In 1960 PAFES appointed its first staff worker, Alonzo Fairbanks, who was based in Ibadan but traveled right across Africa. John Homes, who had been one of the pioneering university lecturers in Ghana, joined him in 1962, and was based in Nairobi. After another year, the late David Gitari, former Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) became the first black African Full-time PAFES General Secretary traveling across Africa. He worked closely with Gottfried Osei-Mensah as traveling Secretary for West Africa. David Gitari handed over the work to Daniel Kianda (Uganda) and thereafter, William Adodoaji Ahuma from Ghana succeeded Mr. Kianda.
The beginnings of GHAFES is linked with the work of Christian lecturers from the British IVF (now UCCF) in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. These lecturers invited students to their homes for weekly Bible “Reading” and prayer (Cell Meetings). In typical British style, these meetings were followed by tea and biscuits, and soon became known as Bible study, prayer and tea Fellowships. By 1955, these informal Bible Study meetings had been moved to the halls of residence.
In Legon, we had Raphe Hulme and Alan Ward in Akuafo Hall, and Mrs. Hulme in Volta Hall while in the College of Technology (later, UST), Mr. John Holmes was leading the Bible study with attendance between the ranges of 20 and 30. However, the informal Bible study groups in the College of Technology were the first to formally constitute themselves into the Inter-Hall Christian Fellowship (IHCF) in 1956. Six students with two young lecturers in the persons of the late Kwodzo Senanu and Dennis Osborn attended a joint Easter conference with IVCF in mid-1960. It was at this conference that Legon was challenged to formally constitute themselves into a fellowship. University Christian fellowship (UCF) was thus formally formed in May, 1961. Membership ranged between 20 and 30.
Our Doctrinal Basis
The Fellowship at UCC was formed later by 5 students who had been members of Scripture Union (also pioneered by IVF) in their secondary schools. The first major programme of these Fellowships was a mission at Legon with the late Rev. John Stott as the main speaker in 1962. Talks started among the three Fellowships of forming a national movement and in 1966 at a conference in Aburi, the Ghana Inter University Christian Fellowship (GIUCF) was born. In 1971, Theophilus Bamfo Dankwa who had taken over from Gottfried Osei Mensah (travelling Secretary for West Africa for PAFES) was first national staff worker was appointed. That same year, GIUCF was affiliated to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), a worldwide interdenominational evangelical movement currently linking student work in over 170 countries with several thousand members.
With the growth of the number of Fellowships forming the GIUCF came the need for a name change, particularly with the introduction of fellowships in tertiary institutions which were typically, not universities. This was effected in 1975 with the adoption of the name Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students (GHAFES). GHAFES currently has a total of 49 Local Campus Fellowships in 34 tertiary institutions with over 5,000 student membership.