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.