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LGBT-inclusive churches in the US add glitter to Ash Wednesday ceremonies

mjtmail via Flickr.

In a controversial move, a number of US churches are using glitter to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Ash Wednesday precedes Lent, and is usually marked by the colour purple. Plain grey ashes are smeared on the foreheads of Christians in a symbol of repentance.

However, New York-based group Parity asked “queer positive Christians” to show their allegiance to the LGBTQ+ community by wearing “glitter ash” on their foreheads.

The group said this is “an inherently queer sign of Christian belief, blending symbols of mortality and hope, of penance and celebration.

“Offering glitter ashes will present an opportunity to breathe fresh life into your liturgy, recapture the surprise in the Christian message, and draw new people into your worship.”

Parity send glitter ashes free of charge to any Church or group that requests it. They have received orders from California, Missouri, and Massachusetts. Pro-LGBTQ+ Churches stress that regular ashes will also be available.

Edmonds Allen, Parity’s executive director, said: “It is a recognition of the reality of queer Christians in the world and the beauty LGBTQ Christians bring to faith.

“This is a way for queer Christians and queer-positive persons of faith to say ‘We are here’.”

However, the move has faced opposition, with more diligent denominations suggesting it dilutes the ceremony’s religious significance and puts politics over faith.

Words Liam Taft

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