Presbyterian Pride: David Sindt, Minnesota, and LGBTQ+ Inclusion
On Thursday, June 22 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis MN, PHS board member and public historian Tim Hoogland gave an hour-long presentation on the life and legacy of the Rev. David Sindt.
Sindt, who grew up in the Twin Cities and came out as an openly gay pastor in the early 1970s, is remembered today as a groundbreaking figure in the struggle for full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ Presbyterians. During the 1974 United Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly in Louisville, Sindt held up a sign reading, “Is Anyone Else Out There Gay?”—a “ministry of presence” that Hoogland highlighted in his presentation.
Hoogland relied heavily on PHS records to tell Sindt’s story. Through denominational records as well as items collected through the Pam Byers Memorial Collecting Initiative, he shared Sindt’s journey and summarized the church debate during the 1980s, 1990s and the first decades of the 21st century related to inclusion.
He also played a recording available through Pearl Digital Collections—a 1972 sermon where Sindt tells worshippers at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago about plans for direct ministry support to the local gay community. The original recording was added to PHS’s collections in 2019 after Lincoln Park provided it and other Sindt-related materials.
Before the presentation, the Westminster audience heard introductory remarks from Westminster’s Senior Pastor the Rev. Dr. Tim Hart-Andersen, PHS Executive Director Nancy J. Taylor, and Synod Executive and Co-Moderator of the 224th General Assembly Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart.
“History is our collective memory,” Street-Stewart said. “It is an exploration of how some see the world and how the world sees them...We must see ourselves not only as we are today, but we must see ourselves through time, shaped by relationships and cultural norms that preceded us.
“History always calls us to go back to retrieve the lessons of the past. Because truth exists beyond our present time.”
Following the presentation, Taylor led a panel discussion with Terry McEowen, Rev. Lisa Larges, and Peh Ng who reflected on Sindt’s story and connected it to the struggles faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities in 2023.
In closing the event, Taylor said, “I’m so proud that PHS is able to highlight this history. We want to tell these stories. And we depend on all of you to help us tell these stories.”
The Presbyterian Historical Society is grateful for the efforts of PHS Board Member Tim Hoogland, Westminster Presbyterian Church Pastor Tim Hart-Andersen, and the Westminster Presbyterian Church community for welcoming PHS staff members, and for gathering to remember a groundbreaking Presbyterian’s history.