The Seven Week Set­up Phase is an integral part of the Town Meeting program. This manual is a compilation of tested methods designed to motivate people and to work at the task comprehensively, while allowing creativity to manifest itself. These methods may seem different from those used by other groups, but they have proven successful in setting up over 500 other Town Meetings.


A key factor in the method is flexible teamwork. Rather than each team assigned to specific tasks for the duration of the set­up phase, all teams will be available to do any of the tasks at any time during the seven weeks. This provides a built in capacity to deal with new factors as they emerge in

the weekly meeting,


At each meeting the group comes to terms with the actual, present status of the task of setting up the Town Meeting. People do or do not get jobs done, for a variety of reasons) It usually isn't helpful to ask why or why not. Helpful questions are those which take the present situation, whatever it is, and ask about the future in terms of how, when, and by whom!


The methods in the handbook are basically the same as those of the Town Meeting. First, issues and challenges are identified, and then proposals are created to deal with them. The celebrational aspect is found in the midst of every meeting There are short readings, conversations on specific subjects, and, probably most important, singing.

Many people around the world are holding Town Meetings under different names and in different languages, building a new future for their communities. They are all using these same methods and formats which provide an opportunity for clear evaluation in the future.


The common format for each weekly meeting is carefully designed to allow for effective planning and action. Each part of the agenda plays an important role in providing for a motivating and enriching experience. Following are suggestions to enable imaginative leadership.


The reading allows the group to experience basic human community beneath the activity of Town ­ ­ Meeting. Invite them to relax and just listen. Read the selection. You might ask, 'What words or phrases stick in your mind?' or 'What picture came to mind7' Other times you may just let the reading stand alone.


Conversations on selected topics related to the successful set­up of Town Meeting will enable a sense of unity in the group and a depth reflection on the common task.

1. Before leading the conversation, read it over and put the introduction into your own words.

2. Allow time for people to respond. Silence does not necessarily indicate that people are not thinking. It is sometimes helpful to ask the same question in different ways.

3. Allow for stories to come from a few people. The entire conversation should not last for more than 10 minutes.


The experience of singing transforms a collection of individuals into a body of people who sense their power in a new way. Many of us are afraid to sing outside of the shower, so help it be fun

I. Sing a song 2 or 3 times in order to become familiar with it.

2. Sing a variety of songs, not just favorites.

3. Ask small groups to sing particular songs .

4. Have women sing one verse, men another, youth another, elders another, elc.

5. At times ask questions about the song after singing: for example, 'Which line in the song stands out for you7 or 'What images came to mind while you were singing7


The workshop is designed to elicit the wisdom of individuals in the group and to pull that together in building a common plan. Becoming familiar with the flow of questions and the necessary materials ahead of time will enable the coordinator to know where he is leading the group and will result in the creation of clear and effective plans.

. .

Brainstorming is the activity which collects the raw data. You may want to ask questions two or three different way to draw a full response. Let all responses be heard and recorded before the group. Avoid discussion and argument until after all the ideas are out. Then select the best ideas and create the specific plans, assigning every task and every person to a task force for implementation.


A suggested list is printed for each week. Add tasks as needed. Answer the questions of what, who, where and when in relation to each task, or it will not happen.


Read the quote by phrases, having the group repeat it after you. This allows for reflection on the meaning of the task and a sense of unity as people leave to do their tasks.



This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

-George Bernard Shaw

"Man and superman,'



You've known people who seem to go through life pulling off one great happening after another-some of us call them winners.

-Who do you think of when you talk about a winner7

-What qualities make a person a winner?

-When have you experienced yourself as really pulling off something great?

-When have you felt that you had lost and later found out that you had lost the battle' but 'won the war'?


In singing, we are a nation of listeners rather than participants. You may enjoy singing, but are not good at it, thus are reluctant to sing in a group. It is not the quality of the voice that is important but it is the power of people singing together.

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND is a song that is easy to sing because it is a simple melody and is a good song. Let's sing it!


Town Meeting planning will focus on various elements and groupings in the community discovering what is required for broad support.

Refer to Appendix page 2 Attendance Tracking Chart. BUILD A


-Complete chart according to instructions.

-After completing chart, build the story.

-Looking ahead community?

what are your hopes and dreams for our

-What have been some of the issues we've faced over the past five years?

-What are the present issues?-What have been the blocks to dealing with these issues?

-If we are going to get 200 people together, what's the purpose? (Get a good list on board.)

-Condense list to 5­6 overall images and title them. This becomes a chart that can be used on the wall at every meeting to remind people what they are doing.

-What role would Town Meeting play in this?