Purpose and History
As every A.M. learns, the function of ritual is to turn abstract principles into a concrete, physical practice, tying them together in the member’s mind. The A.M. Ceremony is the first ritualistic step an outsider makes to come into unity with our brotherhood. A condensation of the rituals of Theta Kappa Nu (which Lambda Chi Alpha absorbed in 1939), the A.M. Ceremony binds the brothers and new members with mutual obligations and spurs introspection leading up through formal Initiation. It has been an open Ritual since the 1970s.
Associate Member Obligation
The candidate must ask to join of his own free will, pledging himself to the following:
- That he is not a member of, and agrees not to affiliate with, any other national general fraternity at any institution or any local general fraternity at this institution.
- That he is confident he has the time and means required to meet his fraternity obligations.
- That he regards the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity in a spirit of sincerity and respect, with a desire to give its teachings his earnest and sincere consideration, and with intention to perform cheerfully whatever tasks he may be assigned for the good of the Fraternity.
- That he understands that the Lambda Chi Alpha Ritual is based in part on upon the moral and ethical teachings of the Holy Bible, and he can accept membership without reservation.
- That he promises to conduct himself at all times as a gentleman, showing courtesy to all; to avoid unnecessary display of his affiliation with Lambda Chi Alpha; to support the interests of the Fraternity; to labor with diligence to maintain his scholarship, activity in college affairs, and other pursuits; and furthermore to receive every member of this chapter as a brother without reservation or evasion.
Upon the written acceptance of these obligations, the High Alpha outlines the objectives of the Fraternity and asks for the candidates’ oath to Lambda Chi Alpha:
Of my own free will, I, [full name], do promise and swear, before God and before the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha, that I will for the rest of my life abide by these solemn pledges:
I will never divulge any of the secrets of Lambda Chi Alpha which I shall learn now or hereafter to any person who is not a member of the Fraternity. I accept the obligations with which I was charged before I entered the chapter room without reservation or evasion. I will strive with the help of God to be true to the ideals and objectives of Lambda Chi Alpha.
To which I pledge my oath and faith, in accordance with the Christian teachings of this Ritual, and as a gentleman. For the least violation, I invoke upon myself expulsion, suspension, or other lawful penalty.
So help me God.
While Lambda Chi Alpha was founded as a Christian society and are Rituals show a significant debt to Christianity (notably, of the High Church), we believe these ideals transcend religious difference, and are not peculiar to the Christian faith. We welcome men of all faiths to become members.
Summary and Ideals
The lessons of the Associate Ceremony are conducted by five officers in turn: the High Delta, High Beta, High Phi, and High Kappa, all led by the High Alpha.
The High Delta defines our fraternal goal as “Establishment of a brotherhood for the cultivation of good will among men.” We can rise to sucess with the support and encouragement of our brothers. We are obligated in turn to assist others, particularly our brothers.
“Fostering of the highest ideals of patriotism” is the lesson of the High Beta. We are able to aspire to our true dignity but for freedom, justice, and democracy. We are bound not in blind allegiance, but to support these ideals, being tolerant of others and supportive of their rights and personal endeavors.
The High Phi urges the members to the “Acquirement of sound learning.” We are made fit for service through the educational resources that society has put at our disposal. It is our moral duty to make the best use of them, and to return our service to society.
“Observance of the laws of God” is the most important ideal, the lesson of the High Kappa. Before anything else, we must make ourselves active and upstanding citizens. We are reminded that God has given us the way to become true men by providing us with principles for right living.
At the conclusion of the lessons, the candidate is invested with the Associate Member Pin. The High Alpha explains its meaning:
As a token of your acceptance of our pledge and of our desire to be of assistance to you, whom we hope to know as brothers, you have been invested with the badge which is the emblem of Associate Membership in Lambda Chi Alpha. It consists of four equilateral triangles, standing for fraternity, patriotism, learning and morality, and upon them has been imposed a monogram of the letters Lambda, Chi, and Alpha, the significance of which will be explained to you at a later time.
And the ceremony ends as each brother in turn shakes hands with each of the new Associate Members.