William Evan Sanders (December 25, 1919 – November 18, 2021) was an American Episcopalian prelate, and the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee from 1977 to 1985, and first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee from 1985 to 1992. He was consecrated on April 4, 1962.
The Right Reverend
William Evan Sanders
|Bishop of East Tennessee|
|Ordination||June 11, 1946|
by James M. Maxon
|Consecration||April 4, 1962|
by Arthur C. Lichtenberger
|Born||December 25, 1919|
Natchez, Mississippi, U.S.
|Died||November 18, 2021 (aged 101)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
|Parents||Walter Richard Sanders & Agnes Mortimer Jones|
|Spouse||Kathryn Cowan Schaffer (m. 1951)|
Marlin Jones Phythyon (m. 2005)
|Previous post(s)||Coadjutor Bishop of Tennessee (1962–1977)|
Bishop of Tennessee (1977–1985)
|Alma mater||Vanderbilt University|
Early life and educationEdit
Sanders was born on December 25, 1919 in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Walter Richard Sanders and Agnes Mortimer Jones. His brother was B. Sidney Sanders, Bishop of East Carolina. He grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and was educated at the Nashville High School. He studied at Vanderbilt University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1942. He then studied for a Bachelor of Divinity at Sewanee: The University of the South from where he graduated in 1945. He also earned a Master of Sacred Theology from Union Theological Seminary. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the University of the South in 1959.
Sanders was ordained deacon in February 1945 and priest on June 11, 1946, on both occasions by Bishop James M. Maxon of Tennessee, in the Church of the Advent, Nashville, Tennessee. Initially, he served as deacon at St. Paul's Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and later as assistant priest at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Memphis, Tennessee. On December 23, 1946, he was appointed acting Dean of the Cathedral of St. Mary, and a year later, was confirmed as Dean of the cathedral, a post he retained till 1962.
On April 4, 1962, Sanders was consecrated Coadjutor Bishop of Tennessee, in St Mary's Cathedral, Memphis, by Presiding Bishop Arthur C. Lichtenberger. During an illness with Diocesan bishop John Vander Horst in 1973, Sanders became the de facto acting bishop for about a year.
Upon his accession to the Diocesan position after the retirement of Vander Horst in 1977, the Diocese had, for about ten years by that point, been functioning with three bishops stationed in the largest cities of the state, with each one serving the churches in, respectively, the western, middle, and eastern parts of Tennessee. Sanders set up offices in Knoxville, while Diocesan Vander Horst operated out of a rented space in Nashville. Meanwhile, a suffragan bishop, W. Fred Gates, Jr., was consecrated in part to man the (old statewide) office in Memphis. The Diocese divided, permission for which was given by the national General Convention in 1982. First, the Diocese of West Tennessee came into being in 1983 and consecrated a new bishop, and then, two years later, the Diocese of East Tennessee began. Sanders chose to become bishop of the new East Tennessee diocese, and assumed that office on January 1, 1985. He retired on January 1, 1992.
- Fish, C. S. (1941). "Sanders, William Evan". Stowe's Clerical Directory of the American Episcopal Church: 25.
- Davies-Rodgers, E. (1973). The Great Book: Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church, 1832–1972, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, p. 890. Plantation Press, Villa Rica, Georgia.
- "Dean Sanders Installed". The Living Church. 116 (3): 19. 18 January 1948.
- "Consecration in Memphis". The Living Church. 144: 7. 15 April 1962.
- "A Short history of ten bishops of Tennessee Episcopal Church 1834–1993", Diocese of Tennessee. Retrieved on 1 October 2018.
- Episcopal Church Annuals, 1966–82.
- A Death in Our East Tennessee Family
- Episcopal Clerical Directory 2013