In addition to being Valentine’s Day, yesterday was also Ash Wednesday, a day when many Christians have char applied to their foreheads by priests as a symbol of life’s transitory nature. It’s the start of Lent, a 40-day period of prayer and reflection.
This Ash Wednesday, though, more than 200 churches added glitter to the ash to show support for the LGBT community.
“The outside world has gotten this view of Christianity that Christ is against the LGBT community,” Rev. Vance Haywood Jr. of St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, told the News-Observer. “[But] they are one—When Christ died, he died for all people, not just for some.”
Now in its second year, the Glitter+Ash movement was started by Parity, a faith-based organization based in New York. Its mission is twofold—to support LGBT pastors as they accept their calling, and to help young queer people of faith and their allies to integrate their spiritual, gender, and sexual identities.
Karen Ware Jackson, pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, liked the idea of adding glitter to ash, stating the sparkle is irrepressible, like the love of God.
“I’m really connected to ashes,” she told the News Observer. “But I’m really connected to glitter, too, and I think it’s appropriate to do both.”