The Unsung Pages of Life By Sandra Sherman
It is lunchtime at Convention, we have just heard a message about David and Goliath; that David had already been anointed and tested in the wilderness before he met and killed the giant, Goliath. I had been standing in a queue for lunch for some time but it gave me the opportunity to greet people, mostly elders as they tried to find a seat. Someone tapped me from behind and I looked around to see the lovely Sister Page, an elderly old lady from Wembley, very dear to my heart.
She is short in stature and quiet but she has a grand operatic voice when she sings. After big hugs and kisses Sister Page asked me to get her a pattie and ginger beer while she took a seat. It took a little while but we both managed to get our meal and I was able to sit next to Sister Page.
“Did you come to my husband’s funeral?” she asked me. “No, Sister Page, unfortunately I wasn’t able to come” I replied and from there I sat and listened to the “Song of Sister Page”.
“My husband was a very kind-hearted man, yes, he took very good care of me. I didn’t want to get married you know, but my Aunt told me, “You are a lovely girl and I don’t want anyone to take disadvantage of you when I am gone so you need to get married”. So I did.
I met Mr. Page at church, he was a Christian but when we came to England he never continued and wanted to.. (at this point Sister Page put her hands together in the shape of the wings of a bird and started to wave her fingers)..you know go about but I said to him, “Mr. Page I need to find a church, I am not going to join you going here and there, no”, I said, “the church is my family and I need to find a church”.
Mr Page got angry and said to me, “What’s wrong with you woman!” but I said to Mr Page, “If I do not find a church to serve my God then I will leave you, yes, you see Sis, God has been faithful to me”
“So the very next Sunday I found a church in Willesden, the Baptist Church. It was a white church but they were very good to me and embraced me and took me in. The Pastor and his wife took me to their home for dinner and even when I moved to Wembley they would come for me”
In my mind’s eye, I looked back at the Sunday’s when it was still and grey from the early morning dew; the only people on the streets were those who were going to church; the church bells would toll but all else was silent.
I also created a picture of a time when most churches were discriminating against the arrival of black people in this country but here in Willesden Sister Page found a home in a white Baptist Church. Praise be to God!
Sister Page went on to tell me about her childhood and during this time we were joined by another church Sister Dawn and an elder, Brother Stewart.
“You see Sis, I was raised by my Aunt. She was a minister in the Church. When the other children were going outside playing and gallivanting, I would be under my bed with my bible seeking God”.
“Sister Page, why did you have to stay under the bed?” I asked
“So they wouldn’t trouble me. I stayed under the bed, seeking God and being filled by His Holy Spirit and when they send to look for me they couldn’t find me”.
“There was a time when I was 9 years old and I had a dream and tell my Aunt, “Aunt” I said, “we need to have an open air service in this place that was in my dream”. My Aunt thought that I had gone mad. So one day I took my bible under my arm and said to my Aunt “I am going out”. She asked me “Where are you going?” I said, “I don’t know”.
I travelled away from home till I saw a clearing where some men had swept the pavement and I said, “Yes, this is the place”. So I put down my bible and I introduce myself to everyone and tell them where I come from and that I am here to tell them the good news about Jesus. Then I start to sing and when I start to sing people start to join with me and sing and I feel the anointing of the Lord”.
“When it was time for me to go home, because I had far to go, I tell the people I have to go now and that I am going to church and Sis, when I set off a long line of people followed me all the way home to church and when we went to church we sing and praise God and had a happy time, oh yes!
“You sang some old time songs didn’t you Sister Page?” I asked.
“Oh yes!” she replied
“Like this one” I said and began to sing, “Happy happy happy, happy in the Lord, keeping God’s commandments, trusting in His word”.
Sister Page’s head started to rock from side to side to the beat then she opened her mouth slightly and the sweet operatic voice resounded through the airwaves as she joined me in singing. The little 9 year old annointed minister of God was still annointed and in love with Jesus!!!
The song ended, Sister Page concluded, “and these people that followed me, they get baptised. Not that same night but in time, they get baptise and they are stars on my crown. Hallelujah!! yes Sis, I am coming from far and I know that God is faithful. I am on my own now but yes, Jesus is my husband. I love to talk you know!!!”
I laughed and looked with love at the beauty and grace and gem that is Sister Page.