Meet Theta Rho Zeta Chapter
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Rho Zeta Chapter of Lansing, Mich. was chartered on April 19, 1977. The six charter members of Theta Rho Zeta Chapter are Sorors Lois Berrien, Catherine Brown, Edna Robinson, Shirley Rodgers, Marsha Small and Ceailia Williams.
The current chapter members are Robin Anderson-King, Linda Appling, Amanda Auguste’ Roberts, Dr. Patricia Collins, Doris Copedge, Tywanda Davis, Pamela Eaton- Champion, Tasha James, Stephanie Jones, Rev. Dr. Linda Logan, Kristan Maxie, Charlotte Parker, immediate past Centennial State Director Angela Philmore, Cathy Scott-Lynch, Maria Small, Anita Turner, Rev. Dr. Versey Williams and Brandalynn Winchester-Middlebrook.
Our officers for the Centennial year are in descending order: Basileus Doris Copedge, First Anti-Basileus Cathy Scott-Lynch, Second Anti-Basileus Pamela Eaton-Champion, Third Anti-Basileus Angela Philmore, Phylacter Charlotte Parker, Grammateus Kristan Maxie, Tamias Grammateus Tywanda Davis, Tamias Patricia Collins, Epistoleus Stephanie Jones and Chaplain Anita Turner.
Committee Chairs are: NPHC Representative Cathy Scott-Lynch, NPHC Representative Rev. Dr. Linda Logan, Ways and Means Committee Chair Dr. Patricia Collins, Z-HOPE Committee Chair Linda Appling, Oratorical Committee Chair Linda Appling, By-Laws Committee Chair Charlotte Parker, E Girls Summit Committee Chair Dr. Patricia Collins, Elder Care Committee Chair Robin Anderson-King, Finer Womanhood Committee Chair Rev. Dr. Linda Logan and Centennial Liaison State Director Angela Philmore.
Oratoricals are very well known in Lansing to be given each year by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Rho Zeta Chapter and in partnership with Olivet College. Each year there is a different theme for the high school seniors to write a narrative piece on, and give a presentation at the Michigan Library and Historical Museum Downtown Lansing, in the auditorium. This oratorical gives high school junior and seniors a chance to show off their written, verbal and character skills. This event is open to the public. There is a first, second and third place winner and a monetary scholarship is given.
Theta Rho Zeta has a mentoring program for female junior and high school students as well, through our E-Girls Summit. This annual event attracts over 125 youngsters. It offers seminars and more to help to prepare high school junior and seniors for college and the future. We have our Pearlette and Amicette youth groups to attend to learn about etiquette, self-esteem, respect, responsibility, academics and other topics.
We have had Halloween parties for elementary students during the school day. We have donated Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need. During our Pancakes with Santa program around the Christmas holidays, we cook and serve pancakes and sausage for families, then give the children a gift to take home. We have given mitten trees to elementary schools for the students in the wintertime; this is a Christmas tree where every branch has a pair of mittens on it.
We put on an annual health fair and work in conjunction with the South Side Community Coalition to provide annual sport physicals to middle and high school students at no cost, plus provide pamphlets and help to educate the community about different health conditions and how to get help.
Theta Rho Zeta collects and gives clothes to the women center to help them get back into the work force, plus conduct clothing drives for the local shelters to serve the needs of only women, but men and children. We also donate food to the Lansing Rescue Mission and the Eastside Action Center. We participate in walks and donate to aid the March of Dimes that promotes healthy mothers and babies.
Another great activity is sending Christmas and Valentine cards to our Elder Care residents at the Sensation Memory Care Facility. We visit local churches to make public service announcements about prematurity awareness, breast cancer, prostate cancer and voting.
We participate in walking in the Juneteenth Parades and Praise in the Park community events, where in both places we are providing blood pressure checks, voter registration, school supplies and information on health awareness.
Theta Rho Zeta’s Finer Womanhood Luncheon in Lansing has been an annual event for over 10 years. We have phenomenal speakers like Sen. Grethen Whitmer, who later became Michigan governor in 2018. The luncheons have great themes like “Hats Off to Finer Women” and “2020 Perfect Vision, 100 Years of Finer Womanhood, and Empowerment.”
The event salutes an outstanding community leader, Sigma Brother and chapter member. It is also a time when we give a monetary gift to graduating seniors from Phi Gamma and award the prize scholarships to the first, second and third place winners in our Oratorical Contest.
