Some LGBT-inclusive churches are mixing glitter into Ash Wednesday ashes

A number of LGBT-inclusive churches in the US are making a statement by adding glitter to their Ash Wednesday mix.

A number of Christian denominations celebrate Ash Wednesday by daubing the blessed ashes of palm branches on the forehead, to symbolise the first day of Lent.

However, some liberal US churches are mixing in glitter with their ashes this year, as a statement of LGBT inclusivity in the predominantly-Catholic ceremony.

New York LGBT Christian group Parity is behind the push, which it says is “an inherently queer sign of Christian belief, blending symbols of mortality and hope, of penance and celebration”.

It adds: “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.

“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.”

Parity head Marian Edmonds-Allen said there have already been orders from churches in California, Missouri, Massachusetts, Alabama and Georgia.

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

“It is also a way for other people to be a witness to that and be in solidarity with them.”

However, not everyone is on board with the idea, which more observant denominations say dilutes the meaning of Ash Wednesday. The new tradition is certainty unlikely to catch on inside the Catholic Church any time soon.