US: Some churches add glitter to the gray on Ash Wednesday to show unity with LGBT community

A smudge of char in the shape of a cross on the forehead on Ash Wednesday is a reminder for Christians of two human themes that unite them: Everybody sins and everybody dies. As they enter the season of Lent, some believers are sprinkling glitter into their ashes to signify that everybody’s equal in God’s eyes, too, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“The outside world has gotten this view of Christianity that Christ is against the LGBT community,” said the Rev. Vance Haywood Jr., senior pastor of St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church in Raleigh, which is joining the Glitter+Ash Wednesday movement this year. Combining the symbol of the cross, representing the church, with glitter, representing the LGBT community, is an acknowledgment that the two can do more than simply co-exist, Haywood said. Glitter+Ash Wednesday was launched by Parity, a New York-based group that supports LGBT pastors and encourages LGBT young people to integrate their spiritual, gender and sexual identities.  Read more via News and Observer