Onell Soto

Onell A. Soto is now a retired Episcopal Bishop residing in Miami, Florida. Prior to his retirement in 2002 he was appointed by the Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley to serve as assistant bishop of the Episcopal Church in Alabama, beginning on August 1st.

Bishop Soto served in a similar position for four years in Atlanta. In 1987 he was elected bishop of the Anglican Church in Venezuela.

Born in Cuba in 1932, Bishop Soto graduated from the School of Theology of the University of the South in 1964. In that year he enrolled at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he worked on Master's degree. He and his wife, Nina, became U.S. citizens on September 8, 1966.

After serving for six years in Ecuador, Bishop Soto was appointed executive secretary of Province IX of the Episcopal Church (at that time, 15 dioceses in northern Latin America and the Caribbean). During this time he traveled widely and helped to foster better inter-Anglican and ecumenical relations through personal visits and communication.

In 1978, Bishop Soto was appointed mission information and education officer at the Episcopal Church Center in New York.During his 10-year tenure he visited almost every province of the Anglican Communion and produced World Mission News, a newsletter about Anglican affairs and the worldwide missionary work of the Church. He also founded Anglicanos, a similar publication in Spanish in 1984.

As an officer of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Soto had the opportunity to travel around the world. He has visited the missionary work of the Anglican Communion in some 60 countries of the world.

In October 1988, the University of the South awarded him a doctor of divinity degree honoris causa.

During his episcopate in Venezuela, Bishop Soto led the Church in that country from a chaplaincy church to a national church under Venezuelan leadership. His dreams were realized on April 8, 1995, when a special convention of the Church in Venezuela elected Orlando Guerrero, a 50-year-old priest, ordained in 1980, as the first Venezuelan national to be elected to the Anglican episcopate.

Before his departure from Caracas, the President of Venezuela, Dr. Rafael Caldera, granted Bishop Soto the Order of the Liberator Simón Bolívar for his contribution to "the moral and spiritual welfare" of the country.

As assistant bishop of Atlanta he worked closely with the diocesan, Bishop Frank Allan. Besides the normal pastoral work of the diocese, Bishop Soto helped in deployment, higher education, and ecumenical relations, Hispanic ministry and relations with the companion diocese of Ecuador.

In 1999 Bishop Soto accepted the invitation of the Diocese of Alabama to do the same ministry as assistant bishop until his retirement in Miami in 2002.

Bishop Soto has attended, in several capacities, all the General Conventions of the Episcopal Church since 1969.

Bishop Soto and his wife, Nina, a Christian educator also a native of Cuba, have four grown children and five grandchildren who live in the Chicago, Washington, San Diego and Sacramento. Mrs. Soto is the editor of Día a Día, the Spanish version of Forward's Day by Day in Spanish.

"'BISHOP ONELL A. SOTO(Additional biographical information)"'

The Rt. Rev. Onell Asiselo Soto was born on November 17, 1932 in Omaja, a small town founded by American immigrants in the province of Oriente, Cuba. The son of Juan Aurelio Soto Vega and María de Los Angeles Almaguer Mayo, Bishop Soto spent his childhood in his hometown until 1938 when he moved with his family to a small town named San Agustín, where his father was head of the Army post.

Bishop Soto received his primary education in San Agustín's public school. In 1945 he won a scholarship to study in a rural training school in Victoria de las Tunas, a city 30 miles from home. After a year of study there, Bishop Soto entered the Methodist mission school in Omaja. He graduated with honors in 1947 and received a scholarship to study secondary education at Irene Toland School in Matanzas, 100 miles from Havana. Bishop Soto graduated with honors in 1952, and enrolled three months later at the University of Havana's School of Medicine where he completed four years of medical training..

In 1956 the university was closed for political reasons and was not opened until 1960, after the triumph of Fidel Castro's revolution. In 1957, Bishop Soto left Cuba for the United States and enrolled in Boston University's College of Liberal Arts. In 1959, he returned to Cuba, and worked for two years as a chemistry technician at a flour mill in Havana.

On July 4, 1960, Bishop Soto married Nina Ulloa, director of Christian Education of the Episcopal Church in Cuba. In November of the same year, they left Cuba for the United States and settled in Sanatorium, Mississippi, where Bishop Soto worked as a medical assistant at the Mississippi State Sanatorium, a TB hospital. In August 1961, he entered the School of Theology of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. Bishop Soto paid part of his studies by teaching Spanish in two Episcopal High Schools while studying at Sewanee.

Bishop Soto received his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1964 (later upgraded to Master's), and went to Austin, Texas, where he worked on a Master's degree at the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest. He completed all the academic work except the dissertation.

On St. Peter's Day, June 29, 1964, Bishop Soto was ordained deacon in Gadsden, Alabama, by the Rt. Rev. George M. Murray, then Bishop of Alabama. On August 18, 1965 he was ordained priest in Bogotá, Colombia, by the Rt. Rev. David B. Reed then Bishop of Colombia.

The Sotos arrived in Quito, Ecuador, as appointed missionaries of the Episcopal Church on September 15, 1965 where he became Vicar of St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church. He established the first Spanish-speaking congregation and organized a strong ecumenical movement in the city.

Bishop and Mrs. Soto became US citizens on September 8, 1966 in San Antonio, Texas.

Bishop Soto was elected Executive Secretary of Province IX of the Episcopal Church in 1971. At that time the province consisted of the dioceses of Mexico, Central America, Ecuador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. While in El Salvador, Bishop Soto organized the provincial office and set up a wide communication system throughout the province and the rest of Latin America. During this time he traveled widely and helped to foster better inter-Anglican and ecumenical relations through personal visits and communication.

Bishop Soto remained in El Salvador until December 18, 1977 when he was then appointed Mission Information and Education Officer of the World Mission Unit at the Episcopal Church Center in New York. In that post, he had the opportunity to travel around the world as a mission reporter and interpreter.

On March 11, 1987, he was elected bishop of the Diocese of Venezuela. Bishop Soto's consecration took place on July 11, 1987 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Caracas. The Rt. Rev. James H. Ottley, Bishop of Panama and President of Province IX, presided at the ceremony. The co-consacrators were the Most Rev. Orland U. Lindsay, primate of the West Indies, the Most Rev. Olavo V. Luiz, primate of Brazil and the Rt. Rev. Haydn Jones, retired bishop of Venezuela.

On October 11, 1988 the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, conferred Bishop Soto the degree of Doctor in Divinity, honoris causa.

During his episcopate Bishop Soto lead the Church in Venezuela from a chaplaincy church to a national church under Venezuelan leadership. His dreams were realized when on April 8, 1995 a special convention of the Church in Venezuela elected Orlando Guerrero, a 50-year-old Venezuelan priest ordained in 1980, as the first native of the country to be elected to the Anglican episcopate.

Before his departure from Caracas, the President of Venezuela, Dr. Rafael Caldera, granted Bishop Soto the Order of the Liberator Simón Bolívar for his contribution to “the moral and spiritual welfare of the country.”

Since May 1, 1995, Bishop Soto is Assistant Bishop of Atlanta sharing the pastoral ministry with the diocesan, Bishop Frank Allan. The Diocese of Atlanta has 90 congregations and nearly 300 clergy. As Assistant Bishop, he helps in the episcopal ministry and serves in deployment, higher education, ecumenical relations, Hispanic ministry and relations with the companion diocese of Ecuador.

POSTS IN THE CHURCH

• Officer of the Christian Federation of Cuban Youth, Havana, Cuba, 1952-1956• Officer of the Student Christian Movement, Havana, Cuba, 1952-1956• Assistant, St. Stephen's Church, San Antonio, Texas, 1964-1965

Vicar, St. Nicholas' Church, Quito, Ecuador, 1965-1971

• Member, Bishop's Council of Advice, Ecuador, 1966-1971• Examining Chaplain, Ecuador, 1966-1971• Chair of the MRI Committee, Ecuador, 1966-1971• Member of Court of Appeals of Province IX, 1969-1971• Deputy to General Conventions: South Bend, 1969; Houston, 1970; Louisville, 1973; Minneapolis, 1976; Denver, 1979 (staff); New Orleans, 1982 (staff); Anaheim, 1985 (staff), Detroit, 1988 (bishops); Phoenix, 1991 (bishop); Indianapolis, 1993 (bishop); Philadelphia, 1997 (bishop)• Member of the Liturgical Commission of Province IX, 1971-1977• Member of Bishop's Council of Advice, El Salvador, 1971-1977• Chair of Diocesan Commission on the Ministry, 1971-1977

Executive Secretary, Province IX of the Episcopal Church, 1971-1977

• Editor, Rápidas, ecumenical news service, 1971-1980• Editor, Mundo Episcopal, 1975-1977• Liaison Officer for the Anglican Council of Latin America (CALA), 1972-1975• Member of the Anglican Council of North America and the Caribbean (ACNAC), 1972-1977• Member of the Joint Commission on World Mission, 1973-1976• Member of the Central Committee of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), 1973-1977• Member of the Commission on Communication of the World Council of Churches, 1974-1975• Secretary, CETYM, Commission of Theological Education and Ministry for Latin America and the Caribbean, 1975-1977• Member of the Executive Committee of the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), 1975-1977

Mission Information and Education Officer of the Episcopal Church 1978-1987

• Member Hispanic Commission Diocese of Newark, 1978-1987• Member National Council of Churches' Latin America and Caribbean Committee, 1978-1987• Member NCC's Intermedia, 1978-1987• Editor, World Mission News, 1979-1987• Editor, Mission Information column in The Episcopalian, 1978-1983• Editor, Agencia de Información Religiosa (AIR), 1981-1982• Member, Board of SPCK/USA, 1982-1994• Editor, World Mission Handbook, 1984• Editor, Anglicanos, 1984-1995

