Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.
The mission of the Westminster Town Hall Forum is to engage the public in reflection and dialogue on the key issues of our day from an ethical perspective.
In 1980, Westminster Presbyterian Church members Paul and Diane Neimann, launched the Westminster Town Hall Forum. Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, was the first speaker, and the Reverend Donald Meisel moderated. Since then, more than 300 speakers have addressed Forum audiences, including, among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Thomas Friedman, Cornel West, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, David McCullough, Marcus Borg, Marian Wright Edelman, Barbara Brown Taylor, David Brooks, Salman Rushdie, Gwen Ifill, and Bryan Stevenson.
The Town Hall Forum is guided by a volunteer advisory board that is comprised equally of Westminster Church members and at-large community leaders. The Advisory Board meets throughout a year and provides support, oversight, and guidance in the areas of policy, community relations, development, and programming. The Forum is led and managed by a paid director. The members of the board are Megan Dayton, Chairperson; Jessica Bari; Tony Graham; Tim Hart-Andersen; Michael Kleber-Diggs; Karen Kraemer; Song Lee; Luther Ranheim; Buffy Smith; Steve Snyder; Amy Walsh Kern; Sandy Wolfe Wood; and Tane Danger, Director.
For decades, Westminster Town Hall Forum programs has been proud to have Minnesota Public Radio as a partner. They broadcast programs statewide and on their livestream for all to hear. Forums are typically aired at noon on MPR News as a special week of programing at the end of the season. More recently the Forum has begun a partnership with KMOJ radio, which broadcasts programs in the Twin Cities, typically the Saturday after they take place. The Forum is also proud to have both MinnPost and Sahan Journal as media co-sponsors of every program.
Because of the generosity of its donors, the Forum has maintained its commitment to offer programs that are free and open to all. The Forum receives 85% of its funding from individual donors and 15% from co-sponsors. Although Westminster Presbyterian Church provides generous in-kind support, it provides no operating funds from its annual budget. The Town Hall Forum is a community resource funded entirely by the community.
The Town Hall Forum welcomes community involvement and support. Over the years, Forum events have been co-sponsored by businesses, nonprofits, faith communities, and educational institutions, including Hennepin County Library, United Theological Seminary, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and the Minneapolis Foundation, to name just a few. Individuals or organizations interested in co-sponsoring a forum should contact the Forum director at [email protected].