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HOUSTON – Pastor Fred Sanders, III, is a native Houstonian who was reared on the Northeast side. His parents, Thelma and Fred Sanders, Jr. ensured a Christian upbringing throughout his youth; as he attended Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, in the heart of Acres Home. His undeniable spiritual grooming afforded him the opportunity to receive Christ at an early age. Hence, he was baptized by the late Pastor E.J. Booker at Galilee MBC.

He was educated in the public school system in the North Forest Independent School District (currently, Houston ISD). At the tender age of 16, he recalls receiving a call beckoning him to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He made haste and relayed the call he heard to his Pastor at the time, the late Rev. EJ Booker. From this experience, he preached his first sermon and was licensed into the ministry at Galilee MBC under the leadership of Pastor Booker. He served as an associate minister within the ministry for many years, while actively participating in the church’s “rap sessions” where he kept the youth engaged. Furthermore, he was heavily involved in Vacation Bible School and taught the senior class ranging from ages 55 and up.

For many years, he remained a faithful and dedicated minister at Galilee. In 1987, he journeyed to assist Pastor Isaac Smith at Solid Foundation Baptist Church. Accordingly, Pastor Smith ordained him as a minister of the Gospel. After some time, he was lead to All Nations Baptist Church, in Acres Home where he served as Pastor. Afterwards, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to organize Cliffdale Baptist Church, in February of 1998.

History of Cliffdale Baptist Church

Pastor Sanders established Cliffdale Baptist Church with five members in a building located on Carver Road and Cliffdale Street in Acres Homes. As he remained steadfast to the ministry, the Lord rapidly began to add to the church. Eventually, the demand for a larger space became apparent. At that time, God gave Pastor Sanders a vision to secure a larger edifice. Consequently, the church purchased its current location, 854 Enterprise on the corner of DePriest. Since then, the Lord has abundantly multiplied the church membership from five to over 150 members and counting. The vision that God gave to his steward has remained continuous. To date the church has purchased three additional lots and are in the process of raising funds for a new sanctuary. Pastor Sanders says, “We have more work to do throughout the community and within the body of Christ; it is our prayer that God will continue to bless us as we bless those around us.” “Cliffdale is excited about all that God continues to manifest through this ministry and we will continue to glorify Him and give Him all the praise; for all that he has done and continues to do…,” he added.

Pastor Sanders is guided by the scripture which says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). Hence, he has made a vow and commitment to praising and lifting up the name of Jesus Christ everywhere he goes. His praise and adoration for the love of the Gospel of Christ may be seen in his many efforts of embracing and supporting the community.

Residents of the Acres Homes’ community are aware of his works through the wide variety of community-based functions that the church hosts yearly. To that regard, Cliffdale hosts an Annual Easter Egg Hunt for residents of the city; of which youth, young adults and members of the community gather to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church also donates Thanksgiving dinners to local residents, as well as, adopting families for the Christmas holiday. Pastor Sanders expressed that he has a, “calling for helping people.” He fervently referred to his sincere, undying love for the future generation of America; as he reminisced of the call that he received as a teenager. Thus, the church demonstrates that love through action by supplying local students in its, “Back-to-School Supply Drive”. The church also donates funds to aspiring college students in the form of scholarship awards, annually.

Pastor Sanders is also known throughout the community for assisting families during their time of loss through his role of working at O.W. Wiley Mortuary. He has been a part of the mortuary for 17 years. He also works as a long-term substitute teacher for the Aldine Independent School District.

Pastor Sanders has been married to Lady Deborah Sanders for nearly 32 years. To their union they have two sons: Frederick and Fred, IV Sanders; and five grandchildren: Fred D., Za’Kariah, Fred, V, Sanders, Ja Miya Mottley and Zion Boston. He acknowledged his love for his aunts, uncles, 90 year-old grandmother (Annie Lee Lott) and grandfather (Papa Lott); as well as his home church, Galilee MBC under the leadership of Dr. Edwin Davis.

Cliffdale Baptist Church is located at 854 Enterprise, 77088. Worship times for the church are as follows: Sunday: Sunday School, 9:45am; Morning Worship, 11:00am and Bible Study, Wednesday, 7pm. For more information or details about upcoming events at the church contact, (281)447-8850.

By: Rebecca S. Jones