40th Anniversary of the Westminster Town Hall Forum

The Town Hall Forum begins its 40th year of engaging the public in reflection and dialogue on the key issues of our day from an ethical perspective. This spring, three speakers will explore critical issues challenging our community and nation during this election year. Forums are held in Westminster’s sanctuary and are free and open to all. Music precedes the presentation 30 minutes; a reception and book-signing with the speaker follow.

Bill McKibben
Tuesday, March 17, Noon
Building a Movement to Stop Climate Change

Bill McKibben is an environmentalist, educator, and author, and one of the leading voices on climate change in America. He is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A prolific and award-winning author, his 1989 book, The End of Nature, is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is the founder of 350.org, the world’s largest grassroots campaign to counter the effects of climate change. He was awarded the Gandhi Prize, the Thomas Merton Prize, and the Right Livelihood Prize, and has received honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. He lives in Vermont in the mountains above Lake Champlain.

Victoria Sweet
Tuesday, April 21, Noon
Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing

Victoria Sweet is associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco and a prize-winning historian with a Ph.D. in history and social medicine. For more than 20 years, she worked in San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital, a rehabilitation center providing skilled nursing and therapeutic services to underserved populations. Her interactions with patients taught her that health care works best when it is personal, face-to-face, and attentive to both the body and the soul. She has dubbed this practice “slow medicine.” Her latest book, Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing, explores her evolving understanding of medicine as both an art and a science, which is relational, personal, even spiritual.

Eddie Glaude, Jr.
Tuesday, May 12, Noon
James Baldwin’s Lessons on Race in America

Eddie Glaude, Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University and chair of the Department of African American Studies. He is the author of the award-winning books In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America and Democracy in Black: How Race Still Governs the Soul of America. His forthcoming book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, will be published in April 2020. He is a columnist for Time magazine and a regular contributor on MSNBC. He holds a B.S. in political science from Morehouse College, an M.A. in African American studies from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University.   

Congratulations to Dr. Amanda Weber Winner of the 2018 Julius Herford Dissertation Prize

Each year the Julius Herford Prize Subcommittee of the Research and Publications Committee accepts nominations for the outstanding doctoral terminal research project in choral music.

Projects are eligible if they comprise the principal research component of the degree requirements, whether the institution defines the project as a “dissertation,” “document,” “thesis,” or “treatise,” etc. Eligibility is limited to doctoral recipients whose degrees were confirmed during the calendar year prior to the year of nomination. The winner will receive $1,000 in cash and a plaque.

Congratulations to Dr. Amanda Weber Winner of the 2018 Julius Herford Dissertation Prize for Choral Singing and Communal Mindset: A Program Evaluation of the Voices of Hope Women’s Prison Choir (University of Minnesota)

Dr. Weber is Minister of Music and the Arts at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, and the founder and artistic director of Voices of Hope (women’s prison choir at the Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee, MN).  Prior to this she was adjunct professor at Concordia University (St. Paul, MN) and at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She has also been a speaker at the TEDx Minneapolis Salon (2016) and has contributed to “Hear My Voice: A Prison Prayerbook,” published by Augsburg Fortress (2019).  She received her D.M.A. in conducting from the University of Minnesota, where she worked under Prof. Kathy Saltzman Romey, Dr. Matthew Mehaffey, Dr. Kelley Harness, and Dr. Keitha Hamann. She holds an M.M. in choral conducting from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, and a B.A. in music and art from Luther College.

Westminster Member Chad Quaintance Lives His Faith

After a lifetime of service that has taken him from the civil rights cauldron of 1960s Selma to the Minneapolis school desegregation battles of the 1970s and ’80s, former lawyer Chad Quaintance has settled into a role that even he did not imagine. But this new chapter is part of a natural progression that suits his heart, his temperament and his faith.

Twice a week, 80-year-old Quaintance walks from his home in Minneapolis’ Lowry Hill neighborhood to work as a volunteer chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center. There, he comforts patients and their families who are dealing with life-or-death crucibles.

Learn more.

Westminster Launches Performing Arts Series in New Westminster Hall

Westminster launched a new Performing Arts Series featuring a unique array of music and dance, from Cuban jazz to South African gospel, Latin American early music to a holiday classic, contemporary choral to bluegrass.

“The Performing Arts Series extends Westminster’s telling presence in the city,” says Rev. Tim Hart-Andersen. “By celebrating artists and connecting them more closely with the community, the Series invites people to experience the beauty of the arts.”

All performances take place in Westminster Hall, named “Best New Music Venue” by the Star Tribune last year. “We are eager to explore how the flexible Westminster Hall can be configured to break the barrier between artist and audience,” says Amanda Weber, Minister of Music and the Arts, who is spearheading the series.


Nachito Herrera | October 11, 2019 | 7:30 pm
Pianist Nachito Herrera, one of the leading Cuban musicians of our time, kicks off the Series, with Cuban food accompanying his performance. As music director of both the famed Tropicana Club in Havana and the Grammy Award-winning Cubanismo, Nachito made his mark from an early age. He has played at many of the world’s finest concert halls and prestigious jazz festivals and has earned Emmy and Grammy awards plus City Pages’ Best Jazz Artist for four years.

29:11 | November 1, 2019 | 7:30 pm
The famous gospel ensemble from Capetown, South Africa, performing in Minneapolis on its iForgive tour, offers magnificent music of reconciliation and healing. This group of young vocalists and musicians is noted for providing “food for the soul” through their music ministry.

