Joaquim Alegria Morgado and his wife Milca were Adventist missionaries in Africa from Portugal. Joaquim Morgado served also as evangelist and church administrator in Portugal.
Joaquim Alegria Morgado was born November 12, 1923, in São Domingos de Rana, Cascais County, Portugal, in the home of António Morgado Laurentino and Alberta Alegria Araújo. After his elementary and secondary studies, he studied business at Instituto Comercial Rodrigues Sampaio, Lisbon. On completion of the course in 1941, he immediately found a job at the Portuguese Central Bank (Banco de Portugal).
In 1947 he married Milca Evódio Bizarro, a registered nurse. Morgado’s aunt, Ludovina Lopes, was an Adventist. She was the one who introduced him to the Adventist message. He decided to join the church and was baptized on November 8, 1947. Because he had a growing desire to dedicate his life to the service of the Master, he enrolled in the Seminário de Portalegre (Portuguese Adventist Seminary in Portalegre) as a student in October 1948. He finished his studies in 1950.1
After his graduation, Morgado was invited to work as a missionary. On July 5, 1950, he and his wife departed from Portugal to Cape Verde. They worked in that African archipelago as teachers at the elementary school of the Adventist Mission. Morgado was also an evangelist. In 1952 Morgado and his wife were called to work in Angola. Initially, he served as associate secretary-treasurer of the Angola Union Mission. After one year, he and his wife were sent to the Bongo Mission where he worked as a teacher and director of the Bongo Institute and Milca Morgado served as a nurse at Bongo Hospital. It was in Bongo that their children Paulo Jorge and Luísa Maria were born.
During the second half of 1957, Morgado and his family moved to Mozambique. Initially he was a teacher and director of Munguluni Mission (1957-1961), then he served as pastor of the Beira Church (1962-1963), and finally as secretary-treasurer of the Mozambique Union, which had its headquarters in Lourenço Marques. In 1965 the Morgado family returned to Angola. He began his work as director of the mission field of Nova Lisboa and Bongo (1965-1967). Then he was pastor of the Benguela, Lobito, and Catumbela churches (1968-1971). Finally, he served as director of the Sabbath School and Missionary Volunteers departments of the Angola Union (1966-1975).
In spite of the turmoil that afflicted Angola during its independence process, Joaquim Morgado remained there until the last hour. He and his family returned to Portugal in the final months of 1975, along with the last group of Portuguese nationals to leave Angola. After returning to Portugal, Morgado was integrated into the Portuguese Conference in October 1975 as director of the Youth department and of the Bible Correspondence School. During the Portuguese Conference session, held July 11-15, 1979, Morgado was elected president. The delegates in that session challenged the newly elected administration to plant an Adventist presence in all the main Portuguese urban centers. Morgado accepted this challenge. His assertive response to the challenge was manifested in the report that he presented to the delegates of the Portuguese Union session in 1982.
Administrative Positions and Achievements
At the session of the newly created Portuguese Union in 1982, he summarized the achievements of his last three years as president of the Portuguese Conference. In those three years there had been 213 weekend evangelistic meetings, 104 regular evangelistic meetings, 952 baptisms, and the organization of 13 new churches. Subsequently, Joaquim Morgado was reelected that year as president of the new Portuguese Union of Churches. He labored intensely at his new task during the following years, supervising the progress made in the Portuguese Field.2
Morgado retired from office in July 1992, but he did not stop working. In February 1993 he moved to Madeira Island to pastor the local church. He remained there until the summer of 1994. After returning to Lisbon, he dedicated himself to organizing the historical archives of the Portuguese Union. Unfortunately, he was not able to finish this project. He died February 2, 1996. His faithful wife, Milca, died November 16, 1996.3
Pastor Joaquim Alegria Morgado may have been the most energetic and successful president of the Portuguese field in all its history. In his 13 years as president he launched a development program for the church in Portugal that has never been equaled. The Seventh-day Adventist Church grew significantly in membership and in the number of churches and companies. The membership growth reached a 30 percent increase at the end of his last mandate and the number of churches almost doubled. There was also a boom in the construction and fitting of chapels across the Portuguese territory. He inaugurated 44 new chapels. The institutions that support the work of the Church were also developed. For instance, the new Portuguese Secondary School (Colégio Adventista de Oliveira do Douro) was established in 1982 and the new elderly care home (LAPI de Salvaterra de Magos) was also inaugurated in 1982. Evangelistic effort was intensified, especially in the greater Lisbon area and in the greater Oporto area. One may highlight the impressive Lisbon campaign of Pastor R. Lehnhoff in 1981 (with an average attendance of 1,387 people, 140 of which were baptized), the Lisbon campaign of Dr. Victor Schulz in 1988 (in which were present an average of 1,900 persons), and the Oporto campaign of Pastor Brad Thorp in 1989 (attended by an average of 1,200 persons). Thus, it may be said that the administration of Pastor Joaquim Morgado was crucial for the development of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portugal.
Carvalho, Ilídio. “Aguardando a Ressurreição: Joaquim A. Morgado.” Revista Adventista, March, 1996.
Ferreira, Ernesto. Arautos de Boas Novas: Centenário da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia em Portugal 1904-2004. Sabugo: Publicadora SerVir, 2008.
Ferreira, Ernesto. “Joaquim Alegria Morgado.” Revista Adventista, November, 2006.
Morgado, Joaquim. “Despedida.” Revista Adventista. July, 1992.
Ilídio Carvalho,“Aguardando a Ressurreição: Joaquim A. Morgado,” Revista Adventista, 56, 586, March 1996, 2; Ernesto Ferreira, “Joaquim Alegria Morgado,” Revista Adventista, 67. 714, November 2006, 34; Ernesto Ferreira, Arautos de Boas Novas: Centenário da Igreja Adventista do Sétimo Dia em Portugal 1904-2004 (Sabugo: Publicadora SerVir, 2008), 287.↩
In July 1987, the Portuguese Union session met again. In his report, Morgado told the delegates that during the last five years 164 regular evangelistic meetings, 126 weekend evangelistic meetings, and 19 pioneer evangelistic meetings were held. This resulted in 1,686 persons being baptized, 15 new churches and three companies organized, and 29 church chapels built or acquired. Morgado was again reelected to the office of union president. Five years later, in July 1992, the Portuguese Union session reconvened and Morgado presented a new presidential report. During his tenure there were 1,322 baptisms, raising the union membership to 7,413 believers (.07 percent of the Portuguese population or 1 Adventist to 1,416 inhabitants), and five new churches were organized and joined the union, increasing the number of churches to 77.↩
Carvalho, “Aguardando a Ressurreição: Joaquim A. Morgado,” 2; Ferreira, “Joaquim Alegria Morgado,” 34- 35; Ferreira, Arautos de Boas Novas, 279-288; Joaquim Morgado, “Despedida.” Revista Adventista 50.544, July 1992, 3.↩