Fifth-year of visibly queer, visibly Christian witness and protest
NEW YORK — Christian communities throughout the United States, Canada, and the UK are again preparing to participate in Glitter+Ash Wednesday on March 2, 2022, organizers announced today. One focus of this year’s commemoration will be a hybrid in-person/online Ash Wednesday service taking place at St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn, NY. The service will begin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. All are welcome.
“Glitter+Ash is a spiritual protest movement. By entering deeply into the ancient Christian liturgy of Ash Wednesday and queering it, we promote the visibility of a progressive, queer-positive Christianity and the radical welcome of the God we worship,” said the Rev. Christian Scharen, pastor of St. Lydia’s. “You are very welcome on March 2 as we commit ourselves to repentance, accountability, and justice.”
Conceived by two members of St. Lydia’s Dinner Church in 2017, Glitter+Ash became a global phenomenon when Parity stepped in as an organizational partner. Since then, Parity has sustained the movement by providing crucial support to congregations that have continued the tradition.
Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, Executive Director of Parity, said, “When we launched Glitter+Ash five years ago, we had no idea the response we would get. But to this day, every year we hear moving stories from across the United States, Canada, and the UK of communities that have held Glitter+Ash services, sometimes at cost. Parity is pleased to continue to support and encourage communities in their courageous witness. We are especially pleased this year to be able to direct people to St. Lydia’s, where Glitter+Ash was in a sense born.”
Rev. Liz Edman, author of Queer Virtue and one of the co-founders of Glitter+Ash, said, “In the five years since Glitter+Ash was launched, we have endured a global pandemic, rising Christian nationalism, and a broad awakening to racial injustice. Though we did not anticipate all that has happened, Glitter+Ash was from its inception a Christian witness designed to speak to the steep challenges of contemporary life.” Recalling the original statement of purpose for Glitter+Ash in 2017, she said, “Ashes are an in-your-face statement that death and suffering are real. The glitter will be a sign of our hope, which does not despair. Glitter will signal our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work. Glitter never gives up — and neither do we.”
Edman will be the preacher at St. Lydia’s Glitter+Ash service on March 2. The service will launch a Lenten series exploring the contours of difference and belonging, drawing from the Book of Ruth. Poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama will preach on the first Sunday of Lent, March 6, to kick off the series. Through bible study, discussion, and congregational preaching, Lydians will challenge oft-claimed progressive Christian offers of LGBTQ affirmation by pressing the question, “but are we safe people to eat with?” “Our hope is to encounter new ways to perceive our Christian call, revitalizing both our witness and our work,” said Rev. Scharen. “St. Lydia’s has long been a destination for Christians who want to immerse themselves in innovative liturgy and work for social justice. In line with our mission, we will compile what we learn about being a queer church and offer our gleanings as a resource to others.”
About Parity: Parity works to heal LGBT and faith divides. Preachers, healers, activists, nurturers, teachers, and advocates representing a wide diversity of belief and nonbelief – both LGBTQ+ and allies – work together through Parity programs, projects, and the witness of our lives. For more info, go to parity.nyc.
About St. Lydia’s: St. Lydia’s is a church where life is lived out around the table. A progressive, LGBTQ-affirming congregation in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, we are working together to dispel isolation, reconnect neighbors, and subvert the status quo.
About Liz Edman and Queer Virtue: Liz Edman is an Episcopal priest, political strategist, and queer theologian. Her book, Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press) argues that “Authentic Christianity is and must be queer.” The book explores queer and Christian ethics, observing that these two ethical paths are nearly identical, and encouraging Christians to understand the ethics of their tradition better by looking to queer experience as a model.
For more information about the theology and purpose of Glitter+Ash Wednesday, go to http://www.queervirtue.com/glitter-ash-wednesday
Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen
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