Anglican Watch

ACNA bishop Ruch goes to trial

ACNA bishop Stewart Ruch

From Anglican Ink

The Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, the Rt. Rev. Stewart Ruch III, will stand trial before the ACNA’s Court for the Trial of a Bishop on charges he violated his ordination vows, abusing his office and failing to adhere to the church’s canons.

The ACNA announced on 15 August 2023 a Board of Inquiry had examined a presentment against Bishop Ruch filed in June, and found a prima facie case to proceed to trial. Bishop Ruch responded to the news that he was “relieved that there will be an occasion to hear all sides and gain some resolution after two years.”

Details of the alleged violations have not been made public but are believed to center round Bishop Ruch’s handling of a sexual abuse case involving a lay leader, Mark Rivera, who has since been jailed for rape.

The case continues.


A Board of Inquiry empaneled to consider a Presentment filed in June of 2023, submitted by priests and lay persons predominantly from within the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, against Bishop Stewart Ruch III has determined that there are reasonable grounds to put the accused to trial. By canon such a determination from a Board of Inquiry shall be made public (Title IV, Canon 4, Section 6).  You can read the Public Declaration from the Board of Inquiry here. The Presentment will now be sent to the Court for the Trial of a Bishop.

A different, previously submitted Presentment brought by three bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, was challenged by Bishop Ruch before the Provincial Tribunal, which was the impetus for a canonical amendment passed by the College of Bishops and Provincial Council in June of 2023.  The status of that Presentment remains a question being considered by the Provincial Tribunal.


In the matter of Stewart E. Ruch, III, Bishop of the Diocese of the Upper Midwest, this Board of Inquiry, selected pursuant to Canon IV.4.3 of the Canons of the Anglican Church of North America, had a presentment referred to it on July 10, 2023 from the office of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America. The presentment conformed to the requirements of Canon IV.4.1 and was signed and sworn to by not fewer than ten Presbyters, Deacons, or adult baptized members of this Church in good standing.

Having investigated the charges contained therein, pursuant to Canon IV.4.4, the Board of Inquiry finds, upon matters of law and fact, as presented to it, that there are reasonable grounds to put the accused to trial, and, pursuant to Canon IV.4.6, hereby makes this public declaration that, in the judgment of at least two-thirds of the Board of Inquiry, there is probable cause to present Bishop Stewart E. Ruch, III for trial for violations of Canon IV.2.3, Canon IV.2.4, and Canon IV.2.9.

Respectfully submitted August 11, 2023.

The Board of Inquiry

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