The nine historically Black Greek letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) recently gathered together to kick off their service year in faith and unity. Collectively, these organizations are referred to as “The Divine Nine.” Each of these fraternities and sororities is rich in their own history.
Capitalizing on the Divine Nine history and legacy, the local First Coast National Pan Hellenic Council held their 20th “Circle of Love” commemoration celebration of life at Bethel Baptist Church. Bethel was also the site of the inaugural celebration.
Incorporated in 1937, the NPHC was instrumental in dismantling the Jim Crow era racism and rose to the occasion to assist rural communities with hardships and refused to accede to a status of inferiority. Churches served as one of the locations for the divine nine meetings and gatherings. The commune allowed a venue to promote interaction through forums and meetings to engage the black America initiatives.
The Circle of Love Memorial Service was created twenty years ago to fellowship and create a spiritual love circle and bond linking the First Coast fraternities and sororities to begin their chapter year with a word of spiritual encouragement and member tribute.
Chapter Presidents and members from around Duval and St. Johns County sat in the pews to fellowship, worship and light a candle to memorialize transitioned/deceased members of the local chapters. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, inc., Gamma Omicron Sigma Chapter President Angela Spears served as the Mistress of Ceremony and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, Beta Alpha Zeta member Alpha Hay welcomed the torch bearers to the front of the alter with a bible verse. Guest speaker Bishop Rudolph McKissick Sr. spoke to the chapters and provided words of wisdom for the upcoming year to complete their goals and next steps.
“What an honor to be amongst the divine nine to fellowship and hear an uplifting word to our brothers and sisters. We are connected through service, families and our chapters. Together we are better,” said Nikki Torrian, member Alpha Kappa Alpha and President FCNPHC. Shown l-r standing at the podium, Alpha Hay (Zeta Phi Beta), Barbara Coleman (Alpha Kappa Alpha), Willetta Ritchie (Alpha Kappa Alpha), Douglas Young (Alpha Phi Alpha) and Avery Cohen (Alpha Phi Alpha).