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Roger A. Wilcox

Photo courtesy of Brazilian White Center - UNASP.

Wilcox, Roger Anderson (1911–2002)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

First Published: January 29, 2020

Roger Anderson Wilcox was a pastor and church administrator. He was president of the Middle East Division (1959-1965) and the South American Division (1966-1975).

Early Years 

Roger Anderson Wilcox was born in 1911 in Marshfield, Oregon, United States.1 There are few historical records about his early life. However, it is known that during his childhood he lived in the states of Oregon, California, New Mexico, and Virginia. Around 1927 he was baptized. The following year he started high school at Shenandoah Valley Academy, located in New Market, Virginia,2 finishing his studies there in 1931.3 He then attended the Theological Seminary in Takoma Park, Maryland.4 He graduated with a degree in theology in 1936.5

Life and Ministry

After his graduation in May6 he accepted the invitation of the New Jersey Conference to work in evangelism for the next two and a half years.7 He also married Violeta Wilcox that year.8 From this union were born Carl Wilcox and Robert Wilcox.9 Violeta and Roger made significant contributions to the denomination. She worked for a period at the Review and Herald Publishing Association,10 served as a secretary and accountant in Lebanon and Brazil, and also worked in the accounting office of the South American Division.11

At the end of intense evangelistic work in New Jersey, Roger was ordained to pastoral ministry in May 1938.12 The Wilcox family moved to Brazil on June 26, 1938,13 landing in the city of Belém, state of Pará. They planned to contribute to the missionary effort that had already begun with the activities of Pastors Leo Halliwell and B. W. Steinweg.14

Roger worked in the North Brazil Union as director of the former North Coast Mission,15 of which he was later the first president.16 He was in this position from 1938 to 1946, leading the churches that were already established in the territories now belonging to the North Coast and Maranhão Conferences.17

In 1947 he accepted the call to work in the middle-eastern region of Brazil, serving the East Brazil Union Conference as president of the Rio-Minas Gerais Mission, which included congregations in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.18 The following year he was appointed president of the East Brazil Union Conference and stayed in this position until 1958.19

On August 8, 1959, Roger and his family arrived in the port city of Beirut, Lebanon, on board the ship S. S. Alida Gorthan. He had responded to God’s call to serve as president of the Middle East Division,20 a position which he held until 1965.21 Simultaneously, he headed the East Mediterranean Union (1959-1961).22 In July 1966, he left the Middle East and returned to South America, where he served as president of the South American Division until June 1975.23

While president of the South American Division, he became known as a leader of long-term plans, standing out for the famous 10-year plan, quadrennial plans, and the various slogans he launched. One of his important initiatives occurred in 1971, a year internally called the “Year of the Laity.” During this period a four-year plan of lay activities was launched which was intended to engage 5,000 lay evangelists to win people to Christ.24

In addition to these initiatives, he was concerned with the doctrinal understanding of the members. Three important documents were voted and adopted, during his administration: one on Sabbath observance, one on dress and adornment, and the third on the philosophy of Adventist music.25

During Roger’s presidency in the South American Division, he took the initiative of transferring the headquarters from Montevideo, capital of Uruguay to Brasília, capital of Brazil.26 The change was motivated by political-economic problems that affected Uruguay and, consequently, impacted the progress of the work at the division office. By that time the number of members in Brazil had become larger than that of all of the other countries in the division. On January 15, 1974, the cornerstone for the new headquarters was put in place. The opening of the new headquarters took place on June 22, 1976,27 about a year after Roger retired as president of the division.

Later Years

Roger served the South American Division until June 1975 when he retired after 39 years of dedicated service.28 Even after his retirement, his experience enabled him to provide valuable assistance in several areas of the Church. He served as secretary of North American Missions Committee (1975 to 1979) and of the General Conference Israelite Heritage Institute (1975 to 1979).29 30

Due to increased age and the intensity of work throughout his ministry, he began to have some health issues31 and had to slow down his work pace in 1979,32 although he still contributed to the church during the following years. He is remembered for some of his pioneer initiatives, among them the partnership he forged between Middle East College and Loma Linda University.33 This achievement was highly beneficial to that institution and to the Lebanese society. The results were recognized in the sociocultural context as relevant contributions to the Lebanese society. On September 11, 1966, he received from Dr. Toufic Sabbagh, acting director of the Republic of Lebanon Ministry of Education, the highest award from the Education Department for the services rendered to that country’s education while heading Middle East College. Roger died in 2002 at the age of 91.34

Sources

Brown, J. L., “North Brazil Union,” ARH, October 20, 1938.

