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João-Wolff

Photo courtesy of the Brazilian White Center – UNASP.

Wolff, João (1930–2023)

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: July 3, 2023

João Wolff was a pastor and administrator in South America. He was the South American Division president for 15 years.

Early Life and Education

João Wolff was born on June 12, 1930, in the city of Pinheirinhos, district of Santo Antônio da Patrulha, current town of Rolante, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.1 He was the son of Jacob Wolff Filho (1900-1970)2 and Guilhermina Marquart Wolff (1905-2001).3 From their union were also born: Eli, Esther, Elice, Nelson, Arno, Elzita, Marvin, and Neli.4

João grew up in a simple family that earned their livelihood through agricultural work, which made them move a lot. He received a Christian education since his childhood from his Adventist parents. His father was a lay preacher where they lived, and his influence led to the formation of many congregations; many of them began in the family’s living room.5 At 13 years old, he left the city of Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul, to live with his uncle and aunt in São Paulo, who lived near Brazil College (today UNASP-SP). There he studied for two years of elementary school (1944 to 1945) and concluded it at Taquara Academy (today IACS). João came back to Brazil College in 1948, where he graduated in bookkeeping (1950).6 There he also graduated in theology (1952-1955).7

Ministry and Family

He received the invitation to serve in Rio Grande do Sul Conference in 1956, starting his activities as an accounting assistant in the conference’s office. On the weekends he also pastored in the Niterói Adventist Church in the city of Porto Alegre. In the same year, he was assigned to pastor the Central Adventist Church in Porto Alegre, which he did for a year.8

In 1957 he was appointed as leader of the Education, Temperance, and Youth departments.9 In the same year, on July 17, 1937, he married Edy Lil Louzada10 in the church of Londrina, state of Paraná. They met as students at Brazil College, where she graduated as a school teacher. By her husband's side, she also dedicated herself to the denominational work. She taught in many Adventist schools, was a department chief at Belém Adventist Hospital, secretary of the Nursing School at Brazil College, and for fifteen years secretary for the South American Division.11 João and Edy had two children: Marisa Lil Wolff (Juhasz) and Denise Wolff.12

João served the Rio Grande do Sul Conference until the end of 1960.13 During this time he headed the Public Relations Department for two years (1958 and 1959)14 and was ordained to the ministry on February 13, 1960.15 Besides, he was involved in the first youth camp in the Rio Grande do Sul Conference16 and led, along with Pastor Sesóstris Cesar Souza, the Federação Adventista da Mocidade Gaúcha (Young Gaúcho Adventist Federation); the goal was to involve the young people in church activities in that state. 17

In 1961 João was elected director of the Education and Youth departments at the Paraná Conference. Back then the first Pathfinders Clubs were being established in Brazil. As a youth leader, he coordinated the first Pathfinders Camporee of this conference, which took place at the Paraná Adventist Academy.18 He worked in these departments until 1962, 19and in 1963 he accepted the invitation to take over those same departments at the South Brazil Union Conference (1963-1966).20

At the end of 1966, he was appointed as president of the Paraná Conference (1966 and 1967).21 Finishing his activities in the south of the country, in 1968 he was elected president of the North Brazil Union Mission. During his administration, due to the facilitation of transport offered by the construction of the Trans-Amazon Highway, he encouraged the ministry of mobile clinics that, in association with the Brazilian Federal Government, helped the underprivileged population in that region. Through this program, the Adventist message reached many people.22 He also worked as a leader in the departments of Stewardship and Radio & TV for two years (1972 and 1973).23 He worked in North Brazil until 1977.24 In 1978he was appointed as president of the South Brazil Union Conference.25

South American Division President

Around 1980 João was elected president of the South American Division during the 53rd session of the General Conference, held from April 17 to 26, in the city of Dallas, Texas. As head of this institution, his main emphasis was evangelistic work. He coordinated many campaigns, such as: “Mil Dias de Colheita” (A Thousand Days of Harvest), “Colheita 90” (Harvest 90), and “Missão Global” (Global Mission).26 Another important project was the distribution of missionary brochures by the name of “Ele é a Saída” (He Is the Way). About twenty million of them were distributed throughout the division territory. He worked in this capacity for fifteen years, until 1995.27

After leaving the presidency, at the end of his ministry, he worked as leader of the Global Mission at the South Brazil Union Conference (1996-1998).28 João retired in 1998 after more than forty-six years of service to the denomination.29 He also was recognized as a participant in the socio-cultural area. Some highlights are that he was honored with the title Doctor Honoris Causa in Divinity, received from the South Union Adventist University, Keene, Texas, U.S.A., on March 2, 199330 and as an Honorary Citizen, conferred on April 26, 2001 at the Rio Branco Palace, in the city of Curitiba, state of Paraná.31

Demise and Contribution

After his retirement João was the spiritual counselor of the Hope Channel Radio (Novo Tempo) in Curitiba and pastor at the Portuguese-Brazilian Church in Toronto, Canada (2002).32 He died on June 11, 2023 at 92 years of age, in Curitiba.33 During his ministry he made significant contributions to the Adventist Church, especially in administrative areas, passing through many levels of the Adventist organization, from conference to union and division.34

Sources

Canedo, Roberto Gullón, Uma semente de esperança: história da estrutura denominacional. 1st edition, Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2015.

