Why I Give: Barry Smith | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Why I Give: Barry Smith

February 22, 2022

--by Barry Smith

I'm the historian at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago, and our archives have held the David Sindt Papers since 1987. At the 1974 General Assembly, David held up a sign asking: "Is Anyone Else Out There Gay?" This led to the formation of the Presbyterian Gay Caucus which continues today as More Light Presbyterians.

The David Sindt papers contain unique documentation of the early years of this movement, and, in 2015, I began to think that these materials should be moved to a facility with archival capabilities so that they could be safely preserved and available for future researchers. David had often been treated harshly by many individuals and judicatories in the church during his lifetime, but he and his justice work were so quintessentially Presbyterian that I felt these materials should be housed within some Presbyterian-related institution.

Click on the video to hear about the first time I met David Sindt. 

Thus, I started my investigation into the Presbyterian Historical Society. I was impressed by its archiving procedures and the staff's desire to expand their holdings regarding the More Light Movement. Upon my recommendation, the Session of Lincoln Park Church voted to move the collection to PHS, and in 2019, I personally delivered the papers to Philadelphia where they became part of the Pam Byers Memorial Collection.

During my visit to PHS, I got a full tour of the facility and was even more impressed. Beyond all the official documents of our denomination, there are many other collections from individuals, organizations and movements, all with varied stories to inform and inspire us now as well as the generations to come. When I returned home, I made a gift to PHS, and have continued that practice every year since. Presbyterians have a long and rich heritage...yes, often filled with struggle, in order to create a better church and world. I'm glad to support PHS in keeping our heritage alive.

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