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George E. Peters (1883-1965)


George Edward Peters was a pioneering Black Seventh-day Adventist administrator, educator, writer, and editor across North America. Peters was born on February 1, 1883, to Henry and Sarah Peters in the Parish of St. Paul, on the island of Antigua in the British West Indies. His father was a Moravian school teacher who became one of the early Seventh-day Adventists in the Caribbean during the 1880s.

G. E. Peters attended Oakwood College during its early days and began his church ministry in Alabama in June 1908. He held pioneering evangelistic programs throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida, and won hundreds to the church. In Tampa, Florida, in the early 1920s, 245 were won in one evangelistic campaign; 145 were baptized in one day--an Adventist record which stood to the 1960s. Peters was the author of numerous articles in the Review and Herald between 1909 and 1953.

Peters was first appointed Secretary of the "Negro Department" of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) in 1929. He pastored and acquired new, prominent churches such as Shiloh Adventist Church in Chicago (1926) and Ephesus Adventist Church in New York City (1930). He was widely recognized as a "Pastor of Pastors" during the 45 years he served the Adventist Church.

Peters lived in Washington, D.C., for over 15 years, mostly from 1941 to 1953 when he served as the "Secretary of the Negro" and later the "Colored Department" of the GC (1941 to 1951), and Field Secretary of the GC (1951-1953). He courageously fought for racial equality within the church, the expansion of educational opportunities for Black Americans, and the right of Black Adventists to have their own conferences. He assisted in naming the Allegheny Conference, was co-founder of Riverside Hospital, and was the first editor of the North American Informant, between 1946 and 1954.

Peters attended the first Adventist school founded in Trinidad, West Indies, in 1900, and lived in Panama with his family before migrating to the US during the first part of the 20th century. His effective evangelistic approach in North America resulted in over 2,600 joining the Church, and he started dozens of churches and church schools. He is the author of the book The Dead Shall Live (1947).

Elder Peters died on June 30, 1965, in Philadelphia, leaving his wife and numerous sons and daughters by adoption. Many of them are now outstanding leaders serving around the world.

-Glenn O. Phillips