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"NET: How Real Churches Really Grow"

Church growth and development is a perennial topic of conversation, concern and even whole conventions in the Christian community, transcending theological differences. With NET: How Real Churches Really Grow the Rev. William Miller, an Episcopal priest who has been a featured preacher and speaker at churches and diocesan gatherings across the United States and Europe, will bring a fresh new approach to the topic on Saturday, August 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Fellowship Hall of St. Philip Presbyterian Church, 745 W. Pipeline Road, Hurst, Texas, 76053.

This event is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and the Tarrant Area Community of Churches.

Since Miller became rector of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church on Kauai in 2006, the parish has grown by 50% and initiated innovative new ministries for children, youth, and the music and arts community – only the latest in a string a parishes Miller has helped to grow and develop exciting new ministries. He is the author of several books and an avid music lover who has founded four jazz festivals and has collaborated with musicians to create ten different jazz masses utilizing the music of Coltrane, Ellington, Armstrong and others. His live music venue, Padre’s, opened to rave reviews in the West Texas arts town of Marfa in May 2009 (www.padresmarfa.com), and is a whole other story of a lifelong dream coming true because of a youth ministry group.

William Broyles Jr., a former editor of Newsweek, and the Academy-Award nominated screenwriter of Apollo 13, The Polar Express and Cast Away, said, "William Miller is a magician with language. His stories are beautifully written. They’re parables, gateways into the deep mysteries of life, love, and death. They find wisdom in dogs and humor in stingrays, and great joy in the everyday wonders of life. The simplest things become beautiful and, right before your eyes, divine."

Miller is writing a book on discerning one’s passion and potential titled Awakening the Sleeping Giant and a book on congregational development, NET: How Real Churches Really Grow. He is the author of The Gospel According to Sam: Animal Stories for the Soul (Seabury: New York) www.facebook.com/The.Gospel.According.to.Sam and has just finished The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God: Spirituality for Real People.

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickell, bishop of Olympia, said, "As a bishop of the church I wish I could clone Bill Miller! Bill has an amazing gift of intuition, of assessing the context and ethos of a congregation, and then bringing out the best of that in order to share the Good News of Christ with the world."

Miller began his ministry as the director of youth ministries at the Church of St. John the Divine in Houston, Texas from 1986-1991. Under his leadership the youth program grew from 12 to 100 active participants and started a number of innovative outreach, social justice, and music ministries. From 1991-1999 he served as vicar and later rector of St. James Church in Austin, Texas, a historically African-American parish. The congregation quadrupled in size, started a school for economically disadvantaged students, and became a model for multi-cultural ministry. From 1999 – 2006 he served as rector of historic Trinity Church in downtown Houston. The parish almost tripled in attendance and giving, completed an ambitious $3 million renovation and restoration, created a critically-acclaimed art-filled chapel, and began a flourishing Jazz and Gospel service.

Participants can pre-register for the workshop before Aug. 23 by clicking here. The fee of $10 per person (payable online or by mailing a check to the diocesan office at 3550 Southwest Loop 820, Fort Worth, 76133) will cover materials, and participants are urged to de-brief after the workshop over lunch at one of the many restaurants nearby.