Bruce Ough

Bishop Bruce Ough


United States

North Central Jurisdiction


Bishop Bruce R. Ough is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 2000-2020. 

In 2016, Bishop Ough became the President of the Council of Bishops to serve a two-year term. He is currently Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church (UMC), a position he has held since Sept. 1, 2020.  The Executive Secretary is charged with the day-to-day running of the Council of Bishops' office in Washington, D.C.  He is also a member of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee.

Previously, Bishop Ough served as the resident bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area of The United Methodist Church, where he served from September 1, 2012. Prior to his assignment to the Dakotas-Minnesota Area, he served for 12 years as the resident bishop of the West Ohio Area.

Bruce was ordained deacon in 1975 and elder in 1979 in the former North Dakota Conference and served as Council Director and Camp Program Director in the Dakotas, as Director of Oakwood Spiritual Life Center in Indiana, and as senior pastor, district superintendent and Director of the Council of Ministries in the Iowa conference. A 1973 graduate of North Dakota State University, Bishop Ough earned a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in 1978. In addition, he has done graduate work at Northwestern University and completed the Upper Room’s two-year Academy for Spiritual Formation program, for which he also served on the Leadership Team.

Bishop Ough was elected as a delegate to numerous General and North Central Jurisdiction Conferences and has served as a member of several jurisdictional and general church agencies. He was appointed bishop of the Southeast Asia Mission (Vietnam, Laos and Thailand) from 2010 – 2015, served as the president of the North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops and chaired the Council of Bishops’ Plan Team on Missional Focus. He chaired the United Methodist Connectional Table for the 2012 – 2016 quadrennium, served as President of the Council of Bishops from 2016 – 2018, and currently serves as the Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops in addition to his continued leadership as Resident Bishop of the Dakotas-Minnesota Area through December 31, 2020.

Bishop Ough is past president of the Ohio Council of Churches and has been involved with the Minnesota Council of Churches during his years in the Dakotas- Minnesota Area. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Dakota Wesleyan University, Hamline University, and the E. Stanley Jones Foundation, and he has received an honorary doctorate from Dakota Wesleyan University. In May 2020, Bishop Ough was named Distinguished Alum for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. 

Bruce is married to Charlene Ough; they are the parents of three sons and seven grandchildren.