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Theophilo Berger

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Berger, Theophilo Frederico Roberto (1900–1939)

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

Theophilo Frederico Roberto Berger, pastor and evangelist, was born December 19, 1900, in the military colony of Santa Thereza, currently known as Catuíra village, in the city of Alfredo Wagner, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. He was the firstborn child of Johann Berger (b. 1873) and Johanna Luise Schlemper (b. 1875), and his siblings were Paulina, Eugênia, Guilherme, Oldina, Verônica, Carolina, and Samuel.1 His family accepted the Adventist faith when they moved to the city of Bom Retiro, Santa Catarina, while he was still young. At the age of 17, Theophilo became a canvasser, an activity in which he stood out. He canvassed in Santa Catarina until 1919, and then he decided to study theology at Brazil College. He began his studies in 1920,2 and there he met Edith Schwantes3 (1900–1993), whom he married on December 17, 1924. They had five children: Milton, Edgar, Eunice (Michiles), and Delvi. In 1925 Theophilo interrupted his studies and canvassed until 1926. In 1927 he returned to the seminary and graduated in 1930.4

Theophilo began his ministry in 1931 when he became a licensed missionary in the Pernambuco Mission,5 which merged with Bahia Mission the following year and eventually became the Northeast Brazil Mission.6 He began as an evangelist in the city of Caruaru, Pernambuco7 and also worked in neighboring cities. In September and October of 1931, he helped Pastor Gustavo Storch in a public evangelism series in Recife, capital of Pernambuco,8 and in 1932 he accompanied him in another series in the city of Vitória de Santo Antão, in the same state. These meetings continued until the beginning of 1933.9 Next he was transferred to the southern area of the Bahia state in the city of Itabuna, to assist Pastor José dos Passos, the only Adventist pastor working in the state at that time.10 Theophilo’s missionary efforts in this region had a positive result. The people of Itabuna were receptive to the Adventist message,11 due to his initiative of developing a strong social service along with the evangelistic work. He helped poor families in the construction and renovation of their homes, he taught them how to cultivate their own vegetable gardens, and instructed them in hygiene and sanitation principles.12 His wife, Edith, contributed by using her knowledge of natural therapeutics in treating the sick.13 While serving in this field, Berger was ordained to the ministry.14

By 1939 Theophilo was serving in a district that had more than 30 churches and groups. As a result, he was frequently away from home for several weeks as he traveled from city to city. In August he was stricken by a high fever and forced to return to Itabuna. On the way he fainted several times while riding on the back of an animal. When he got to the city he was examined and treated at the hospital and diagnosed with typhoid fever.15 In spite of the medical efforts, the treatments were not effective. Aware that he was likely to die, Theophilo prepared his wife as best he could and shared with her the status of the mission work.16 He died September 7, 1939, at the age of 39,17 in the city of Itabuna,18 where he was also buried.19 Theophilo is considered one of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers in the Brazilian states of Pernambuco and Bahia.

Notes

  1. Dario César de Lins, Fé, honra e coragem de um povo (Bom Retiro, SC: Editora Grafine, 2004), 133-134.

  2. Ibid. 89, 133.

  3. Eunice Berger Michiles, interviewed by Ivo Ribeiro, Ellen G. White Research Center, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, May 11, 2017.

  4. Dario César de Lins, Fé, honra e coragem de um povo (Bom Retiro, SC: Editora Grafine, 2004), 89, 134.

  5. “Pernambuco Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1932), 238; Wissner, U., “Mudanças na União Este Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 3, March 1931, 10; and Wissner, U., “Rectificação,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 5, May 1931, 16.

  6. Gustavo S. Storch, Venturas e aventuras de um pioneiro (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora, 1982), 53; H. B. Wescott, “Some Changes in the East-Brazil Union,” South American Bulletin, v. 8, n. 5, May 1932.

  7. G. S. Storch, “Na Missão Pernambucana,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 6, June 1931, 6; H. B. Westcott, “Através da Missão Nordeste,” Revista Adventista, v. 27, n. 12, December 1932, 16; U. Wissner, “Noticias da União Este-Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 9, September 1931, 13.

  8. H. B. Westcott, “Pela União Este,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 9, September 1931, 15; and U. Wissner, “Noticias da União Este-Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 10, October 1931, 12.

  9. U. Wissner, “Noticias da União Este-Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 01, January 1933, 13; and Storch, G., “Saneamento Moral,” Revista Adventista, v. 28, n. 4, April 1933, 14.

  10. H. B. Westcott, “Mudanças e Acréscimos de Obreiros na União Este Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 28, n. 5, May 1933, 13; and Gustavo S. Storch, Venturas e aventuras de um pioneiro (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora, 1982), 55.

  11. Germano Streithorst, “Teófilo Berger,” Revista Adventista, v. 34 , n. 12 , December 1939, 15.

  12. Eunice Berger Michiles, interviewed by Ivo Ribeiro, Ellen G. White Research Center, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, May 11, 2017.

  13. U. Wissner, “Noticias da União Éste-Brasileira,” Revista Adventista, v. 26, n. 9, September 1931, 13; and Eunice Berger Michiles, interviewed by Ivo Ribeiro, Ellen G. White Research Center, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, May 11, 2017.

  14. “O irmão Theophilo Berger...” Revista Adventista, v. 29, n. 9, September 1934, 6; “Gleanings,” South American Bulletin, v. 11, n. 10, October 1935, 8; and Streithorst, G., “Bahia – the home of Brazil,” South American Bulletin, v. 15, n. 1, January 1939, 7.

  15. Carlos Nunes Vieira, “Em Memória do Pioneiro que Tombou,” Revista Adventista, year 52, n. 2, February 1957, 33; and Germano Streithorst, “Teófilo Berger,” Revista Adventista, v. 34 , n. 12, December 1939, 15; and Eunice Berger Michiles, interviewed by Ivo Ribeiro, Ellen G. White Research Center, Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, May 11, 2017.

  16. Carlos Nunes Vieira, “Em Memória do Pioneiro que Tombou,” Revista Adventista, year 52, n. 2, February 1957, 33; and Germano Streithorst, “Teófilo Berger,” Revista Adventista, v. 34 , n. 12 , December 1939, 15.

  17. “Berger,” Revista Adventista, v. 34, n. 11, November 1939, 16.

  18. Waldemar R. da Silva, “Convertidos pelo Processo de Jó,” Revista Adventista, year 67, n. 9, September 1972, 15.

  19. R. Belz, “Nos Rastros de Teófilo Berger,” Revista Adventista, year 55, n. 8, August 1960, 29.

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UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Berger, Theophilo Frederico Roberto (1900–1939)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGFM.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Berger, Theophilo Frederico Roberto (1900–1939)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGFM.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2020, January 29). Berger, Theophilo Frederico Roberto (1900–1939). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGFM.