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Press Release
July 27, 2021

On July 8, 2021, Bishop Stewart Ruch, III, Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, requested a leave of absence "to create any needed space for the Province to take next steps regarding this serious matter and to assure the people in the diocese as well as the survivors involved that there will be a transparent and independent process."

On Monday, July 26, 2021 Archbishop Beach met with the Bishop's Council of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest and shared that he has appointed Bishop John Miller to serve the diocese as Acting Bishop and Bishop Todd Atkinson to assist Bishop Miller. The Bishop's Council of the Upper Midwest is the ecclesiastical authority of the diocese during Bishop Ruch's leave of absence, but can delegate authority to Bishop Miller and Bishop Atkinson to assist it in the work of the diocese.

This is the second time that Bishop Miller has assisted a diocese in this capacity, having served the Anglican Diocese of the Great Lakes two years ago. You can learn more about Bishop Miller and Bishop Atkinson below.

Bishop John Miller

After an exciting, 18-year career as a marine biologist with the Smithsonian Institution and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, John attended Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge PA. Completing his Master of Divinity in May 1993, John was ordained as a Deacon in June of that year. John's first call came from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and School in Melbourne, Florida where he served as Assistant Rector and School Chaplain. He was ordained to the Priesthood in January 1994. From March 1995 to July 1996, John led Holy Trinity as Priest-in-Charge. In August 1996, he was called as the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Melbourne. In February 2004, John joined the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) and planted Prince of Peace Anglican Church in Melbourne. During his time in the AMiA, John served three years as a Network Leader. In January 2008, he was consecrated as a Missionary Bishop in Dallas, Texas and became one of the founding Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) later that year.

As a Missionary Bishop, John provided episcopal oversight to 30 Anglican Mission churches located in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. At the request of his colleague, Bishop Neil Lebhar, Gulf Atlantic Diocese, ACNA, John agreed to enter the Rector Search Process at Christ Church Vero Beach in May 2012. John accepted the call from Christ Church to serve as its third Rector beginning in August 2012. He retired from parish ministry in July 2019.

As an Anglican Bishop, John has participated in all three Global Anglican Future Conferences (GAFCON) to date: Jerusalem 2008; Nairobi 2013; Jerusalem 2018. He has led three mission trips to Rwanda, and his work as a Bishop has carried him to Canada, Israel, Kenya, Uganda, Singapore, and South Africa. Over the course of his 25+ years as an ordained leader, John and his wife Joyce have served as Tour Hosts on seven pilgrimages to the Holy Land and another to Greece and Turkey to study the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul.

John enjoys gardening, fishing, hiking and travel. His scriptural life verse is Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes: to the Jew first and also to the Greek." When asked how one makes the leap from a biology to theology, John notes: "I was given 18 years to study the creation and the remainder of my life to study the Creator, what two better careers can a man have?

Bishop Todd Atkinson

Bishop Atkinson oversees a church planting initiative in Canada called Via Apostolica that has ministered alongside the Anglican Network in Canada since 2014. In 2020, Provincial Council made Via Apostolica a Missionary District of the Province domiciled in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest.

Born in Canada, Atkinson came to faith in Christ as a teen. Upon reaching majority age, he moved to the United Kingdom to train with a British evangelist and ended up at Oxford University where he studied theology and philosophy. In 2003, Atkinson made a permanent move back to Canada and in 2012 he was consecrated a bishop. He and his wife, Cheri, currently live in Lethbridge, Alberta. They have three children.

You can learn more about the process and read updates from the Provincial Response Team here. https://anglicanchurch.net/provincial-response-team/


Earlier this month, Archbishop Beach announced that, at the request of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, the Province would undertake oversight of the independent investigation into allegations of abuse within the diocese, ensure that pastoral care for survivors is offered, and conduct a review of diocesan structures and processes. Below are some recent developments in that unfolding situation:

Executive Committee expresses sorrow, calls for prayer, and approves formation of Provincial Response Team

Meeting on Monday, July 26, 2021 the Executive Committee of the Anglican Church in North America responded to the concerns raised by survivors of abuse in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest. The members of the Committee expressed “deep sorrow for all survivors who have suffered harm and pain as a result of abuse and/or misconduct and for their families and loved ones,” approved the formation of a Provincial Response Team, and called for “prayer for healing and justice for all affected by this tragic situation, for wisdom for those dealing with it, and for a spirit of grace, humility, and repentance throughout our Church.”

The Executive Committee is the Anglican Church in North America’s Board of Directors and is made up of clergy and laity elected from across the Province. Read more from the Executive Committee here.

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