[Tampa Bay Times by Piper Castillo] It was just a few days before terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Washington, D.C., targets in 2001 that Father Ray Bonoan took over as the rector at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Safety Harbor. "On 9/11, I was still moving in. We decided to leave the church open. So many came and just sat. … All our hearts were broken. I will say it was difficult. As a priest, sometimes you need to be a healer when you are wounded, too.''
Born in the Philippines, Bonoan received his bachelor's in theology and his master's in divinity at St. Andrew's Theological Seminary in Quezon City. He came to the United States in 1983 and eventually settled in Hillsborough County, where he served at St. Luke's in Land O'Lakes and at St. Andrew's in Tampa.
Bonoan serves as the canon missioner for Asian ministries for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida and is the founding director of the Diocesan Church Against Human Trafficking office, which has headquarters at Church of the Holy Spirit. In 2009, he received the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking's Freedom Award.
At the national level, Bonoan is a member of the advisory committee working with the General Convention for the Episcopal Church on human trafficking issues.
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