Q&A with Acting Bishop John Miller

Want to know more about what it means to have an Acting Bishop? Diocesan Assistant Alison Freeman Matta sat down for a chat with Bishop John to get to know him and better understand his partnership with the Upper Midwest.

Bp John with wife Joyce, daughter Kimberly, son-in-law Alex, and the first grandbaby.

Q: Where do you call home, Bp. John?

A: My wife Joyce and I reside in Vero Beach, a relatively small town on the east coast of Florida, approximately 70 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center. The tropical environment, proximity to the ocean, and warm weather mostly year-round make it a very appealing place to live.

Q: We know you are an ACNA Bishop—do you lead a diocese on top of serving as our Acting Bishop?

A: I am not a diocesan bishop. Now semi-retired, in addition to serving as the Acting Bishop of the Upper Midwest, I am canonically resident in ACNA’s Gulf Atlantic Diocese as an Assisting Bishop.

Q: When and why did you choose to join the ministry?

A: Long story short, I believe the ministry, or more accurately God, chose me to serve as an ordained leader of his Church. I was quite content in my career as a marine biologist when I had a profound encounter with the Lord Jesus following the death of our first child. It was he who redirected my path in ways I could not have imagined prior to that encounter. The year was 1986. I fought the call for nearly three years before surrendering to the “Hound of Heaven.”

Q:  What is your favorite way to spend your day off?

A: When I can set aside all ministry responsibilities, I enjoy beginning the day with a visit with the Lord and his Word, followed by a time of working with my orchids, bromeliads, and numerous tropical plants. An afternoon nap is always a treat. In the coolness of the evening, I enjoy walking the neighborhood with our dog Lilly.

Q:  After 28 years as a pastor, what would you say is the heart of pastoral ministry?

A: Treating lost or suffering souls with the limitless grace and goodness of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

Q: We are grateful for your ministry here in our diocese. What does it mean to be our Acting Bishop? 

A: I meet weekly with your senior leaders—the Bishop’s Council—as a non-voting member. The Council has granted me authority to perform specific episcopal duties, such as confirmations, ordinations, and building consecrations within the Diocese. Furthermore, I serve as a liaison between the Diocese and the ACNA Province.  Perhaps the most important task I undertake is to provide pastoral guidance for your Acting Deans, council members, and diocesan clergy. I offer the familiarity of a Bishop with deep roots in Anglicanism, yet one new to the Diocese who can advise through a fresh pair of eyes. I am deeply honored that the Lord has called me to serve the people of the Upper Midwest as an Acting Bishop for a season. Be assured of my fervent prayers, as I seek God’s rich blessings for you, the Body of Christ.

This article was first published in Upper Midwest News, October 2021.