who gather in friendship to help in our community.  Next is the Province level- a region of multiple local Chapters & then there’s the International level- sisters in local Chapters, across the US & Canada.

We see local sisters at our monthly meeting, occasional social gatherings, or work parties for community service or fundraising projects. We see our Province sisters at quarterly lunches & our annual regional Province convention. We see our International sisters, at our annual convention. 

If we’re lucky we also see these sisters socially- sharing vacations & travel. We also keep in touch via phone calls, texting, emails & social media. Today, I’m marveling at our social media connections!
I saw a post this evening, made by one of our sisters across the country, she shared that her family had lost a loved one this morning, I sent her, what I hope, was a comforting message, to let her know I wish I could lighten her sorrow.
I made a post- my daughter works in the Emergency Department at a hospital, tonight she’s outside in the triage tent that’s been set up to assess potential patients before they enter the hospital. It’s scary to me, she could come in contact with a Covid-19 contagious person… My sisters post comforting comments & well wishes for my daughters safety- it helps quell my fear.
One sister’s mom lives in a care facility, they had a positive Covid-19 diagnosis in the facility, we posted comments of well wishes for her moms health safety.

Social media not only allows my sisters & I to share our sadness or fears, but also allows us to share our joys & day to day lives. 
A sister went for a 20 mile bike ride, her first ride of the season! 
Another, shared a recipe.
Do you need a laugh, there are plenty of jokes.
There’s lots of sharing of photos-families, celebrations, nature & vacations.
By using social media we stay in touch with our sisters, share in our day to day life no matter how far apart we are & strengthen our bonds of friendship, this sharing makes our sisterhood stronger!
We are always looking for new members, if our sisterhood appeals to you, check out our website for more info & contact us for details on joining.