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Colourful shades of grey
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Colourful shades of grey

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
The process of ageing has severe consequences for many European (mainline) churches, including... mehr
Colourful shades of grey
The process of ageing has severe consequences for many European (mainline) churches, including diaconal work with, by and for senior citizens. In this article the author describes how diaconal agents within the Protestant Church in the Netherlands are responding to challenges of ageing in current local and national diaconal policy. Historically, the diaconate in the Netherlands was involved with senior citizens due to its function of poor relief and the establishment of senior rest homes. This societal function of the diaconate ended with the establishment of the twentieth century welfare state. Ageing intensifies the need to reflect on the role(s) of the diaconate regarding senior citizens, not least because of the severe ageing of churches themselves. An analysis of diaconal policy examples at local and national levels indicates a growing awareness of the need to reinvent the diaconal function of the church regarding senior citizens. In order to clarify this development theologically, the author underscores the importance of the concept of the ‘diaconal vocation of the congregation’, as it derives from the church order of the Protestant Church.