There remain only a few people living who were present in January, 1973 at the Second General Assembly of AEAM in Limuru, Kenya, when a decision was made to found two university-level theological schools in Africa, one for the francophones and one for the anglophones. I was able to attend that General Assembly and have enjoyed a close association with the Francophone seminary conceived at that meeting. Correspondence and other documents in my files from those early years have given me the ability to write the brief account that follows.

To my knowledge, no one has made a serious attempt to write a history of FATEB, and with each year that passes, sources for producing such a history become more difficult to find. In light of this situation, I have used the materials at my disposal to create a record of how the school was founded and to describe some of the people and events that marked its development over its early years.

In addition to writing about FATEB’s early history, I have retained most of the sources that I used, and I hope to make them available to other researchers once a permanent place for locating FATEB’s archives can be found.

As I have thought about the possible readership for this historical account, I presume that those who could benefit most from reading it would be people currently associated with FATEB and those who will become its future trustees, members of faculty, and administrators. It seems to me that this history might assist in the orientation of new personnel who join the FATEB community as well as giving current members a clearer sense of FATEB’s original identity. 

Every institution needs to continue to innovate in order to stay in step with the changes that occur inside it and in the context that surrounds it. Some changes will strengthen an institution’s ability to fulfill its founding mission. Other changes will alter its direction so that it pursues goals that were not conceived of or intended by the founders. In either case, I hope that the leaders of FATEB, both present and future, will understand how FATEB’s future development is linked to the values and purposes of those who founded this institution. Such understanding could be useful in guiding FATEB into a future that will enable it to use its resources and reputation in the service of the Christian Church and African societies.

Jack Robinson

Graduate of Wheaton College and University of Strasbourg, Jack, with his wife, Theo, has been engaged in the formation of Christian leaders in French Africa since 1965. While teaching in northeastern Congo in the 1970s, Jack was appointed to the Theological Commission of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). In that role, he participated with African leaders in the founding of the Bangui Evangelical School of Theology (Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de Bangui or FATEB) that has been serving the Francophone churches of west and central Africa since 1977.