The Most Rev’d Raul Eugenio Toro, Jr.
Raul Eugenio Toro, Jr.
My spiritual journey started with my parents being members of the Roman Catholic Church. I was born in Manhattan, NY in 1956. My parents moved back to Puerto Rico when I was an infant. I was baptized as an infant by the Bishop in Puerto Rico and because he was only available at certain times, I was also confirmed by the Bishop as an infant. We moved back to New York when I was still very young and I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church there and always felt within my spirit that I should be a priest. At 13, I decided I was an atheist. I believed that, until at the age of 19, a co-worker invited me to attend an Assembly of God Church with him. Despite my new-found beliefs, my life was one that included alcohol, drugs and divorce. The only good outcome of my marriage was the birth of my son.
My spiritual story starts as a young man of 22. I was divorcing because my wife had left me and she showed up for the courtroom proceedings pregnant with another man’s child. My life was a mess. I had a great job as a traffic manager with a major computer terminal manufacturer on Long Island. That part was good but the rest of my life was not. I was into alcohol and drugs. The worst part was that I professed to be a believer but I was just “playing church”. My only saving grace was that my mother prayed for her children every day and I knew when she prayed for me.
My son and I were living with my parents and my mother took care of my son while I went to work. I lived in the basement of the house which was fixed up very nicely as a two bedroom apartment. To get to the basement I had to go through the front door of the house, go through the living room, through the kitchen, and then down the stairs. In
the evenings my parents would leave the light on in the living room and I would go into the kitchen, turn the light on, and then go turn off the light in the living room. Then I would turn the light on going down to the basement and turn off the kitchen light.
You’re probably wondering why I’m giving you all the details about the lights but it has to do with my first angelic encounter. My experience is included in Christian Healing Ministries co-founder, Judith MacNutt’s book, Encountering Angels, (2015, pg. 196-197).
One Friday evening after work I planned on doing my usual routine, which was to smoke some pot, go to the clubs, have a good time, and look for women. This Friday was different. I didn’t have the urge for any drugs so I didn’t do any. I went to the clubs but for some reason there was no action anywhere. The odd thing was that I had no desire to drink alcohol either. I didn’t think anything of it then but now I know that God had His hand in the situation preparing me for my encounter so there would not be any doubt when I told others of this encounter. When I told some of my “friends” about the angelic encounter, the first question they asked me was “were you high?” I could honestly say that I was not.
So on that particular Friday night I entered the house at about 10pm, which was very early for me. I went into the living room but instead of going into the kitchen to turn on the light, for some unknown reason I just decided to turn the light off in the living room and walk in the dark to the basement. So I turned off the light, and as I turned to the left I saw two angels who looked like men who were very tall. I walked toward them and stopped. I would say they were both at least seven feet tall. They both had white robes. The one on my right had long blonde hair, but a blonde that shined like gold. He had wings and when I looked at them it was as if they had a life of their own. His skin color was like a radiant bronze. The whole time he just smiled at me. The other angel had wings that looked the same but this angel had curly jet black hair and the same skin color. They both had on breastplates. They had swords and looked like they were ready for battle. They did not speak to me with their mouths but at one point the one with the curly hair spoke to me, not using his mouth, and I heard him say, “You need to stop what you’re doing”. At that point I was so scared that I ran downstairs to the basement, fell on my knees, prayed, and jumped into bed with fear. I asked the Lord to help me, guide me, and forgive me of my sins. You would think that would have been the end of the story and that I would have started doing what the Lord wanted me to do. Sadly that was not the case but my journey continued.
I attended the Assemblies of God for ten years. I learned a lot of scripture there and what I was supposed to do and not do. But I felt something was missing. I left the Assemblies of God and started to attend the Episcopal Church. I had missed the liturgy but I wanted to continue in the protestant faith. I stayed in the Episcopal Church and served in many leadership roles within the church. In 2000, the Lord started to tug at my heart again to be a priest but I didn’t pay attention.
About that time there was a breakaway from the Episcopal Church, forming a new Province in North America, the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). The local church I was attending was part of that schism. In 2008, I finally said “yes” to God’s call because the Lord spoke to me and told me to “feed my sheep”. I attended and completed the Anglican School of Ministry and that was when I finally met Jesus and knew him in a very personal way.
In 2012, the Bishop commissioned me to be a Catechist (lay minister) to pastor a Hispanic Anglican church in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese of ACNA. I pastored that church for 6 years. Despite my completing the coursework in the Anglican School of Ministry, the Bishop would not ordain me into the priesthood because of my history of divorce. I have celebrated the liturgy, served the Eucharist (from the Reserved Sacrament), performed baptisms, taught confirmation preparation classes, and presided over funerals. I have performed weddings with my ordination in the Association of Christian Ministers, but I could not consecrate, offer absolution, or perform weddings in the Anglican Church because my ordination is not accepted by the ACNA. I essentially served as clergy in the Anglican Church for 6 years without being ordained as clergy.
In 2018 Archbishop Firestone came to the United States and graciously ordained me as deacon then priest in the Anglican Free Communion. In 2018 I was also called to pastor Immanuel Anglican Church in Keystone Heights, Florida. In 2019 Archbishop Firestone consecrated me as a bishop and the diocese of Keystone was established, of which Immanuel Anglican Church and Ebenezer Anglican Church are a part of.
When the Anglican Free Communion International was established, I was asked to assume the role of Secretary General. I have been working closely with the Presiding Bishop the Chancellor and the Executive Council, to meet the needs of the communion on a daily basis. In executing this position. I also interact with all the bishops worldwide to support them in all communion matters and also screen the candidates for entry into the communion and refer them to the proper provincial bishop.
I also served as the Provincial Bishop of the Caribbean and Central America.