The Vine will offer the Iowa State community ashes and glitter ashes in honor of Ash Wednesday


Courtesy of Parity

According to Hibben, purple glitter is used to represent the sparkle the queer community adds to the church.

Claire Hoppe

The Vine, an inclusive campus ministry at Iowa State, will be offering students, faculty and staff the opportunity to celebrate Ash Wednesday by bringing ashes and glitter ashes to campus.

“The importance of glitter ashes is that they represent, in a visible way, the inclusion of the LBGTQIA+ community in a Christian tradition when that community has a long history of being excluded from the church,” said Jen Hibben, the director of The Vine. “Because of that history and current experience of LGBTQIA+ Christians, it’s important to make it explicit and visible that everyone is welcome.”

Ash Wednesday, a holiday celebrated every spring, marks the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. The Lent season concludes with Easter Sunday.

“Oftentimes the focus of Lent is giving something up, but Ash Wednesday actually is an invitation to take stock of our lives and contemplate what we might do to better align ourselves with who we are and who God is,” Hibben said in a press release.

According to Hibben, the idea of offering glitter ashes originates from Parity, an inclusive Christian organization headquartered in New York City.

“The public face of Christianity is often a face of intolerance- especially toward LGBTQIA people,” Parity said on its website. “There are millions of Christians who believe that the gospel commands us to love, not hate. Glitter ashes are a witness to an inclusive Christian message.”

Hibben said that her goal by offering both ashes and glitter ashes is to make the church and Ash Wednesday more accessible to all people.

“By offering both types of ashes, we honor the church tradition and find a way to make it meaningful, faithful and relevant in our current context,” Hibben said.

Hibben and students from The Vine will be outside of Parks Library on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to answer questions and offer ashes to those who wish to receive them. The Vine will also be holding a student-centric interactive Ash Wednesday service at 8 p.m. in the Vine Student Center at 159 Sheldon Ave.

More information on The Vine can be found on their website and Instagram page.