CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP)–Charles Page, a pastor whose battle with cancer drew prayer support from far beyond his North Carolina church, died Oct. 28 at his home in Charlotte, N.C. He was 66.
Page was pastor of First Baptist Church of Charlotte.
The Charlotte Observer recounted, “… it was his nine-year struggle to hold off cancer that probably moved more people to prayer than any one sermon. Since being diagnosed in 1996 with multiple myeloma — cancer that develops in the blood — Page struggled to the pulpit for as many Sunday mornings as he could to share God’s word. Some Sundays he leaned on a cane and couldn’t shake hands afterward for fear of infection, his wife [Sandra] serving as his careful and loving bodyguard.”
Page had led the 3,500-member downtown congregation since 1991 and from 1982-85, punctuated by the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn.
In 2003, he was honored with the naming of the Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He is a graduate of the seminary and his wife is a former trustee.
He was a vice president of the trustee board of the Southern Baptist Convention’s former Christian Life Commission (now Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) in the mid-1990s. He resigned as a trustee the year after his diagnosis.
Page learned of the cancer prior to a mission trip to Russia and subsequently underwent four bone marrow transplant operations, the latest earlier this year, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy in Little Rock.
At the time of his diagnosis, deacon chairman Harry Stegall suggested that church members pray for Page’s healing every time they saw a UPS truck, reminding them of the “Urgent Prayer Support” the pastor needed.
“Dr. Page further challenged us to pray not just for him, but also for another person who is in need of God’s help,” the church’s website recounts.
Page continued working and preaching when not sidelined by chemotherapy, at times making pastoral visits by telephone from his Arkansas hospital room. Guest preachers filled when needed; church members “stepped in to fill every gap,” as the website put it; and the congregation continued to grow.
“Through this entire process, Pastor and People have fallen more deeply in love with God and one another,” the website stated prior to his death. “The example of Dr. Page’s faith in God is inspiring to thousands of people, in the church, in the area, and around the nation. We admire Dr. Page as a man of God who walks daily with God and is filled with the Holy Spirit.”
In addition to his wife, Page is survived by two sons, David, a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, and Robbie, pastor of Sharon Baptist Church in Charlotte.
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at First Baptist in Charlotee.
Memorials may be made to the Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology at Southeastern Seminary; First Baptist Church’s Congregational Health Ministry; or the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy.