Ashes for Valentines

~ mourning death / celebrating love ~

Ash heart

Ash Wednesday 2024 falls on Valentine’s Day. It only happens six times in this century! The first was in 1923, then in 1934, 1945, and 2018. It will happen once more in 2029.

On February 14, 2024, we may be wearing ashes on our foreheads while we buy flowers and candy for loved ones.

The stark mix of mourning death and celebrating love is something queer folks and allies know intimately and walk with daily.

Recognizing this paradoxical reality, we are launching “Ashes for Valentines.”

We would like to commemorate those who we mourn because of the loss of their life as LGBTQ+ folks and/or celebrate those who have endured.

You may recognize:

  • in memory of someone whose ashes came too soon because of a lack of acceptance and affirmation of who they are and/or
  • in honor of someone who has shaken the dust off their feet from those who do not celebrate their sacredness.

We pray these gifts allow for healing and peace to the giver and strength and renewal to our AWAB family.

in memory of

Logan Willis

“Their legacy and joy at Wake Div will not be forgotten” by Natalie Aho

Eric B

“who still inspires me to be better than David Brent. I miss you.” by Natalie Aho

Rodney Robertson

“Missing the one who lost his battle with AIDS in 1989” by MaryBeth Robertson

Skip Allen

by Aubin Petersen

Hazel West and Marion Marshall

“Hazel (a missionary) and her partner Marion (a teacher) were a generation older than my parents – loving one another in secret within American Baptist circles for decades – and offering me safety and support despite their worrying when I came out in the early 70s” by Cherry Johnson

in honor of

Andrew Hunt & Emily Hunt

“My amazing children” by Dave Hunt

Ari, Jazz, Zack, Georgia, John, Chloe & Maggie

“the fearless LGBTQ+ Wake Div students I had the fortune to work with” by Natalie Aho

Joel Dugan

“for his courage, persistence, compassion and humor in the face of all challenges” by Dennis Landon

Shella Chase

by Josie Zanfordino

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Ashes for Valentines
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When you give to “Ashes for Valentines,” we will use the funds specifically to:

  • Provide resources for LGBTQ+ leaders and church members related to Church trauma, reconciliation, healing, wellness, and positive mental health,
  • Offer support to families and individuals experiencing difficulties reconciling their sexual orientation and gender identity, and
  • Share stories from individuals and congregations about how they have navigated their Welcoming and Affirming journey.

Following our campaign, we will include these gifts in an annual report with our donors and member congregations and on our website. Ultimately, this is a way to proclaim God’s love for all proudly.

While we’ve made much progress this century since the first Valentine’s Ash Wednesday in 1923, what do we hope will be accomplished by 2029 when it comes around again? We at AWAB believe a fully Welcoming and Affirming world is necessary – and possible.

May this fund help us work with congregations, ministers, and leaders to know we do not do this work alone.