Canedo, Roberto Gullón. Uma semente de esperança: história da estrutura denominacional (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2015)

Cooper, Victor. “Inside Washington,” ARH, July 24, 1980.

“Division News,” South American Bulletin, vol. 14. n. 8, August 1938.

Greenleaf, Floyd. Terra de esperança: o crescimento da Igreja Adventista na América do Sul (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2011)

Guarda, Márcio D. “7 uniões em décadas,” Revista Adventista, year 82, no. 10, October 1986.

Hannah, Harry. “Senior Class 31,” Shenandoah Senior Annual, 1931

Hartwell, R. H. “Welcome to Elder and Mrs. Wilcox,” Middle East Messenger, vol. 8, no. 3, July-September 1959.

Nigri, Moisés S. “Biographical Sketch,” South American Bulletin, year 42. no. 4, October-December 1966

“Nossos Líderes,” Portal da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia. Accessed April 25, 2016, http://www.adventistas.org/pt/institucional/os-adventistas/historia-da-igreja- adventista/nossos-lideres/.

“Rio-Minas Gerais Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Various years. https://www.adventistyearbook.org/.

Trezza, Carlos A. “Boas vindas,” Revista Adventista, year 62, no. 2, February 1967.

Notes

  1. “Nossos Líderes,” Portal da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia, accessed April 25, 2016, http://www.adventistas.org/pt/institucional/os-adventistas/historia-da-igreja-adventista/nossos-lideres/; and Moisés S. Nigri, “Biographical Sketch,” South American Bulletin, year 42. no. 4, October-December 1966, 1.

  2. Nigri, 1.

  3. Harry Hannah, “Senior Class 31,” Shenandoah Senior Annual, 1931, 13.

  4. Nigri, 1.

  5. R. H. Hartwell, “Welcome to Elder and Mrs. Wilcox,” Middle East Messenger, vol. 8, no. 3, July-September 1959, 4.

  6. Nigri, 1.

  7. Hartwell, 4.

  8. Carlos A. Trezza, “Boas vindas,” Revista Adventista, year 62, no. 2, February 1967, 18.

  9. Nigri, 1.

  10. Hartwell, 4.

  11. Nigri, 1.

  12. Ibid.

  13. “Division News,” South American Bulletin, vol. 14. n. 8, August 1938, 1; and Nigri, 1.

  14. J. L. Brown, “North Brazil Union,” Review and Herald, v. 115, no. 42, October 20, 1938, 13.

  15. “Division News,” South American Bulletin, 1; and Nigri, 1.

  16. Hartwell, 4.

  17. “North Coast Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1939), 187; and “North Coast Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C. Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1947), 152.

  18. “Rio-Minas Gerais Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948), 148.

  19. “East Brazil Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1949), 158; “East Brazil Union Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 149; Márcio D. Guarda, “7 uniões em décadas,” Revista Adventista, year 82, no. 10, October 1986, 44.

  20. “Middle East Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1959), 132.

  21. “Middle East Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1965/1966), 167.

  22. “East Mediterranean Union,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1960), 135; “East Mediterranean Union,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1962), 140.

  23. Roberto Gullón Canedo, Uma semente de esperança: história da estrutura denominacional (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2015), 199.

  24. Ibid., 201.

  25. Ibid., 203.

  26. Ibid.

  27. Floyd Greenleaf, Terra de esperança: o crescimento da Igreja Adventista na América do Sul (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2011) 540.

  28. Canedo, 175.

  29. “Israelite Heritage Institute,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), 24; and “Israelite Heritage Institute, Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 37.

  30. “Departmental Directors Assigned to North America,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1976), 31; and “Departmental Directors Assigned to North America,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 37.

  31. Canedo, 203.

  32. Victor Cooper, “Inside Washington,” ARH, July 24, 1980, 19.

  33. Trezza, 18.

  34. “Nossos Líderes,” Portal da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia, accessed April 25, 2016, http://www.adventistas.org/pt/institucional/os-adventistas/historia-da-igreja-adventista/nossos-lideres/.

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UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Wilcox, Roger Anderson (1911–2002)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5GRQ.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Wilcox, Roger Anderson (1911–2002)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5GRQ.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2020, January 29). Wilcox, Roger Anderson (1911–2002). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5GRQ.