Minister transitioning from man to woman, RISCC president says

Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson (WJAR)

The Rhode Island State Council of Churches announced that its executive minister has plans to transition from a man to a woman.

The Rev. Dr. Donald Anderson will begin a three-month sabbatical on June 1 to begin the transitioning process.

During the sabbatical, Anderson, who has been serving the RISCC for 11 years, will be changing her name from Donald to Donnie.

"Last fall, Dr. Anderson shared with the Governing Board that she is transgender and in the process of transitioning," RISCC President Chontell Washington said in a press release dated May 11, 2018. "This sabbatical will afford Dr. Anderson the opportunity to do that free of the day to day operations of the council."

The 70-year-old Anderson said it's a personal matter for her and her family, but she wanted people to know the reason for the sabbatical. She added that she will talk about her decision when she returns.

"The council is appreciative of Dr. Anderson’s ministry and totally supportive of her transition. Please join us in wishing her well in this time of transition," Washington noted. "We look forward to welcoming the Rev. Dr. Donnie Anderson back from her sabbatical in September."

The RISCC notes on its website that the organization is "grounded in the Christian message" and seeks "to be followers of Jesus, gathers denominations, congregations, organizations, faith leaders, and individuals to serve as a catalyst for ecumenical, cultural, and interfaith dialogue; offer resources to and with each other; advocate for peace and social justice."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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