A Portrait of Adventism in Brazil

Brazil contains the most Seventh-day Adventists of any country in the world. According to the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research 2020 report, the Brazilian Church has 1,721,758 members. The country makes up more than half of the membership of the South American Division which itself has about twice as many Adventists as the North American Division.[1] [2]


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11612

What impact would female pastors in Brazil have on evangelism, church growth, and establishing new congregations?

Well, the same as men! The more the better. Your question is very puzzling!

from what i’ve seen of Brazilian society first-hand, women pastors likely wouldn’t add to the growth we’re seeing in SAD… in fact it may interfere with it…what appears to be your worry that SAD’s moving ahead with women elders will blossom into full-blown WO some time soon is probably misplaced…no doubt SAD’s leaders, whatever their personal feelings, understand their jurisdictions best…

my view is that whatever is happening in NAD, conservatives can rest easy on WO on a GC level for the time being, given where both SAD and Africa are now…

I just want to call attention to a longtime and faithful worker for many years in Brazil; and was part of the Brazilian Voice of Prophesy. - Henry Feyerabend. I didn’t want this man to be left out of the SDA history books in Brazil.

wasn’t he the voice of It is Written Canada for a time…

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That could have been. He had a lot to do with the media in Brazil. A good man.

i’m surprised he used to minister in Brazil…that implies he speaks Portuguese…he didn’t have any kind of accent in his English whenever i heard him…

Why does that question puzzle you? I might ask if acquiring a D.Min in America makes any difference to the “success” of a pastor [male or female] or if a pastor getting divorced or having twin children impacts his/her ministry. Do congregations with female pastors grow? Do they have a tithe increase? Do they spawn new congregations? How did Chris Oberg’s ministry at La Sierra change the community? I would expect that anyone who cares about the salvation of others would be asking these questions. How would a Black lead pastor at La Sierra, PUC, Andrews or Walla Walla change the community?

A few years ago there was a video up on YouTube for a short time. An SDA female pastor was placed in a congregation. About half the membership either left the denomination or moved to another congregation. From what I know about Brazil, which isn’t much beyond they speak Portuguese and are good at jiu jitsu, it’s a very macho kind of place. If it is a macho culture, then not asking how women would impact the mission of the church puzzles me. After all, gospel work should be about preaching Christ and Him crucified, not social engineering. How would an openly gay pastor work out at the GC headquarters? Could a woman lead Amazing Facts ministries?

Paul circumcised or didn’t circumcise people based on who they were ministering to. Do you think the sensitivities/prejudices/culture of the target audience should be considered when selecting workers to serve them?

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He was Canadian and went to CUC but didn’t finish there. He ended up working in New Bedford, Massachusetts as a pastor/teacher. New Bedford is predominantly Portuguese and he taught himself Portuguese. My husband was one of his students at the time and sang with him in a quartet he put together. He finished his education at AUC and he and his wife rented a room in my in-laws house, just off campus in South Lancaster.

He took the school choir to NYC to a Billy Graham crusade. When they got there they found out it was “sold out”. Feyerabend then disappeared through the stage door and when he came back told the kids to come with him - they’re singing in the choir.

He ended up in Brazil because he had learned Portuguese and was quite a “go-getter”. We ran into him several times at various camp meetings and once at an “It Is Written” program. He developed bone cancer in one leg years after he injured his leg when a bus hit him in Sao Paulo.

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Your reply gives an indication as to what you are suggesting, somewhat subtle, but still readable. Women pastors are not appropriate. I gave up speaking for God a long time ago, in fact never! God does the calling for persons to be His Shepards, not humans. If a women believes she is being called, then she should be treated just as her male counterpart. Going down the road of the other stuff you mentioned is side tracking. Women bring a whole new perspective to the Gospel and methods of reaching out to people. Gods world is not segregated as you seem to suggest with your comments about Black pastor in a white dominated community. He would be excellent in bringing about perspectives to the Gospel based on his/her culture and life experience. We need to be looking through the eyes of God at others, not our biases, etc. I could go on but doubt that would be useful in this discussion.

that’s very interesting…thx for sharing…it seems like everybody’s who’s anybody in adventism went through AUC at some point…how that place could have ever been allowed to close is beyond me…of course, if it was due to the judgement of god, as so many people i know believed at the time, there’s not much anyone could have done…

there may be a distinction between evangelism and ministry to consider…certainly in a new field, where first impressions matter, the sensibilities of the target audience must be considered carefully…i believe this was Paul’s priority, and also egw’s priority, in many places…but when a congregation is established, it seems attention should shift to stagnation management and avoidance, in which case throwing in a smattering of workers with unexpected genders and races could be good, despite the inevitable squealing going on…

this is why i tend to think our regional conferences should be dismantled now…either that or the regular conferences should become regional…people need to be shepherded out of their comfort zone in order to stay on their toes, and grow effectively…

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If we attribute all our failure to God’s will, we’ll never take responsibility for anything. My daughter was at AUC when it was unravelling, There was a lot one family taking up major positions at the school and nobody was forward looking. As went the New England San, so went AUC. Very sad.

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Interesting that so many RC universities have been been successful, while SDA colleges are closing. There are more RC universities in California alone [16] than there are SDA universities in the entire USA and Canada

My original question was about the impact women in ministry would have in a [supposedly] macho culture like Brazil’s. Welcome responses from those who have experience with Brazilian culture.

i finished up in 1983, well before the problems that led to the closure of either the Sanitarium or the College…the late '70’s and early '80’s were real glory yrs for AUC, at least for the music dept…Thayer Conservatory Orchestra’s conductor married the principal 2nd violin in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and that immediately raised the profile and quality of the orchestra…concerts were jam-packed with people, from as far away as Worcester, and of course Boston…it really was an exciting time…i was the music editor for the school paper at the time (my first job offer off-campus was from the Worcester Chronicle), and i was constantly writing up critiques of the most amazing performances ever…many guest groups were circulating in and out of Thayer, and even Machlan…it almost seemed like i was taking in one musical event right after another…how i actually finished up terms papers and my senior recital is anyone’s guess…

1983 was also the year i got to go to Brazil, as a pianist with a pop-gospel group, of all things…the group was actually a brother and sister combo, and a friend, originally from Brazil, but doing their degrees at AUC…there were one or two other singers, as i recall, plus a sound person…somehow they decided to ask me to be their pianist for their Brazil Tour, even though they knew i was a violinist, likely because i was able to improvise, in any key, the kind of accompaniments they were looking for…i remember using lots of mm 7ths, 9ths, and even 11ths to soften the edges of some of their phrases, which originally sounded drab, and a bit 1950’s - totally unimaginative…this was a real opportunity…we went all over Brazil, and played in many adventist churches, as well as a very large adventist university in Sao Paulo, i believe…everywhere we went we were heroes…everybody fed us, and fussed over us, and invited us back…

Brazil reminded me very much of S. Africa…society had the same unspoken male-oriented feel, although women certainly knew how to get their way…stunning scenery was everywhere, and people, of every race and mix, seemed to have endless vitality…there’s just never a dull moment in Brazil…one memory i’ll never forget was a trip to the Amazon, which our guide told me particularly not to swim in because large schools of piranha were known to consume an entire person within minutes…he told me several other amazing things, and i suspected he somehow thought i was innocent and gullible…oh well…

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