The Creed of Phi Mu

The authorship of the Creed of Phi Mu has been attributed to Grace Lumpkin, Mu.

In the Secret Bulletin of March 1916, in which officers and chapters made recommendations for consideration at the upcoming National Convention, Mu Chapter at Brenau College made the following motion: “That the following creed be adopted as the official creed of Phi Mu:

“To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand;
To think of God as a protector and guider of us all;
To keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost;
To be to others what we would they would be to us;
To keep our lives gentle, merciful and just.

To walk in the Way of Honor, guarding the purity of our thoughts and deeds,
Being steadfast in every duty small or large;
Believing that our given word be binding;
Striving to esteem the inner man above culture, wealth, or pedigree;
Being honorable, courteous, tender.

To serve in the Light of Truth avoiding egotism, narrowness and scorn;
To give freely of our sympathies;
To reverence God as our Maker, striving to serve him in all things;
To minister to the needy and unfortunate;
To practice day by day Love, Honor, Truth;
Thus keeping true to the meaning, spirit, and reality of Phi Mu.”

The document was adopted at that convention as presented. Generations of Phi Mus since have found its meaning forever valid, and its practicality as a guide for living unmatched.

The Phi Mu Creed remains virtually the same today. It was later broken into sections or paragraphs, and the first two sections now contain ending phrases, “Thus being true to the womanhood of love” and “Thus being true to the womanhood of honor.” The 1923 National Convention directed that “the wording and punctuation of the Creed be examined and standardized.” The word “guider” was changed to “guide” in the phrase “protector and guide of us all;” “be” had already been changed to “is” in the phrase “our given word is binding,” in some published versions.

The Creed appeared in The Aglaia in 1923 in a carefully hand-lettered version, bordered by rules with decorative corners, and divided by symbols where the paragraph breaks now occur. (The ending phrases on these paragraphs still had not been added, however.) Copies of this hand-lettered version, suitable for framing, were available from the national headquarters, The Aglaia announced.

In 1932, after the phrases were added by Ethelean Tyson Gaw, Iota Sigma, Secret Works Board Chairman, a beautiful and artistic illuminated Creed was reproduced in red, gold and black on parchment-like cream colored paper. The script used was a 15th century Missal, one in wide use by scribes before the age of printing. This is the same illuminated Creed that is seen today in Phi Mu publications and on heavy paper suitable for framing.

The Origin of the Creed

Authorship of the Phi Mu Creed has been credited in some Phi Mu publications, beginning in the 1930s, to Grace Lumpkin, a charter member in 1910 of Mu Chapter, the chapter that submitted the Creed for the convention body’s consideration in 1916.

However, there is no reference to an author at the time it was introduced. Grace did have a real talent for writing and in her lifetime was the author of a number of best-selling books and successful plays.

When interviewed by the National Historian in 1976, Grace had no distinct memory of having written the Creed. She conceded it could have been possible, but quite modestly, was reluctant to accept the credit if it were not due her. Therefore, it has not been possible to firmly establish authorship of the Phi Mu Creed, even though the member to whom it has been widely attributed.

Source: Lamb, Annadell. C. The History of Phi Mu: The First 150 Years. The Grace Group, 2002. Print.