Every year, we do an observance for Founders’ Day and also a joint Founders’ Day observance program with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Tau Sigma Chapter in Lansing. Founders’ Day Centennial 2020 was a very special time in the Michigan State Organization and Theta Rho Zeta Chapter had the opportunity to participate and celebrate with the Centennial Michigan State Director Angela Philmore. The Zeta-Sigma community service efforts are very strong. For Centennial 2020, for instance, we celebrated together for Zeta Day at the state Capitol.
There are a number of collaborations between our two organizations. Theta Rho Zeta and Sigma’s Epsilon Tau Sigma chapters jointly volunteer in the Lansing School District as tutors, as well as to beautify the school and donate school supplies. We also sponsored a male and female student in the Educational Kenya PACE African Program.
We have worked together on Get Out the Vote initiatives, a police community forum, bone marrow registration and water distribution to the Flint Water Project. We participated in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk, Christmas Toy Drive for “Toys for Tots” and food drives for the local Food Bank. We have attended movies and Broadway plays as a group.
Zeta Leaders & Trailblazers
Theta Rho Zeta’s awesome chapter members have gone to high heights in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Soror Pamela Eaton-Champion has served as Great Lakes Region Pearlette Youth Advisor and Michigan State Organization Youth Advisor. She was initiated through Pi Delta Chapter at Eastern Michigan University in June 1976. Brandalynn Winchester-Middlebrook was MSO’s Chief of Staff from 2018-2020. Winchester-Middlebrook joined Zeta in December 2005 at Saginaw, Mich.’s Zeta Omega Zeta Chapter.
Cathy Scott-Lynch has been the Michigan State Organization Security Emergency Response Team Coordinator since September 2018. Scott Lynch joined the Sorority through Theta Rho Zeta Chapter in October 2010.
Soror Angela Philmore completed a two-year term as Michigan State Director in July 2020. Her other prominent roles include MSO Representative from 2008 to 2012; MSO Executive Assistant from 2012 to 2014; and co-share Regional Undergraduate liaison in 2011, originator of the time capsule. Philmore was initiated at Western Michigan University on March 21, 1981.
Theta Rho Zeta Chapter hosted the Michigan State Organization Leadership Conferences in September 2012 and September 2018.
Undergraduate Chapter – Phi Gamma
Theta Rho Zeta Chapter became the graduate advisors to Michigan State University’s Phi Gamma Chapter in 1987. We have enjoyed doing service projects together helping mothers by donating baby clothing, diapers and other baby supplies, and assisting senior citizens at the Sensations Memory Care Facility; we read, sing and do craft activities with the residents there, which helps to enhance our Z-HOPE (Zetas Helping Other People Excel) efforts and our Elder Care initiative. Phi Gamma has had its own programming as well, such as the E Girls Summit to impart skills that high school young ladies need to further their education and life skills.
Soror Charlotte Parker was initiated on May 15, 1976 as an undergraduate through Phi Gamma Chapter at Michigan State University. She became Theta Rho Zeta’s first Diamond Life Member on July 30, 2014.
Our legacy pairings are: Anita Turner legacy by her first cousin Etta V. Smith Moore (ΨΒ) (Triumphant); Pamela Eaton-Champion legacy by her daughter Abby Jo Champion (EZ); Doris Copedge legacy by her daughter Salihah Nadae Talifarro (IZ), Aunt Ella Bonham (Triumphant), cousin Wanda Bonham and niece Tasha Copedge (NOZ); Centennial State Director Angela Philmore legacy by her cousin Janet Gardner (ΞMZ); Tywanda Davis legacy by her Aunt Mary Billingsley (ΙΔ); Brandalynn Winchester-Middebrook legacy by her grandmother Rosa Lee Winchester (ZΩZ) (Triumphant); and Maria Small legacy by her mother Marsha Small (TRZ) (Triumphant), Aunt Shirley Rodgers (TRZ) (Triumphant) and Aunt Edna Robinson (TRZ).
Our Zeta Dove is Soror Anita Turner, who has been a Zeta for 61 years. The chapter feels fortunate to have a member who joined our Sisterhood as an undergraduate through Gamma Beta Chapter in Berkeley, Calif., on April 15, 1959. We are very proud that Soror Turner was able to attend the 2020 Centennial Founders’ Day Weekend Celebration in Washington D.C.
Note: This is part of the Michigan State Organization’s online series "The MSO Great History Countdown! Our Centennial Journey to State Meeting" to leave a lasting gift to the state in honor of Zeta’s 100th anniversary. Histories from every graduate and undergraduate chapter in Michigan is being published in the month of September 2020 in the days leading up to the centennial state meeting. The project was approved under State Director Lynese Thomas’ administration, and overseen by MSO Epistoleus Earlene McMichael in partnership with MSO Historian Trudy Hale and Great Lakes Region Historian Norma Dartis.