“Divisão Sul-Americana tem novo presidente.” Revista Adventista, year 91, n. 08, August 1995, p. 16. Accessed on June 14, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

Guarda, Márcio D., “União Norte Brasileira: o pão sobre as águas,” Revista Adventista, year 82, n. 10, October 1986. Accessed on June 13, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

“Guilhermina Marquart Wolff.” Revista Adventista, year 97, n. 05, May 2001. Accessed on November 08, 2017, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

João Wolff. “Breve relato de minha vida.” In: Minha vida de pastor: cinquenta e três pastores jubilados falam de sua vida e de seu ministério, ed. Tercio Sarli, 241-254. Campinas, São Paulo: Certeza Editorial, 2007.

Oscar Ritter. “O que é a Federação Adventista Mocidade Gaúcha?” Revista Adventista, year 56, n. 09, September 1961. Accessed on June 13, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

Paradello, Jefferson. “Ex-presidente da Igreja na América do Sul, pastor João Wolff falece aos 92 anos.” June 12, 2023. Accessed June 16, 2023, https://noticias.adventistas.org/pt/ex-presidente-da-igreja-na-america-do-sul-pastor-joao-wolff-falece-aos-92-anos/.

“Pastor Recebe Título.” Revista Adventista, year 97, n. 06, June 2001. Accessed on June 14, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

Raymundo, Benedito. “Wolff.” Revista Adventista, year 66, January 1971. Accessed on November 08, 2017, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

S. César. “Bienal da Associação Sul-Rio-grandense.” Revista Adventista, year 55, n. 06, June 1960. Accessed on June 13, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

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

“Universidade americana outorga título ao Pastor Wolff.” Revista Adventista, year 89, n. 06, June 1993. Accessed on June 14, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/capas.cpb.

Notes

  1. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," in: Minha vida de pastor: cinquenta e três pastores jubilados falam de sua vida e de seu ministério, ed. Tercio Sarli (Campinas, São Paulo: Certeza Editorial, 2007), 241.

  2. Benedito Raymundo, "Wolff," Revista Adventista, year 66, January 1971, 34.

  3. "Guilhermina Marquart Wolff," Revista Adventista, year 97, n. 05, May 2001, 36.

  4. João Wolff. "Breve relato de minha vida," in: Minha vida de pastor: cinquenta e três pastores jubilados falam de sua vida e de seu ministério, ed. Tercio Sarli (Campinas, São Paulo: Certeza Editorial, 2007), 242.

  5. Ibid., 241.

  6. Ibid., 242-243.

  7. Ibid., 243.

  8. Ibid., 244.

  9. "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 157; and "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1961), 170.

  10. Marisa Lil Wolff Juhasz, email message to Gabriel Pilon Galvani, June 6, 2016.

  11. Wolff. "Breve relato de minha vida," 249.

  12. Marisa Lil Wolff Juhasz, email message to Gabriel Pilon Galvani, June 6, 2016.

  13. "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1958), 157; and "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1961), 170.

  14. "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1959), 163; and "Rio Grande do Sul Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1960), 167.

  15. César, S., "Bienal da Associação Sul-Rio-grandense," Revista Adventista, year 55, n. 06, June 1960, 25.

  16. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," 244.

  17. Ritter, Oscar, "O que é a Federação Adventista Mocidade Gaúcha?" Revista Adventista, year 56, n. 09, September 1961, 32.

  18. João Wolff. "Breve relato de minha vida," 244.

  19. "Parana Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1962), 174; and "Parana Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1963), 190.

  20. "South Brazil Union Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1964), 201; and "South Brazil Union Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1967), 209.

  21. "Parana Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1968), 212.

  22. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," 244; and "North Brazil Union Mission," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1969), 216.

  23. "North Brazil Union Mission," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1969), 234.

  24. Márcio D. Guarda, "União Norte Brasileira: o pão sobre as águas," Revista Adventista, year 82, n. 10, October 1986, 46.

  25. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," 246-247.

  26. "Divisão Sul-Americana tem novo presidente," Revista Adventista, year 91, n. 08, August 1995, 16.

  27. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," 247.

  28. Ibid., 248.

  29. Ibid., 249; and "South Brazil Union Conference," Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1999), 274.

  30. "Universidade americana outorga título ao Pastor Wolff," Revista Adventista, year 89, n. 06, June 1993, 14.

  31. "Pastor Recebe Título," Revista Adventista, year 97, n. 06, June 2001, 30.

  32. João Wolff, "Breve relato de minha vida," 253.

  33. Jefferson Paradello, “Ex-presidente da Igreja na América do Sul, pastor João Wolff falece aos 92 anos,” June 12, 2023, accessed June 16, 2023, https://noticias.adventistas.org/pt/ex-presidente-da-igreja-na-america-do-sul-pastor-joao-wolff-falece-aos-92-anos/.

  34. Roberto Gullón Canedo, Uma semente de esperança: história da estrutura denominacional (Tatuí, SP: Casa Publicadora Brasileira, 2015), 208.

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UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Wolff, João (1930–2023)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 03, 2023. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGRT.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Wolff, João (1930–2023)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 03, 2023. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGRT.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2023, July 03). Wolff, João (1930–2023). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DGRT.