| Year founded
|| Active chapters
|| Locations |
|| ΣΘΕ - Sigma Theta Epsilon
|| OH, WV, TX, IL, OK, MO |
|| ΒΣΨ - Beta Sigma Psi
|| IL, IN, IA, KS, MO, NY, NE, OH |
|| ΑΓΩ - Alpha Gamma Omega
|| CA, CO |
|| ΦΑΚ - Phi Alpha Kappa
|| MI |
|| ΒΥΧ - Beta Upsilon Chi
|| TX, OK, TN, AR, MS, GA, MO, FL, CO |
|| ΧΑΩ - Chi Alpha Omega
|| NC |
|| ΓΦΔ - Gamma Phi Delta
|| TX, CT, AL, MI, OK, NC |
|| ANΩ - Alpha Nu Omega
|| MD, DC, NJ, NC, FL, OH, PA |
|| ΦΚΧ - Phi Kappa Chi
|| TX |
|| ΚΥΧ - Kappa Upsilon Chi
|| TX, GA, NM, OK, FL, TN, KY, SC |
|| AΩ - Alpha Omega
|| MI |
|| ΩΦΘ - Omega Phi Theta
|| CA |
|| ΓΨΛ - Gamma Psi Lambda
|| GA, AZ, AL |
|| MOG - Men of God
|| TX |
|| ΑΙΩ - Alpha Iota Omega
|| NC |
|| ASUF - Anointed Students In Unity Fellowship
|| GA, FL |
|| ΜΟΓ - Mu Omicron Gamma
|| VA |
|| "ΛΣΦ" -Lambda Sigma Phi
|| AL |
|| ΑΩΘ - Alpha Omega Theta
|| MO |
|| ΜΛΨ - Mu Lambda Psi
|| CA |
|| ΔAX'' - Delta Alpha Chi
|| OK |
|| ΜΠΦ - Mu Pi Phi
|| KY |
While the traditional social fraternity
is a well-established mainstay across the United States
at institutions of higher learning, alternatives - in the form of social fraternities that require doctrinal
and behavioral conformity to the Christian
faith - developed in the early twentieth century which continue to grow in size and popularity today.
What is a Fraternity?
A fraternity is an association of men, selected in their college days by a democratic process, because of their adherence to common ideals and aspirations. Out of their association arises a personal relationship which makes them unselfishly seek to advance on another in the arts of life and to add, to the formal instruction of the college curriculum, the culture, and the character which men acquire by contact with great personalities, or when admitted to partnership in great traditions.
Newton D. Baker (Johns Hopkins, 1892)
The Christian Response
The words of Newton Baker are strong ones that describe accurately the matrix of a fraternal organization. [A Christian Fraternity] is a fraternity in all of these respects, but has been taken a step farther than that of a standard fraternity. We are bound by friendship, honor, and common interests. However, we are first and foremost bound by the love of Jesus Christ, God’s son, our Savior. Because of this we can do all things!
Darren White (Kappa Upsilon Chi Alpha class, TTU 1993, Philippians 4:13)
Early twentieth century
Several Christian fraternities were established in the early part of the 20th century; the two largest were Sigma Theta Epsilon
and Alpha Gamma Omega
, and are active still today.
Sigma Theta Epsilon
Phi Tau Theta
, a Methodist fraternity, was founded in 1925. Sigma Epsilon Theta
, another Methodist affiliated fraternity, was founded in 1936 at Indiana University
. These eventually merged to form Delta Sigma Theta in 1941, which changed its name to Sigma Theta Epsilon
in 1949, due to the threat of a lawsuit from a sorority that was already using the name Delta Sigma Theta
By the late 1950's Sigma Theta Epsilon consisted of over twenty chapters, but began to decline at the end of the 1960's. The fraternity became non-denominational in 1968. Down to only three chapters by the 1980's, Sigma Theta Epsilon began chartering new chapters again in 1988 and currently has eleven active chapters with the most recent chartered in 2005, a new colony as of Fall 2006 and several interest groups throughout the United States.
Alpha Gamma Omega
Alpha Gamma Omega
was established in 1927 on the campus of UCLA
. They, too, suffered a decline in chapters and numbers before experiencing extensive national growth starting in 1987. They have outlasted and persevered for years, making them one of the largest Christian fraternal movements in the country today.
Late twentieth century
At the same time that the historic Christian fraternities were beginning to rebound from their declining numbers, other groups of Christian fraternities were developed. Much of this is associated with the rise of the Evangelical Christian
movement. The largest, Beta Upsilon Chi, directly led to the founding of three other Christian Greek-letter organizations; the second-largest, Alpha Nu Omega, was founded three years later.
