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Thu Mar 2, 2017, 12:30 PM

On Ash Wednesday, ashes to go with a little extra sparkle for LGBT Christians

Braddock Road is my closest Metro stop. I saw a sign offering "ashes to go" at the Ballston Metro stop yesterday afternoon.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes to go — with a little extra sparkle for LGBT Christians

By Julie Zauzmer

March 1 at 12:39 PM

Smearing her thumb across 6-year-old Genevieve Dalton’s forehead, the Rev. Robin Anderson repeated the solemn words of Ash Wednesday: “From dust you came. To dust you shall return.” ... Then Genevieve whirled away from the pastor, her forehead twinkling. “I really like glitter,” she proclaimed.

Genevieve, like thousands of other Christians nationwide, got her ashes on this Ash Wednesday with a side of sparkles. The Glitter Ash project, created by New York nonprofit Parity, encouraged clergy to mix glitter into the ashes this year, to represent the inclusion of LGBT people in Christian life.

“People are responding with such joy that they can show their faith and show that they are LGBT,” said the Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, executive director of Parity. “LGBT people are people of faith, too. … On the day, Ash Wednesday, when Christians are publicly Christian, we are going to be publicly queer.” ... They encouraged heterosexual supporters of LGBT inclusion to wear the glitter ashes, too.

[Seriously, I am giving up Donald Trump for Lent. Here’s how.]

Glitter in the ashes, Anderson wrote on a whiteboard, is “a symbol of the gritty, glittery, scandalous hope that exists within all of us.” She propped the board up in front of the Braddock Road Metro station entrance, and offered sparkly ash to a stream of morning commuters. ... In Alexandria, Va., most of the people who stopped at Anderson’s “ashes to go” station outside the Metro entrance were looking only for ashes, not glitter. “I won’t have time to go to Mass today,” quite a few of them muttered. .... In Alexandria, Anderson said the project appealed to her church as soon as they heard about it. Commonwealth Baptist Church’s first statement on its website is, “All are welcome, no exceptions,” and it is affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists in large part because that small denomination is affirming of LGBT Christians.

Julie Zauzmer is a religion reporter. Follow @JulieZauzmer

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