Bishop C.J. Sanders Article and Obituary

Methodist Bishop C.J. Sanders Dies

Retired church leader whose sermons won awards died at age 94

By Ellen Robertson, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Saturday, March 10, 2007
Preaching, pastoring and administrating. A minister usually excels in one but not in the others.

However, for the Rev. Carl Julian Sanders, a retired United Methodist Church bishop who spent most of his ministry in Virginia, "all three gifts were very strong," said the Rev. Gene Tatum.

Mr. Sanders, who died Wednesday at 94 in a Birmingham, Ala., assisted-living facility, preached his last sermon two years ago in Virginia.

"He read his Scripture, closed his Bible and for the next 20 to 30 minutes you had your sermon without notes," said Tatum, pastor of Ocran Church in the Petersburg District.

"He had a God-given gift that made the Scriptures come alive. He had a rich collection of stories that he would weave into his sermons.

"If you were well-educated, he didn't talk down to you. If you were not, he didn't talk over the top of your head. He had a deep sense of wit that always was related to the subject he was speaking on."

Mr. Sanders received Freedom Foundation Awards for three sermons: "One Nation Under God" in 1962, "Independence and Beyond" in 1977 and "In God We Trust -- Do We or Don't We?" in 1987.

A native of Star, N.C., who grew up in Rock Hill, S.C., he was a student preacher while earning his bachelor of divinity degree from Emory University. He came to the Virginia Annual Conference in 1934.

In addition to leading Broad Street and Trinity churches in Richmond, he served at churches in Cheriton, Chase City, South Roanoke and Arlington. He was superintendent of the Petersburg, Richmond and Norfolk church districts.

Mr. Sanders was a founder and trustee of Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk as well as a trustee at Ferrum College in Ferrum and Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal.

He made history at the church's Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 1972 by being the first person elected a bishop on the first ballot.

Later assigned to the Birmingham area, he raised money for church-related colleges, put the ministerial pension plan on solid footing and traveled the globe with church relief efforts and global ministries before he retired in 1980.

His first wife, Eleanor Lupo Sanders, died in 1995. The same year, Mr. Sanders beat colon cancer. He married again in 1997.

Survivors include his wife, Billie Jo Perry Sanders; two daughters, Lundi Martin of Richmond and Eleanor Kasler of Lancaster, Ohio; two stepdaughters, Elizabeth Perry and Judith Shipp, both of Birmingham; a brother, Charles M. Sanders of Rock Hill, S.C.; and three grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren and a great-grandson.

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Bishop Carl Sanders Obituary

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 3/10/2007.

Bishop Carl Julian Sanders, 94, a retired Bishop of the United Methodist Church, died March 7, 2007. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Eleanor Lupo Sanders. In 1934, he joined the Upper South Carolina Conference and transferred to the Virginia Conference in 1935. His service in Virginia included: Cheriton 1936-40, Chase City 1940-44, South Roanoke 1944-48, Broad Street (Richmond) 1948-55, Superintendent of Petersburg District 1955-56, Superintendent Richmond District 1956-61, Centenary (Richmond) 1961-65, Superintendent Norfolk District 1965-71, Arlington 1971-72. While in Virginia he served as president of the Board of Evangelism, member of Board of Finance and Administration, chairman of Commission on Higher Education; was one of the founders of Virginia Wesleyan College. He served as a trustee at Virginia Wesleyan College, Ferrum College, Randolph-Macon Academy, Alaska Methodist University, and as a consultant of the Virginia United Methodist Church Foundation. As a member of the General Board of Publications 1960-72, he served with Andrew Benedict, Justice Harry Blackmun, and Senator Howell Heflin. Dr. Sanders made history at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 1972 by being the first person ever to be elected a Bishop on the first ballot. He was assigned to the Birmingham Area, consisting of the State of Alabama and the northwest panhandle of Florida, serving there until his recent retirement in 1980. The Bishop traveled extensively around the world, visiting refugee camps and mission work in Africa, Asia, and Europe and was a frequent visitor to the Middle East and Far East; the co-founder of the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies for Educational Opportunities, Inc. in Lakeland, Florida. He served as a lecturer for Educational Opportunities in England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Alaska, and Jerusalem. Bishop Sanders was known as one of the greatest preachers in Methodism. His devotion to God, his understanding of the Gospel, and his keen wit made his sermons live in the hearts of hearers. He was awarded three Freedom Foundation Awards for his sermons: 1962 "One Nation Under God," 1977 "Independence and Beyond," and 1987 "In God We Trust - Do We or Don't We." In 1980, he was chosen to give the opening sermon for the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. In the same year, he was chosen to deliver the Consecration Sermon to the newly elected Bishops at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Bishop Sanders was a member of the Masonic Order since 1937. He received 33 Scottish Rite on December 12, 1987 and in 1991 was conferred the Grand Cross of Scottish Rite. He served as Grand Chaplain of Supreme Council Scottish Rite-Southern Jurisdiction 1989-1999. An original oil portrait of Bishop Sanders hangs in the Hall of Honor of Scottish Rite House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. He has been listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the South and was elected a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) May 18, 1964. Bishop Sanders is survived by his wife, Billie Jo P. Sanders of Birmingham, Ala.; two daughters and sons-in-law, Lundi S. and John Martin of Richmond, Va., Eleanor S. and Paul Kasler of Lancaster, Ohio; three granddaughters and their husbands, Karen K. and William Wheeler of Columbus, Ohio, Kristen K. and Nathan Peters of Lancaster, Ohio, and Kathleen K. and P.J. O'Keefe of Milwaukee, Wis.; two great-granddaughters, Kamryn Elizabeth and Ella Nicole Peters of Lancaster, Ohio; a great-grandson, John Carl Wheeler of Columbus, Ohio; two stepdaughters, Elizabeth (Beth) Perry and Judith P. Shipp and her husband, A.R. Shipp III; three stepgrandchildren, Allec R. Shipp IV, Leigh Ellen Shipp, and Julie Christine Shipp, all of Birmingham, Ala.; one brother, Charles M. Sanders of Rock Hill, S.C. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 12 at 2 p.m. in Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond, Va. Officiating will be Bishop Paul A. Duffey assisted by Bishop B. Michael Watson, Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, Bishop Joe E. Pennel Jr., Bishop R. Kern Eutsler, and The Rev. Gene C. Tatum. Burial will be in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Richmond, Va.

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