On Wednesday, March 1st, Berry UMC offered glitter ashes to commuters at the Western CTA Brown Line station. This action was an intentional participation in a movement of other welcoming Chicago churches. Berry’s pastor, Rev. April Gutierrez, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as a proponent of the movement. The glitter ashes were met with surprise by some and gratitude from many, including one man who drove into the city from Elmhurst to receive the ashes.
Parity, a faith-based LGBTQ-oriented organization based in New York City, organizes the Glitter+Ash initiative. From their website: “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.” Read more about Glitter+Ash here.