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About the Forum


For more than 40 years, The Westminster Town Hall Forum has attracted staff, advisory board members, volunteers, and community members who have worked together to build and grow a lecture series focused on issues of the day from an ethical perspective. The Forum is not a religious organization. People of all faiths and no faith are welcome at everything we do.  We have a longstanding partnership with Westminster Presbyterian Church, which has been the home of the Town Hall Forum since our inception in 1980.


TownTalks is the Forum’s program featuring local speakers who grapple with issues important to the Twin Cities, the five-county metro area, and out-state Minnesota. Like our national speaker programs, TownTalks addresses these topics from an ethical perspective; but unlike the nationally-focused Forums, TownTalks recruits innovative leaders from within the Minnesota community—scholars and artists, politicians, community activists, and thought leaders—who are actively engaged in solving intractable problems in our cities and around the state. Just like all Forum programs, TownTalks events are entirely free and open to all.


In the late 1970s, Paul and Diane Neimann moved to Minneapolis from Pittsburgh where they’d regularly attended a local lecture series. They believed a city as great as Minneapolis deserved its own world-class speaker series. They knew they wanted it to be downtown, so they approached Westminster Presbyterian Church to ask if it would open its doors for these programs. The rest is history.

The very first Forum took place in 1980, featuring Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Since then, more than 350 speakers have addressed Forum audiences, including, among others, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Thomas Friedman, Maya Angelou, 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 composed equally of Westminster Church members and at-large community leaders. Our Advisory Board meets throughout the year and provides support, oversight, and guidance in the areas of policy, community relations, development, and programming. The Town Hall Forum is also led and managed by a paid director.

Our Director, Tane Danger, leads every aspect of the organization: speaker bookings, fundraising, event production, volunteer coordination, and communications. 

The Town Hall Forum is supported by an Advisory Board comprising experienced leaders offering guidance on governance, finance, development, and speaker bookings. The current members of our Advisory Board are–Chairperson Megan Dayton, Jessica Bari, Tony Graham, Margaret Fox, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Luther Ranheim, Buffy Smith, Steve Snyder, Amy Walsh Kern, Monica Westerlund, and Sandy Wolfe Wood.