The Aging Church: An Ecclesiological Construction Based on the Theology of Aging




Aging Church, Theology of Aging, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Pandemic


This article proposes the concept of an aging church as an ecclesiological construction that is based on the theology of aging. It begins with a concern about the tendency of the church to measure its “success” through its productivity, hence forgetting to reflect upon its dependence on God. Using lit­er­ature analysis and constructive methods, this article combines the aging theology from Autumn Ridenour, Kevin Barnard, and several other theologians with the ecclesiology of John Zizioulas and Michael Jinkins. Analysis of aging theology and ecclesiology are used as the basis for constructing the “aging church”. The thesis of this article is that the church that is aware of its aging also realizes its relational identity in God which can be lived through appreciation of its passive agency in balance with its active agency, as it should be in an aging individual person. The aging church does not specifically refer to the age of the church, but to the relationship with God which invites the church to embrace the past through re­pen­tance, realize its relational identity in the present, and renew itself with an eschatological orientation toward the future. Finally, eschatological hope in the passive role of the church of this kind helps the church to see its movements during a pandemic, even a post-pandemic stage so that they are not trapped in non-essential productivity.


Download data is not yet available.


Adiprasetya, Joas. Gereja Pascapandemi Merengkuh Kerapuhan. Jakarta: BPK Gunung Mulia, 2021.

Aronson, Louise. Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.

Barnard, Kevin. “Ageist Theology: Some Pickwickian Prolegomena.” Dalam Ageing, Spirituality, and Well-Being, diedit oleh Albert Jewell, 180–196. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004.

Bauman, Christy Angelle. Theology of the Womb: Knowing God through the Body of a Woman. Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2019.

Cawley, Luke. “Orienting Ourselves to the New Reality.” Dalam Healthy Faith and the Coronavirus Crisis, diedit oleh Kristi Mair dan Luke Cawley, bab 1. London: Inter-Varsity Press, 2020.

Cross, Katie, Clare Louise Radford, dan Karen O’Donnell. “Fragments from within the Pandemic: Theological Experiments in Silence, Speech, and Dislocated Time.” Practical Theology 1, no. 1 (2021): 1–16. DOI:

Daly, Todd T.W. Chasing Methuselah. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2021.

Gregersen, Niels Henrik. “Deep Incarnation: Why Evolutionary Continuity Matters in Christology.” Toronto Journal of Theology 26, no. 2 (2010): 173–188. DOI:

Jinkins, Michael. The Church Faces Death: Ecclesiology in a Post-Modern Context. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Lamb, Winifred Wing Han, and Heather Thomson. “‘Wholeness, Dignity and the Ageing Self’: A Conversation between Philosophy and Theology.” Aging, Spirituality, and Pastoral Care: A Multi-National Perspective 12 (2002): 57–76. DOI:

McCaffery, Brian. “Needing to Make Room for Change: A Theology of Aging and Life.” Journal of Religious Gerontology 15, no. 1 (2003): 39–54. DOI:

McNamara, Laura. “Ethics, Ageing and Disability.” Dalam Ageing, Disability and Spirituality: Addressing the Chal¬lenge of Dis¬ability in Later Life. Diedit oleh Elizabeth MacKinlay, 36–44. Lon¬don: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008.

O’Brien, John. “Ecclesiology as Narrative.” Ecclesiology 4, no. 2 (2008): 148–165. DOI:

Pickard, Stephen. “This Mortal Life: Ageing and Spirituality after the Great Transition.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging 33, no. 2 (2021): 101–111. DOI:

Powell, Kara, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin. Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016.

Ridenour, Autumn Alcott. “‘Elderhood’ and Sabbath Rest as Vocation: Identity, Purpose, & Belonging.” Journal of Population Ageing (2021): 1–14. DOI:

Ridenour, Autumn Alcott. Sabbath Rest as Vocation: Aging toward Death. New York: T&T Clark, 2018. DOI:

Ridenour, Autumn Alcott. “The Coming of Age: Curse or Calling? Toward a Christological Interpretation of Aging as Call in the Theology of Karl Barth and W. H. Vanstone.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 33, no. 2 (2013): 151–167. DOI:

Simmons, Ernest L. “Aging and the Cross: Explorations in Deep Incarnation.” Dialog 58, no. 4 (2019): 252–259. DOI:

Sponheim, Paul R. “Living toward the End.” Dialog 58, no. 4 (2019): 294–300. DOI:

Streed, Stephen. “The Jacob Factor: Aging and Spirituality.” Dialog 58, no. 4 (2019): 286–293. DOI:

Woodward, James. “The Spirituality of Older People: A Narrative Approach.” Practical Theology 4, no. 1 (2011): 83–95. DOI:

Zizioulas, John D. Being as Communion. Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1985.



How to Cite

Alvonciani, Eunike. “The Aging Church: An Ecclesiological Construction Based on the Theology of Aging”. Veritas: Jurnal Teologi dan Pelayanan 21, no. 2 (December 31, 2022): 299–315. Accessed June 19, 2024.



Special Themes: (Re)Imagining the Church in a Postpandemic Era