Although the formative year was 1981; 35 years ago, the history of the Men’s Fellowship could be conveniently dated back to the 20th Century during the period when the Basel Missionaries introduced Christianity into the then Gold Coast.
It was not the first organization or group to be formed within the Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast neither was its present name the first-ever. The early Missionaries began their work by organizing activities that later came to be known as Sunday School, Children’s Service and adult evening service on Tuesdays and Fridays. Notable among all the activities was the Bible Class during which the texts that were studied were chosen from the Holy Bible. Moral education with discussions on the Christian way of life, reading and learning to write the indigenous languages were given priority attention.
These formal activities, aimed at laying a good foundation for the Christian religion, were done long before the introduction and establishment of formal schools and colleges. With the introduction of Women’s Bible Class, it dawned on the men to follow suit. There were signs of progress, especially in Ga-Dangme, Akuapem, and Volta areas. Then out of the blue came a marked decline in the life and work of the Basel Missionaries in the country between 1934 and 1940. In 1941, therefore, the Church, through a survey, found out that the decline had been caused mainly by the slowing down of, and inadequate Bible teaching and learning. This also caused a downward trend in spiritual growth.
In order to revive the falling standard, one Reverend E. V. Asihene, an evangelist, was appointed and posted to New Tafo in Akyem Abuakwa in 1943 to head a Church Evangelism Committee. The Committee’s main duties were to find ways to revive the Church spiritually. A remedial measure that was tried and found to be very effective was the revival of the dying Men’s Bible Class. It was therefore re-introduced on a vigorous scale and its operations intensified to run along the lines of the Women’s Class which had gradually but surely established itself and proved effective. The Men’s Bible Class also, running on similar lines, helped immediately to resuscitate spiritual life in the Church.
From 1944, encouraged and assisted by the Agents of the Church many congregations began springing up in places like Osu, Teshie, and Nungua and they all kept branches of the Men’s Bible Class alive and active. However members of the Men’s Class of the Church, through migration and transfers encouraged the formation of the Bible classes at places like Takoradi and Adum in Kumasi.
Despite their efforts, not much was achieved in the form of growth until the later part of the nineteen seventies when the Almighty Himself saw that it was time for growth. Many congregations began to spring up and by 1980 a good number of the congregations were holding Men’s Classes in full swing. The spread also affected the Akuapem and Volta Presbyteries.
BIRTH OF THE MEN’S FELLOWSHIP
As if by design the Ga Presbytery Men’s Bible Classes voluntarily and spontaneously led a crusade to organize and change the name Men’s Class to Men’s Fellowship under the able leadership of the late Bro. E. Q. Q. Sanniez of Teshie Men’s Class.
On November 21st, 1981, what could well be described as an inaugural conference or first Annual National Delegates’ Conference took place. The meeting was convened by the late Brother Sanniez who had then established himself clearly as the leader of Men’s Bible Class at the Church of the Resurrection in Accra. In all 95 delegates from the following Presbyteries attended the memorable meeting. There were 20 delegates from Ga, Western and Central three delegates each, Akuapem / Volta seven, Dangme-Tongu five delegates, Akyem Abuakwa two and one delegate from Brong Ahafo. In all 38 Congregations were represented at the Conference.
This august meeting resolved to form and establish the National Men’s Fellowship of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. At the memorable first national meeting of the Fellowship important topics were deliberated upon and was followed up with equally firm decisions. One such decision was to put in place a Committee to draft a constitution for the Fellowship. The first Constitutional Committee was thus formed with the following men as members: Bros. E. Q. Q. Sanniez (Ga), W. O. Boafo (Ga), S. K. Sackitey (Dangme-Tongu), S. W. Anno (Akuapem / Volta), E. D. Kwakye (Ga), H. O. Laryea (Ga), Adjei-Opare (Akuapem /Volta) and S. A. Akyeampong (Ga). This Committee was charged with the responsibility of drafting a constitution for the Fellowship to be approved and adopted at a subsequent meeting.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE FELLOWSHIP
The Men’s Fellowship became one of the major generational groups of the Church. Others include the Women’s Fellowship, Young People’s Guild (Y.P.G.), Children’s Service and lately the Young Adults’ Fellowship. Every member of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana is expected to belong to one of the generational groups.
The Fellowship, like its contemporaries in the Church, was instituted by the Church as its tool to mobilize and organize all the men for the effective implementation of the Church’s mission under the auspices of the appropriate court; that is Local (Congregational), District, Presbytery or National.
In fulfilment of the above aims of the Church the objectives of the Fellowship are as follows:
• To integrate all the men of the Church in the various approved groups at the various levels as a unitary entity.
• To foster a close relationship among congregants and as much as possible to facilitate oneness of purpose in worshipping and contributing towards the growth of the Church.
• To encourage all men in the Church to conduct their lives in all spheres to help sustain the traditional Presbyterian discipline at all times.
• To place at the disposal of the Church, member’s experience in Professional, Vocational and Spiritual matters.
• To co-operate closely with other organizations in the Church for the material and spiritual growth of the Church.