Bishop, the Anglican Church in Venezuela, 1987-1995

• Honorary member, House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States, 1988-1995• Vice President, CRISEV, Association of churches and synagogues of Venezuela, 1988-1995• Communication officer, ARENSA, the Episcopal Regional Association of Northern South America, 1989-1995• Vice President, Resurrexit, AIDS's ecumenical center, 1988 -1995• Editor, Correo Anglicano, 1991-1995• Secretary, House of Bishops of Province IX, 1992-1995• Member, Communication Commission for the Anglican Communion, 1994-95• Convener, Theological Education Program for Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, 1994-1995

Assistant Bishop of Atlanta, 1995-

TRAVELS

• Latin America: all the countries• Caribbean: Virgin Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Surinam, Guyana, Belize and Curaçao• North America: USA (40 states) and Canada (two provinces)• Western Europe: almost all the countries• Eastern Europe: former East Berlin and Hungary• Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Liberia and Nigeria• Asia and the Pacific: Australia, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan• Middle East: Israel, Cyprus and Egypt

"'DELEGATIONS AND CONFERENCES"'

• General Committee of the World's Student Christian Federation, Tutzing, Germany 1956• Synods of the Ninth Province of the Episcopal Church: St. Croix, 1967; Mexico, 1968; Panama, 1969; Mexico, 1971; San Salvador, 1975; Guatemala, 1978, Panama, 1982; Santo Domingo, 1987; San Pedro Sula, 1990; Quito, 1993• General Conventions of the Episcopal Church: South Bend, 1969; Houston, 1970; Louisville, 1973; Minneapolis, 1976; Denver 1979; New Orleans, 1982; Anaheim, 1985; Detroit, 1988; Phoenix, 1991; Indianapolis, 1994• South American Anglican Consultation, Lima, 1973• Assembly Caribbean Council of Churches, Kingston, Jamaica, 1973• General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches, Nairobi, 1975; Vancouver, 1983• Latin American Evangelical Conferences, Buenos Aires, 1969; Oaxtepec, Mexico, 1978; Lima, 1981; São Paulo, 1988• Evangelization Congresses, Lima, 1979; Melbourne, 1980• Latin American Catholic Bishops' Conference, Puebla, Mexico, 1979• World Lutheran Federation General Assemblies, Dar es Salaam, 1977; Budapest, 1984• Partners in Mission Consultations, Ninth Province, Panama, 1977 and 1982; Central Africa, Malawi, 1979; Cuba, 1984• Anglican Consultative Council, Trinidad, 1975; Lagos, Nigeria, 1984• Inaugural assembly, the Anglican Church in the Southern Cone of the Americas, Buenos Aires, 1983• St. George's College, Jerusalem, 1985• Anglican Seminar, Rome, Italy, 1986• First Latin American Anglican Congress, Panama, 1987• Lambeth Conference, Canterbury, England, 1988, 1998• Synod of the Church in the Province of the West Indies, Montego Bay, Jamaica, 1989• Consultation on Global Mission, Indianapolis, 1992• Anglican Theological Consultation for Latin America, San José, Costa Rica, 1992• World Anglican Encounter, Salvador, Bahía, Brazil, 1992• IV Latin American Encounter of Bishops and Pastors, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1993• World Christian-Jewish Congress, Jerusalem, 1994

HOBBIES

Classical music, photography and travel.

BISHOPS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CUBA

Albion Knight, 1904-1913Hiram R. Hulse, 1915-1938Alexander Hugo Blankingship, 1939-1961Romualdo González, 1961-1966José Agustín González, 1967-82Emilio Hernández, 1982-1992Jorge Perera, 1994-

EPISCOPAL BISHOPS BORN IN CUBA

The Episcopal Church has produced TEN bishopsborn in Cuba:

José Agustín González (b. 1914) Bishop of Cuba 1967-82

Anselmo Carral (b. 1925) Bishop of Guatemala 1973-1981 Bishop Assistant of Texas 1985-1992

Hugo Pina (b. 1938) Bishop of Honduras 1978-1983 Bishop Assistant of Central Florida 1995-

Emilio Hernández (b. 1925) Bishop of Cuba 1982-1992

Leo Frade (b. 1943) Bishop of Honduras 1984-

Onell Soto (b. 1932) Bishop of Venezuela 1987-1995 Bishop Assistant of Atlanta 1995-1999 Bishop Assistant of Alabama 1999-Jorge Perera (b. 1934) Bishop of Cuba 1994-

Leopoldo Alard (b. 1941) Bishop Suffragan of Texas 1995-

William J. Skilton (b. 1940) Bishop Suffragan of South Carolina 1996-

Miguel Tamayo (b. 1944) Bishop of Uruguay 1998-


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