The Texas Movement
Origins in Austin
Beta Upsilon Chi
was founded in 1985
on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin
while Kappa Upsilon Chi
was founded in 1993
on the campus of Texas Tech University
Beta Upsilon Chi founders declared it to be an alternative to the stereotypical fraternal lifestyle and set its purpose as "establishing brotherhood and unity among college men, based upon the common bond of Jesus Christ."
Though originally conceived as a local Christian fraternity, efforts from Christian students at neighboring Texas schools convinced the founders of BYX to initiate new members and colonize new chapters. In 1989, BYX leaders initiated men from Texas Christian University to colonize Beta Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi.
Starting from Lubbock
In 1993, Kappa Upsilon Chi was founded by men who led Christian ministries and were members of Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity at Texas Tech. The fraternity sought to be a social alternative for Christian men. While it had no intentions of expanding originally, the fraternity has grown throughout its rather brief history.
Expansion to women
The influence of Beta Upsilon Chi on the Christian fraternity movement has been significant. In 1988, only three years after its founding, women from Texas established Sigma Phi Lambda, or Sisters for the Lord. This women's Christian sorority was heavily modeled on BYX and is considered by many to be its sister sorority.
As Beta Upsilon Chi inspired Sigma Phi Lambda's establishment, Kappa Upsilon Chi inspired the establishment of Theta Alpha and Delta Alpha Chi, two separate Christian sororities established in the state of Florida.
Today: largest group of Christian Greek-letter organizations
Today, fifty-five chapters of Christian GLO's (Greek letter organizations) trace their roots back to the Texas Movement. Beta Upsilon Chi, Sigma Phi Lambda, Kappa Upsilon Chi, and Theta Alpha can all trace their inspiration to the start in 1985.
BYX, with twenty-two chapters in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Missouri, Florida, and Colorado, and potential chapters in North Carolina, Ohio, and California, remains the largest Christian fraternity in the United States.
KYX with fourteen chapters in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and New Mexico and potential chapters in Kentucky, Kansas and Ohio is the second largest male-only Christian fraternity in the United States.
Mississippi is the first state to offer a Christian fraternity at all of its comprehensive 4 year universities.
Alpha Nu Omega, Incorporated
Alpha Nu Omega Incorporated was founded in 1988 on the campus of Morgan State University. The organizational purpose is to "present a Christian alternative to the students and or faculty on college/university campuses, to minister to the needs of the whole person (spirit, soul, and body), and to promote an attitude of academic excellence among its members."
The organization is unique in the fact that it exists as one organization that operates as two distinct entities: a fraternity and sorority. The two are bound by one constitution.
Alpha Nu Omega Incorporated is established as far North as New York, as far south as Florida, and as far west as Ohio. While numerous chapters are at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the organization does not declare itself a black Christian organization and welcomes all ethnicities.
Other Christian fraternities were founded during the second wave of the fraternal movement of the late 20th century and early 21st.
- Chi Alpha Omega in 1987, founded on the campus of East Carolina University
- Phi Kappa Chi in 1988, founded on the campus of Baylor University
- Gamma Phi Delta in 1988, founded on the campus of University of Texas at Austin
- Alpha Nu Omega also in 1988, founded on the campus of Morgan State University
- Men of God in 1999, founded on the campus of Texas Tech University when a group of men talked about God at a Step Show. MOG performs a yearly Step Show filled with mimes, dancers, and singers in honor of their beginning. MOG has grown, as have other second-wave Christian fraternities, but it prefers to remain small. Unlike other groups, they limit the number of men that can join each chapter. They feel this enables them to witness and disciple more effectively.
- Gamma Psi Lambda in 1999, founded on the campus of Fort Valley State University Gamma Psi Lambda started off as a Christian Fraternity but under the unction of the Holy Spirit they became a Co-Ed Christian Fraternal Organization
- Alpha Iota Omega in 1999, founded on the campus of University of North Carolina
- Lambda Sigma Phi in 2001, founded on the campus of the University of Alabama
- Mu Omicron Gamma in 2001, founded on the campus of Old Dominion University
- Alpha Omega Theta in 2002, founded in St. Louis, Missouri
- Mu Lambda Psi in 2004, founded on the campus of California State University Northridge
- Delta Alpha Chi in 2005, founded on the campus of Oklahoma City University
Alpha Omega Co-ed Christian Fraternity, Incorporated
Alpha Omega Co-ed Christian Fraternity, Incorporated
was founded in 1994
by Donyll Lewis on the campus of Western Michigan University
. The vision of Alpha Omega is based on Revelations
1:8 and the ideal of "Why join a man made fraternity when the body of Christ is the largest fraternity in the world?"
What makes the Alpha Omega Co-ed Christian Fraternity experience unique is that the multi-cultural fratnernity comes together as a co-ed body of brotherhood and sisterhood. All members come together with "One Vision and One Heart" in the purpose of: Building Stronger Christians, Witnessing to those who do not know Christ, Setting up Programs fitting that of Christian Living and Meeting the Concerns of the Students on and off campus and Ensuring Educational Success of its members and non-members.
