His Early Years
James Gershom Dasent was born July 6, 1879, in Antigua, St. John, B.W.I., and died November 11, 1954. His parents were the late Peter and Grace Anna Dasent. He obtained his schooling in the islands under the auspices of the British Government. Upon completion of the law curriculum, he chose to lay down his training to become a minister for God. He embraced the third angel’s message and met Elder George E. Peters in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The two became fast friends and co-workers in the great soul-winning program of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. He met, won to the truth, and was married to Christine Estelle Seley, and baptized her mother also. To this union were born five children: Roy, Marie, Oscar, Eugene, and James (Visitor, 1955).
Elder Dasent answered many calls but the most important one was the call that brought him to the United States. He labored for forty-nine years as a minister, evangelist, pastor, secretary, administrator, and president of a conference. Some of the churches that he pastored are located in New Orleans, La.; Washington, D. C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Ind.: Birmingham, Decatur, and Montgomery, Ala.; and Minneapolis, Minn. In December 1924, the Southwestern Union elected Elder Dasent as the new Union evangelist for the colored people (Record, 1924). In 1928, Elder Dasent took a call from the Ohio conference to labor in Cleveland (Record, 1929). In the fall of 1935 he was called back to the Southwestern Union to serve as the pastor of the New Orleans church and as the secretary of the Southwestern Union Negro department (Young, 1936).
First Black Conference President
Elder J. G. Dasent served as the first Negro conference president in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, being elected in 1944 as president of the Lake Region Conference. The oratorical finesse with which he portrayed the prophecies categorized him as one of our greatest orators and preachers. His ministry was dynamic. In 1952 he accepted the call to pastor the Ebenezer Church in Philadelphia, and in the summer of 1953 he conducted a tent effort. Following the completion of fifty years of service, he moved to Germantown, Pa., in retirement. He was elected as a delegate to the General Conference Session in 1954. He leaves to mourn his wife; three sons, Roy, Dr. Eugene, and Dr. James, Jr.; two daughters-in-law; two grandchildren; two brothers; and many friends and loved ones (Visitor, 1955).
(1924, Dec. 2). Southwestern Union Record, p. 3.
(1929, Sep. 24). Ibid., p. 7.
(1955, Jan. 27). Columbia Union Visitor, p. 7.
Baker, Benjamin. (2010). James Gershom Dasent (1879-1955). Retrieved from blacksdahistory.org.
Young, M. M. (1936, Feb. 5). Southwestern Union Record, p. 2.