James Sewell Ballet: Amahl and the Night Visitors
December 13 | 7:30 pm | December 14 | 2 pm
The talented dance troupe brings the well-loved classic Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti to Westminster for two performances. Based on Italian folk tales of the Nativity and Epiphany, Amahl is a retelling of the story of the Magi from the point of view of a young boy who lives in poverty with his widowed mother near Bethlehem.

To learn more and purchase tickets, visit westminstermpls.wpas.

Westminster Joins Community Solar Garden

Westminster recently entered into a 25-year contract that requires Xcel to acquire electricity in an amount similar to what Westminster uses each year from a community solar garden run by ReneSola Power. A community solar garden contains solar panels that convert the sun’s rays into electrical energy. The advantage of a solar garden is that it allows the cost of solar panels to be distributed among the community of subscribers so they can be built less expensively than by individual subscribers on their own. Another advantage is the size of a solar garden.

Westminster’s city block is not large enough to provide all of Westminster’s electrical needs. In addition, portions of the block are shaded by neighboring buildings. Westminster consumes 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year. It takes an area of more than nine city blocks of solar panels to generate Westminster’s electrical needs. ReneSola Power’s solar garden is 20 acres in size and is located near St. Cloud. The area had been farmland, growing a monoculture of corn. The farmer still owns the land, but leases it to ReneSola Power, which planted the land around the solar panels with native habitat for pollinators.

By subscribing to a community solar garden, Westminster is supporting solar development in Minnesota. Westminster will pay a flat rate for its electricity over the next 25 years and will save an estimated $1 million over that time as fossil fuel based utility rates continue to rise.

Subscribing to a solar garden can be more difficult for individuals because the average homeowner moves every seven years. The most environmentally friendly kilowatt hour is the one you don’t use! Energy efficiency and smart energy use can make a big impact. Check out Xcel’s Windsource or Renewable Connect programs for clean energy options.

An unusual model of church ministry

Each Monday morning, workers at Westminster Presbyterian Church cover up the religious imagery inside a few Sunday school classrooms to create a more welcoming space for their weekday occupants — young children of diverse faiths receiving group therapy.

An entire section of this landmark church building in downtown Minneapolis now houses a child health and development facility. Walk the hallways and you’ll find children getting speech therapy, physical therapy, mental health assessments and participating in an autism treatment program for East African youngsters.

While many churches house or operate child care centers, this type of partnership between Westminster and St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development is rare. Westminster spent more than $2 million to construct a beautiful addition for a nonprofit tenant during a recent renovation, and the diverse staff at each facility say it has been a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“We’re involved in a lot of community work but we’ve never done that work on site,” said the Rev. Tim Hart-Andersen, senior pastor at Westminster. “There’s something about having a mission partner working alongside us that is a wonderful experience. You see the difference the church is making right on site.”

Read More.

Why so many Twin Cities clergy members bicycle religiously

For a growing number of Twin Cities clergy members, biking is part of the ministry. One is a Lutheran pastor who pedals a sleek, speedy, three-wheeled enclosed bike called a velomobile. Another is a bike-commuting Baptist minister who writes blog posts about how churches should encourage cycling. And then there’s the seminary student who thinks using his bike instead of a car makes him more likely to be a good Samaritan.

Read more.

Westminster Bells

The Paccard Bell Foundry, in Annecy, France, will forge a six-bell peal for Westminster. Westminster’s bells – the largest will weigh 9,000 lbs. – will be installed in the new “Rose Tower” in 2020.

Windows into Palestine: Looking Ahead

Friday, May 10, 6:30- 8 pm
Westminster Hall

A stimulating program, tasty desserts, and a beautiful space!

In May 2018, Westminster and other local churches and organizations presented a three-day festival celebrating elements of Palestinian music, art, film, cuisine, and sport. Windows Into Palestine expanded awareness and outreach beyond our walls and supported our partners at Christmas Church and Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem. We were privileged to hear from 20 Palestinian friends.

On May 10, we’ll gather again to look at our next steps. Join the Bethlehem Partnership Committee to:

  • Hear a message from Mitri Raheb and view new videos about WIP
  • Envision next steps to support our partnerships
  • Explore possibilities for future action locally and beyond

RSVPs appreciated to Vanessa Uzong


WIP Overview | WIP Events | WIP Interviews

The Body of Christ is Global

For many years, Westminster has maintained partnerships with faith communities and nonprofit organizations in Cameroon, Cuba and Palestine. Our partners inspire us as they continue to witness and serve in circumstances of scarcity and conflict.

In Cameroon our primary partners are the Kumba Town Presbyterian Church and AIDSCARE Link—which funds micro-loans to help persons living with HIV/AIDS build small businesses and become financially independent, and provides resources to individuals displaced in the wake of continuing violence. Through our relationship with the National Synod of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba, home-based churches are thriving, lay leaders are being trained and the hurricane damage to the national camp is nearing completion. Our partner congregation in Bethlehem, Christmas Evangelical Lutheran Church, hosted seminarian- Madeline Hart-Andersen- in January 2019 for an internship, and our travelers delivered suitcases of Christian education material.

Gifts to the annual Global Partnership offering support these relationships and travel scholarships for Westminster members to visit our partners. We will receive the offering on Sunday, May 19.

At the end of May Rev. Alanna Simone Tyler will join a group representing the PC(USA) to visit the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. The travelers will see firsthand the work of SSEPP (South Sudan Education and Peacebuilding Project) as well as the ministries of PCUSA mission co-workers and mission partners.