Alpha Omega Co-ed Christian Fraternity, Incorporated has established a base in Michigan reaching as far north as Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan and as far south as the University of Toledo located in Toledo, Ohio. Website: [www.alpha-omega.tk|http://www.alpha-omega.tk]
Anointed Students In Unity Fellowship Fraternity & Sorority, Incorporated
Anointed Students In Unity Fellowship was founded on August 13, 1999 on the campus of Albany State University, and incorporated on May 30, 2000. Visioneered by Shannon Thomas, and 14 other students ASUF has grown to over 8 chapters in Georgia, and Florida.
The second wave of Christian fraternities was not isolated to national organizations. Indeed, many of the Christian fraternities on campuses in the United States are considered to be "local" fraternities that have only a single chapter.
- Alpha Omega was founded in the Spring of 1998, at Young Harris College, in Young Harris, Georgia. The Brotherhood of Alpha Omega seeks to spread Christ's love on the campus of YHC. Alpha Omega, or AO and the AO's for short, have for their symbol a Rock. Their colors are black and gray. Their motto is: "God is good, All the time". The Brotherhood chooses one female of outstanding Christian character to be their "Sweetheart" for the following year. Alpha Omega at YHC hosts social events throughout the year, the most popular of which are the Alpha Omega Camp-out, in the fall semester, and the Alpha Omega Holy Water Luau in the spring semester. Website (currently under construction)
- Alpha Omega Theta was founded July 16, 2002 in St. Louis, Missouri, although its Alpha chapter is based out of Springfield, Missouri at Missouri State University. They were founded on their pillars of belief being unity, leadership and integrity. Their purpose is to evangelize to college-aged men while meeting them on their level and spreading the love of Christ. They are linked through the special "AO BOND" to their sister organization Alpha Theta Omega Christian Sorority Inc..
- Mu Pi Phi was founded September 2006 at Northern Kentucky University. They are based on the ideals of "Charity, Moderation, and Passion". Although they currently have only one chapter, they have plans to go National in 2007.
- Delta Tau was founded in fall 2006 at fraternity at Missouri State University. After watching local christian sorority establish and grow, a group of men felt the need to establish a brotherhood of Christian men. Their sister sorority is Gamma Alpha Lambda.
Some non-religious national social fraternities allow individual chapters to brand themselves with unique ideals conforming to specific interests of the local members. Instances have arisen in which a singular chapter of an IFC-affiliated social fraternity brands itself a Christian chapter and initiates members on the basis of national membership standards as well as religious beliefs. One of the oldest such chapters is the Beta Alpha chapter (http://gttx.org/) of Theta Xi Fraternity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theta_Xi) at Georgia Tech which marked itself Christian in 1974. The chapter operates as a social fraternity maintaining a full social calendar and competing alongside other IFC fraternities in Greek Week and Homecoming events, but also places large emphasis on outreach to the campus and focusing on pursuing Biblical masculinity and Christian brotherhood. It has since expanded this model to a second chapter at Georgia Southern University after attempts to colonize at University of Georgia were blocked by an already active chapter of BYX. Advantages of this model include the aspects of the Christian fraternity mission and lifestyle while retaining organizational benefits of full IFC membership and a more traditional involvement in the Greek system.
In the News
Alpha Iota Omega and North Carolina
Alpha Iota Omega
and the University of North Carolina
have clashed over the University's anti-discrimination policy.
Because the fraternity refused to sign the agreement, which was to not discriminate based on religion, they were not officially recognized by the University for the 2003–04 academic school year.
Because the Fraternity did not wish to have the action repeated, the fraternity filed a law suit and asked for assistance from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties group, and the Alliance Defense Fund, an American legal alliance defending religious liberties.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina on August 25, 2004, and cites an incident in the fall of 2003 when UNC administrator Jonathan Curtis refused to extend the benefits of official recognition to AIO.
This is not the first legal scuffle between a Christian organization and the University of North Carolina administration, and the university stated that Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's policy that leaders must be Christian is also discriminatory. The lawsuit is currently pending.
Beta Upsilon Chi and Georgia
In late 2006, Pi Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi, at the University of Georgia
, was prevented from registering as a student organization by University officials "because the group requires its members and officers to share the group’s Christian beliefs."
After months of negotiation between University officials, student officers of the local chapter, and officials at the Fraternity's national headquarters in Texas, attorneys with the Christian Legal Society and Alliance Defense Fund filed a civil rights suit on December 6, 2006 in federal court against the University on behalf of the Fraternity.
The next day, December 7, published reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicated that "the University [would] remove the religion clause from the [University's anti-discrimination] policy for the Christian fraternity to settle this particular situation and is discussing 'an exception to religious discrimination (that) could be put into place much like an exception to gender discrimination is in place for same-sex social fraternities and sororities.'