Growing Grey and Growing Green: Re-narrating Ageing in Baptist Churches in the Netherlands

Main Article Content

Wout Huizing Hans Riphagen


In 2016, the Baptist Union initiated a project on the ageing of (and ageing in) Baptist churches in the Netherlands. Its aim was to reflect — through a series of dialogical interventions in four ‘ageing’ congregations — on the consequences of growing grey, especially in light of dominant cultural narratives that tend to relate ageing to loss and decay. This article discusses in retrospect the findings and gains of the project. It shows that although cultural narratives have deeply shaped ecclesial life, there are other perspectives to be found in the everyday wisdom and ordinary theology of church members. It is argued that the project empowered the churches to find alternative readings on ageing, thus finding new perspectives in which to live. Thus, the intervention helped to re-narrate the narrative of ageing and the ageing church.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Wout Huizing

Dr Wout Huizing was a teacher of spirituality and pastoral care at the Dutch Baptist Seminary from 2006 to 2021, and trainer of spiritual caregivers in elderly care.

Hans Riphagen

Dr Hans Riphagen is rector of the Dutch Baptist Seminary, Amsterdam and lecturer and researcher in the field of Practical Theology with a focus on ecclesial practices.