Looking back at the life of Rev. Dr. Theophilus Bamfo Dankwa is a walk down memory lane of a life well lived for God.
Born on 20 February 1944 in Bawjiase in the Central Region, T. B. – as he would be affectionately called – was the fourth born of 17 boys and three girls.
He had his secondary education in Accra at Achimota School. In his seven years at Achimota, he learnt to live and work with people of diverse backgrounds. It was a skill he would be able to utilise successfully in the decades to come. He remained in touch with many of his mates of the Old Achimotans Association Class of 1961 until his home call.
At Achimota School, he encountered the risen Saviour and surrendered his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In 1963, he gained admission to the University of Ghana, graduating with a BSc (Special) in Chemistry. On admission, T. B. sought out and joined the University Christian Fellowship [UCF] and became the Mensah Sarbah Hall Representative on the UCF executive committee at the end of his first year. In his third year, he served as Secretary of the UCF, and as President in his final year.
It was in the University Christian Fellowship that T. B.’s career in ministry began. His involvement with the UCF went beyond the Legon fellowship. During his four years in university, he was involved in three Christmas Conferences and three All for Christ Easter campaigns, as SICE (Students in Church Evangelism) used to be called. He was, in fact, a participant in the 1966 Christmas Conference held at the Presbyterian Women’s Training College, Aburi where the Christian Fellowships in the three Universities and two Colleges in the country came together to form the Ghana Inter University Christian Fellowship or GIUCF, as GHAFES (Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students) was called then.
While at university, T. B. met Virginia Frimpong, a medical student. In 1971 they were married, and in 2021 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
T. B. earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast, leading him to Prempeh College between 1967 and 1971, where he served as head of the Chemistry. He was a good teacher and was well appreciated and loved by his students. Many of his students went on to achieve greater academic laurels, including seven who are professors in various fields of academia.
At Prempeh, he made time for the activities of the Scripture Union which earned him the nickname “Chrife D”. He was also invited often to speak at a number of Scripture Union (S.U.) groups in and around Kumasi. In addition, he served as an officer at various S.U. camps.
T.B.’s life as a full-time Christian worker took off in September 1971, when he was appointed the first Ghanaian Travelling Secretary of Ghana Fellowship of Evangelical Students (GHAFES). Within a year, he was able to source funding for GHAFES activities solely from local associates. He also laid the foundation for what today is Students in Church Evangelism (SICE), GHAFES’ long vacation rural evangelism programme.
As part of his work, T. B. visited Sierra Leone and Liberia to strengthen work among tertiary students, and Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students and Liberia Fellowship of Evangelical Students are evidence of his efforts. Through his encouragement, many Sierra Leonean graduates embarked on Kingdom Service, giving up a year or two after studies to serve God in missions.
T. B. was part of the Ghanaian delegation that participated in the 1974 International Congress on World Evangelisation in Lausanne. He was also among the Ghanaian delegation at the Pan-African Christian Leadership Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976. He served as the Programme Chairman at the first Congress on Evangelisation, GHACOE, held in Kumasi in 1977.
After six years at GHAFES, he left Ghana to attend London Bible College (now London School of Theology) between 1977 and 1980, obtaining a BA Theology degree.
The year 1980 saw T. B. became the first Regional Secretary for English and Portuguese-speaking Africa of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), covering 22 countries, and pioneering student work in Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho. Until 1993, when he left the position, many of the students he came into contact with had gone into leadership positions in Christian service, even up to their respective national levels. Some of these include Dr. Seth Anyomi, Founder of African Christian Mission; Apostle Jude Hama, former General Director of S.U.; Very Rev. Kofi Owusu, former General Secretary of the Bible Society of Ghana, and Rev. Dr. Solomon Aryeetey, pioneer missionary to the Fulani in Mali, and former Africa Director of Pioneers Africa.
In 1993, T. B. took up the pastorship of Accra Chapel (now Korle-Bu Community Chapel) after 22 years of itinerant ministry and was ordained as a Reverend Minister on his 50th birthday, 20 February 1994. Rev. Dankwa ministered as senior pastor until he retired on his 65th birthday in 2009. Among other things the church saw an emphasis on Missions. Every year in August, the church would have a Missions Emphasis Month, where different missionary organisations spoke about their work in the fields, and funds would be raised towards their work.
While pastoring the church, he served on boards and advisory councils of missions organisations. He has served as Board Chairman of Pioneers (Ghana), Board Chairman of World Vision International Ghana, and Board Chairman of the Ghana Evangelism Committee. He has also been involved, in various capacities, with the Akrofi-Christaller Memorial Centre, S.U., Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), Torchbearers, Christian Outreach Fellowship (COF) and many others. He was a columnist for STEP Magazine for many years.
Rev. Dr. T. B. Dankwa was the husband of Dr (Mrs) Virginia Dankwa, a father of four, grandfather of nine, and mentor to countless others