[Episcopal News Service] Peter Ng, a longtime Episcopal lay leader in churchwide ministries who was most known for his work relating to Asia and the Pacific, died Dec. 10 from cancer. He was 74.
Ng was born in China and raised in Hong Kong. He moved to the United States in 1969 and worked for The Episcopal Church from 1989 until his retirement in 2017. Ng’s work spanned churchwide, diocesan and local church organizations, councils and networks, and for the last 12 years of his career, he served under Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry as global partnership officer for Asia and the Pacific.
“I have been enriched by the opportunity to witness the church from a perspective that few are given, and I am proud to have been a member of the staff of the presiding bishop,” Ng said in a 2016 church news release announcing his retirement plans.
Ng’s long list of past roles with the church includes Executive Council member from 1992-1997, president of the Episcopal Asian American Ministry Council, board member of the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia and program director, from 1992-2010, for the Bishop Richard F. Grien Community Center in New York, the first Asian American Jubilee Center of The Episcopal Church. A longtime New Yorker, Ng also was active at Trinity Church Wall Street, including as a vestry member from 2009-2015.
The Rev. David Copley, director of global partnerships and mission personnel, remembered Ng as “a mentor, spiritual guide and wise elder.”
“Peter Ng was always more than the ‘Partnership Officer for Asia and the Pacific,’” Copley said in an email to Episcopal News Service. “He was always there as a support, giving gentle guidance and encouragement to those with whom he worked.”
The Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church, echoed Copley’s praise. “Peter Ng was not only a remarkable colleague, but also a dear friend and wise counselor, both to me and to many others,” Robertson told ENS. “He will be greatly missed, even as the impact of his ministry continues to be experienced.”
One highlight of Ng’s decades with the church was his role in nurturing the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, which started in 1901 as a missionary district of the United States-based church. In 1965, the Philippines church became a missionary diocese, and in 1990, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines became an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church continued to support the new province financially until it became fully independent in 2005.
In 2012, the Episcopal Church in the Philippines praised Ng for his tending of the “cooperation and companionship” of the two provinces. Ng was “an ambassador of friendship and reconciliation” and “played a major role in solidifying and cementing the relationship of our two churches,” the Most Rev. Edward Malecdan, prime bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, said in awarding Ng the title of honorary canon.
Jefferts Schori, in an emailed statement to ENS, called Ng “an immense gift, not only to The Episcopal Church, but to our several partners in Asia.” She recalled traveling with him on trips to the region.
“He was a gentle and inspired teacher, and a fount of history and wisdom,” Jefferts Schori said. “Peter had a wonderful sense of humor, and often greased wheels in humble ways — so effective that opponents didn’t quite notice until the thing was done. He was an artist in diplomacy, offering the love of Christ to each and every one he met.”
– David Paulsen is an editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.