Our Story

A brief history of OCF

The need for a ministry like OCF was first recognized in 1851 deep in the isolated Northwest Frontier of India (now Pakistan). It was here in the loneliness of this outpost that Captain John Trotter, a soldier in the British army, had first experienced the hunger of sharing his Christian faith and praying with other like-minded officers and men. Upon returning to his home in England, Trotter sent letters to a number of officers and other ranks, inviting them to join in organizing an "Army Prayer Union for Officers and Men," with the hope of engaging in prayer and building strong fellowship in an informal, lay-led setting. 

The military ministry sparked by Trotter continued to flourish in Great Britain for decades, but it wasn't until the late 1930s that the seeds of Trotter's prayer union would make it to America. While aboard a ship bound for Palestine, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Hayes A. Kroner, who had been under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit during the voyage, met a British brigadier who was a member of the British Officers' Christian Union (now Armed Forces' Christian Union). Over time, Kroner felt compelled to establish an Officers' Christian Union in the United States, and in 1939, he returned to the States with the encouragement of the British OCU to start an American OCU. Kroner led a small Washington, D.C.-based Bible study for a few years, and in 1943 he and others formally established the American OCU.

In 1972, under the direction of Executive Director Paul Pettijohn, the Officers' Christian Union was renamed Officers' Christian Fellowship. However, the purpose of OCF hasn't changed—OCF exists to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society—and the hunger of Captain John Trotter felt so long ago continues to be satisfied through local OCF fellowship groups and throughout the body of OCF today.



The heart of the ministry is the local OCF fellowship.

  • Founded in 1943 during World War II
  • 16,500 members and growing
  • Emboldens service men and women in their faith
  • Equips them to be the leaders God has called them to be
  • Encourages them and their families as they run their race in uniform
  • Helps them engage others through their Christian witness and service
  • Bible study opportunities
  • Support and prayer for members and families while deployed
  • Wherever members are assigned, they are never alone—OCF is there.