David Bailey Sindt
David Bailey Sindt
|Born||December 8th, 1940|
|Died||December 3rd, 1986|
|Citizenship||United States of America|
|Education||Bachelor of Science in Horticulture|
|Alma mater||Iowa State University|
David Bailey Sindt (December 8th, 1940- December 3rd, 1986) was a Reverend, Social Worker, and activist for LGBTQIA+ rights within the presbyterian church and the Chicago foster care system. Sindt founded Presbyterians for Lesbians and Gay Concerns, now known as More Light Presbyterians, a non-profit organization that serves to include and empower LGBTQIA+ members of the presbyterian church congregation and resist discriminatory legislation.
David Bailey Sindt was born on December 8th, 1940, in Minnesota around the Twin Cities. Sindt’s early life was centred around his love for botany, particularly creating crosses of Iris plants. Sindt was also involved in the presbyterian church from a young age, as his uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather all were presbyterian ministers, as well as his aunt being a presbyterian missionary abroad. During his years in Minnesota, Sindt attended Westminster and Knox Presbyterian Churches in the Twin Cities area, as well as North Presbyterian Church in North St. Paul.
Sindt’s passion for botany led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture at Iowa State University. After his graduation in 1962, Sindt became known around the world for his talents as a top commercial hybridizer and grower. Sindt then completed a Masters in Divinity in 1966 at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, as well as studying at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City during the summer of 1965. After a few years serving as the assistant pastor of two churches in Chicago, in 1969, Sindt began graduate school at the University of Michigan, obtaining a Masters of Social Work in 1971.
Ministry and Advocacy within the Presbyterian Church
Sindt served as the assistant pastor at Erie Chapel Presbyterian Church of Chicago and was ordained by the Presbytery of St. Paul on November 28, 1965. Following his first position in the church, from 1968 to 1969, Sindt served as the assistant pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. After obtaining his Master's in Social Work and starting his career with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Sindt began attending Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church and was troubled with the church’s relationship and lack of ministry with the gay and lesbian community. In 1972, the Lincoln Park Church’s session issued a call for him to serve as a part-time assistant pastor, focused on creating a ministry within the gay community, which is believed to be the first call from the Presbyterian Church ever given to an openly gay man . A year later, the Presbytery of Chicago's Ministerial Relations Committee blocked this call.
In 1974, Sindt founded the Presbyterian Gay Caucus, later to become the Presbyterians for Lesbian/Gay Concerns (PLGC), and currently known as More Light Presbyterians. At the Caucus’s first general assembly, Sindt held up a sign that said, “Is anyone else out there gay?” . Sindt served as the national coordinator of PLGC for over 5 years, also taking up various organizational and leadership roles within the organization. In 1990, In response to the block on Sindt’s nomination to the Session of the Lincoln Park Church, The congregation created a position paper on ordination and initiated an overture to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, with the purpose of reversing the denomination's policy on ordination of homosexuals. This venture was blocked by the Presbytery of Chicago in 1981. Later that year, Lincoln Park Church’s Session voted to identify the church as a More Light Church, designated as a place that willingly welcomed gay and lesbian Christians to full congregational membership, and strove to work as an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights within and outside of the church community.
Career and Activism in Social Work
After completing his Master's in Social Work, Sindt started working in Chicago for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in 1970. It was at this time that Sindt began to openly identify as a gay man and started volunteering with the Chicago Gay Alliance, an early gay rights organization. Sindt’s activism within the organization lead to him testifying at the Chicago City Council committee hearings on the proposed ordinance to prohibit sexual-orientation discrimination.
Throughout his work at DCFS, Sindt worked to match queer children with queer foster parents to provide them with a supportive home and avoid the effects of abuse and foster home cycling - which were common experiences for openly gay children in the foster care system. Sindt licensed many queer foster families, some of whom were gay men and lesbian women married to each other.. Sindt advocated for the importance of having homosexuals in the social work profession to increase trust between social workers and queer clients and urged gay social workers to make their professional services available through trusted gay organizations within the queer network. In 1972, Sindt helped organize the National Council on Social Welfare Task Force on Homosexuality and the Gay Community and organized the Chicago Gay Social Work Task Force. In 1974, Sindt attended the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sindt worked with DCFS continuously throughout his life and eventually held the position of Supervisor of Foster Homes Licensing.
In September 1985, Sindt was diagnosed with AIDS-Related Complex, and that December with AIDS. Sindt died at home due to AIDS-related complications on December 3rd, 1986, at the age of 46  . Sindt’s story and work was included on a quilt panel, made for Sindt by Barry Smith, in the Names Project Quilt Display AIDS memorial presented at Navy Pier in 1988 .
- "David Sindt". LGBTQ Religious Archives Network. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
- "Our Story". More Light Presbyterians. 2016-05-15. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
- "Guide to the David Sindt Papers | Presbyterian Historical Society". www.history.pcusa.org. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
- "DAVID B. SINDT – Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2021-10-27.
- Nast, Condé (2021-02-28). "The Untold Story of Queer Foster Families". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
- Sindt, David B. (1972). "HOMOSEXUALS". Social Work. 17 (3): 134–135. ISSN 0037-8046.
- michiganlgbtqremember, Author (2020-08-16). "David Sindt". Michigan LGBTQ Remember. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
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- "Aids Name Project quilt". Pearl Digital Collections. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
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