Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018
We wish to thank the brilliant and prophetic Reverend Elizabeth Edman for her inspired contributions to the content on this page and for the idea of Glitter Ash Wednesday! Learn more about Liz, and be sure to see her fabulous new Queer Virtue Study Guide!
WE WILL BE SEEN
Glitter is like love. It’s irresistible and irrepressible.
WE WILL TELL THE TRUTH
Ashes are a statement that death and suffering are real.
Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair.
Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work.
Glitter never gives up -- and neither do we.
What is Glitter+Ash Wednesday?
- Ash Wednesday is a day when Christians receive the mark of the cross on their foreheads to begin the 40 days of reflection and repentance in preparation for Easter.
- Glitter Ashes lets the world know that we are progressive, queer-positive Christians. We are in the pews, in the pulpits and giving glitter ashes in the street to those who either may not have time to go to a church—or may have been rejected by a church.
Why are you doing this?
- The public face of Christianity is often a face of intolerance -- especially toward LGBTQ people. There are millions of Christians who believe that the Gospel commands us to love, not hate. Glitter ashes are a witness to an inclusive Christian message.
- It is commonly believed that the God of Christianity condemns LGBTQ people. This is Christian “fake news” not the Good News of Jesus.
- Christian condemnation is toxic, doing vast damage to queer people, especially to queer youth—and to their families who are told they should reject their children.
- By becoming visible, we show our faith in God who empowers us and wants us to repent of hurting each other. We want people to see how important our faith is to us,
How many churches are doing this?
- In 2017 over 200 churches and faith groups in 3 countries and 29 states participated, though the reach was far beyond that, with international media reports that reach 200 million readers and viewers. Glitter Ashes was named by several media outlets as “a new movement” and was called “the most talked about event of 2017 Lent.”
- Glitter Ash Wednesday isn't be confined just to churches. There are Glitter Ash Wednesday services in public parks and in homes, on sidewalks, at subway stations, coffee shops and even in bars.
If someone wants to get glitter ashes, where do they go?
- People can encourage their clergy and congregation to participate
- Individuals can also get together with friends, make the ashes and hold a service
- Email us with the details of your event so that we can share, or with questions for where to find Glitter Ashes!
Why Now? Why Glitter?
THE NEED FOR PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIAN WITNESS HAS NEVER BEEN MORE URGENT.
Glitter is an inextricable element of queer history. It is how we have displayed our gritty, scandalous hope. We make ourselves fabulously conspicuous, giving offense to the arbiters of respectability that allow coercive power to flourish.
Glitter+Ash is an inherently queer sign of Christian belief, blending symbols of mortality and hope, of penance and celebration. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a season of repentance. During Lent, Christians look inward and take account in order to move forward with greater health. At this moment in history, glitter ashes will be a powerful reminder of St. Augustine’s teaching that we cannot despair because despair paralyzes, thwarting repentance and impeding the change that we are called to make.
Glitter+Ash exquisitely captures the relationship between death and new life. We do not live in fear of ash - of death - we place it on our foreheads for the world to see. We know that fear will rise, cramping our hearts. We also know that God specifically calls us not to project that fear onto the Other, the alien, the stranger in our midst. God insists that we look for the spark of life, of hope, in ourselves and one another. This Ash Wednesday, we will make that spark easier to see. We will stand witness to the gritty, glittery, scandalous hope that exists in the very marrow of our tradition.
How Do I Get Involved?
COMMIT TO BEING PART OF THE ACTION
Plan to get ashes early on Ash Wednesday and wear them throughout the day.
If you belong to a church, contact your priest or pastor to see if they are holding an Ash Wednesday service or an “Ashes To Go” event in a nearby public space. Ask if they will be offering glitter ashes (and direct them here if they have no idea what that is!). If they are participating, GO, and bring friends!
CHOOSE A LENTEN ACTION
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the season of Lent. Because Glitter+Ash is all about stepping up, instead of "giving something up" for Lent we are suggesting that people commit to a Lenten Action: a specific action, chosen by you, to promote resurrection. We will each pledge to put energy into a cause that promotes life and health in the face of death-dealing forces in our world.
SPREAD THE WORD ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Make a short video to let people know that you are getting Glitter+Ash. Tell us what your Lenten Action will be, and challenge some friends to do the same! Be sure to use the hashtag #GlitterAshWednesday. You can see a sample video here.
How do I organize a Glitter+Ash site?
For Clergy and Churches
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. There are many options for how you might do this:
- Offer a designated “Glitter+Ash” service on Ash Wednesday
- Have a designated station for glitter ashes at one of your regular Ash Wednesday services
If you don’t belong to a church or can’t find one that is offering ashes, you can organize your own Glitter+Ash event. Offering ashes is a simple act of penitence and worship that can be done by anyone -- you don’t need to be ordained. You will need:
- Ashes that have been blessed, with Glitter. Here's how to make your own.
- A public place to offer glitter ashes, and a way to publicize it. We recommend joining forces with at least one or two other people to offer the ashes. Offering Glitter Ashes in public places is especially powerful and unexpected. You will have amazing experiences - tears, laughter, maybe even someone who wants to argue (read this page carefully and make notes so you are prepared!). You are sharing a powerful witness of love, but like Jesus Himself, powerful messages of love can make some people uncomfortable.
- Remember YOU are loved, and blessed to be a blessing!