The Reverend Edwin C. Sanders, II, is the Senior Servant and Founder of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church (established 1981) in Nashville, Tennessee. This congregation attracts a broad cross-section of people with the mission of being “inclusive of all and alienating to none.” Metropolitan has outreach ministries in the areas of substance abuse, advocacy for children, sexual violence, and harm reduction, and since 1984 has provided services to persons infected with, and affected by, HIV/AIDS with the First Response Center being founded in 1992.
Rev. Sanders received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Wesleyan University in 1969. His professional life began as Co-Director of Wesleyan’s African American Institute. He later served on the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, and, in 2014, received the Wesleyan University Distinguished Alumnus Award. He pursued graduate studies at Yale University and Vanderbilt University Divinity Schools.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Rev. Sanders served as Pastoral Counselor for the Meharry Medical College Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program, Director of the Southern Prison Ministry, and Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University.
Rev. Sanders is a member of the NAACP, a member of the Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship and Ryan White Community AIDS Partnership, and served as a Commissioner for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. Appointed to the CDC Advisory Committee on HIV and STD Prevention during the Clinton Administration, he served five years on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS during the Bush Administration. He also served as co-chair of the National Syphilis Elimination Working Group and is currently involved with the Obama Administration White House Office on AIDS in implementing the National AIDS Strategy. Rev. Sanders presented at the International AIDS Conferences in Switzerland, South Africa, Canada, Austria and the United States, and at the AIDS Vaccine 2011 Conference in Thailand.
Rev. Sanders serves on the Boards of Directors of the Black AIDS Institute, The National Minority AIDS Council, The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, The Drug Policy Alliance and Project Return addressing recidivism and mass incarceration. He is the National Coordinator for Religious Leaders for a More Just and Compassionate Drug Policy. Currently he serves on the Advisory Committee of the Rural Center for HIV/STD Prevention; on the Howard University School of Divinity Board of Visitors; and as Chair of the HIV Vaccine Trails Network Legacy Project Advisory Group designed to increase the participation of African Americans, Latinos and Asian Pacific Islanders in HIV vaccine studies; and on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board.
In 2002, Rev. Sanders was a candidate for Governor of the state of Tennessee, finishing third out of a field of fourteen candidates. He is married to Atty. Denise Billye Bowers Sanders and they have three children: Simunye (Edwin III), Grace Louise, and Joseph Wesley.