Tang Chung Huen (Pinyin Deng Zongxuen), Philip 鄧宗煊 (1921 - ....)
by Lillian Pui Shun Ng, Celia Pui Kay Ng, Joseph Tin Cheuk Tang, Benjamin Tin Lun Tang, July 2013
Born: December 11, 1921 in Dongguen (東莞), Guangdong (廣東), China
Parentage: Father Tang Chun Ming (鄧峻明); mother Mok Chiu Bing (莫肖冰)
Siblings: Older brother Tang Chung Kin (鄧宗堅); younger sister Tang Bing Yuk (鄧冰若)
Spouse: Wife Shiu Lai Wah Stella (邵麗華), married on November 27th, 1944 in Lingshan, Gungxi
Children: Daughters, Lillian Ng (鄧珮珣), Celia Ng (鄧珮琪); Sons, Joseph Tang (鄧天爵), Benjamin Tang (鄧天麟)
Summary of service: During his 40+ years of service in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in China, Pastor Tang Chung Huen had held positions as teacher, boy’s dean, academic dean, academy principal, pastoral assistant, ordained minister, writer and editor for various church publications.
Figure 1: Portrait of Pastor Tang Chung Huen taken 2005 in Loma Linda, California, USA
A Story of Providential Care
June 18, 1972. The rain had been falling relentlessly for the previous two days; this morning it was getting heavier, with no signs of letting up. Pastor Tang Chung Huen (鄧宗煊), Principal of the Hong Kong Sam Yuk Secondary School at that time, consulted with Mrs. Anna Li (沈津), the academic dean. They had to decide whether they should close the school for the day. This was not an easy decision, not only because of the loss of class time for the students, but also because of the official policy by the Hong Kong Education Department mandating that schools might close only on the directive of the Department. After much prayer, they went ahead to close the school for the day and send all the students home immediately. That was just about noontime.
Shortly after the school was emptied of students, a huge mudslide crashed down into the school building from a small hill behind it, sending tons of mud, debris, and heavy rocks down to the ground. It destroyed the wall of a classroom, and blocked a narrow pathway used by hundred of students everyday. But, because the students were dismissed early that day, no one was hurt during that incident.
According to official records, June 18, 1972 was one of the worst "rain-caused" flooding in Hong Kong's history with a loss 156 lives due to mud slides, building collapses, and related incidents. It is often referred to as the "Six Eighteen Rain Disaster" (六一八雨災).2
Added by the authors: As we write this biography, we cannot but reflect on the thought that during our father’s over ninety years of life and forty plus years of service to the Adventist church and schools in China, the providence of God was, and still is, never far from him.
Early Years (1921-1942)
Our father, Pastor Tang Chung Huen (Pinyin Deng Zongxuen, 鄧宗煊), or Philip Tang, was born on December 11, 1921 to Tang Chun Ming (鄧峻明), a noted educator and an official of the Education Department in Guangdong Province, and Mok Chiu Bing (莫肖冰), daughter of a well-known family in Dongguen (東莞), Guangdong (廣東), China. Beginning at age five, he was privileged to learn and study Chinese literature and general subjects from private tutors and from established school systems at home and in Vietnam. Because of the war with Japan, he moved with the Guangdong Jiao Zhong School to Macao. He graduated there in June 1939.
After graduation, Tang Chung Huen was led to know Christ by his friend, a devout Adventist Christian named Wong Chuen (黃全) who had invited him to attend summer evangelistic meetings. He wholeheartedly accepted Christ and was baptized alongside with Mr. Ho Kin Yee (何健宜) into the Adventist church by Pastor Tso Chiu Nam (曹昭南). A genuine and lifelong friendship developed between our parents and Mr. and Mrs. Ho Kin Yee, a kind and generous couple. As young and new believers, Ho and Tang were recommended to attend The China/South China Training Institute in Shatin, Hong Kong for Christian education and ministerial training. With much encouragement and generous financial support of church pioneers like Pastor Tso Chiu Nam, Ho Kin Yee, Pastor John P. Anderson (恩帝孫), Chu Yu Tat (朱如達), Ms Ella Chung (陳妙蓮) and Ang Chie Keng (洪正卿), he enrolled into the work-study program. He enjoyed college life there for over two years before the Pacific war broke out.
Denominational Service (1942-1986)
Tang Chung Huen’s management and organization abilities were readily recognized early by many church leaders. As soon as he left The China Training Institute in 1942, he was appointed by Pastor Leung Hing Sun (梁慶燊), director of education at the South China Union Mission, to be the academic dean of Guangxi Training Institute, an elementary school located within the Nanning Adventist Hospital in Nanning (南寧), Guangxi (廣西). In 1945, due to rapid growth in enrollment after the war, Dr. Lo Big Wah (勞碧華), director of the hospital, and Miss Annie Lo (盧維端), manager, appropriated funding for a new school building. As a result, the school expanded to become a reputable junior middle school, with an increase of enrollment from 50 to 170. It became a magnet and attracted many students not only from local church workers, but also from the general public and from government officials.
In 1949, Tang Chung Huen became ill and left his post to return home for convalescence. In 1950, soon after his recovery, he served as a pastoral assistant to Pastor Chan Woo Shang (陳湖生) in Nanguan Church (南闗教会). From September 1950 to July 1951, he taught Chinese language and literature at the Tungshan South China Union Academy under principal Chang Po An (張伯安).
Because of the political unrest in China, our father relocated to Hong Kong in 1951. He accepted the call from Pastor Yeung Kin Shek (楊建石) to become academic dean at Kowloon Sam Yuk Elementary School, under Pastor Chan To Jung (陳道震). The school was operated in the church building. In 1952, he taught at Sam Yuk Middle School in Clear Water Bay; he also served as dean of students and resident dean of boys there for two years. In 1954, he taught Bible, mathematics, Chinese language and literature exclusively.
From 1955 to 1960, he served as the academic dean at Kowloon Sam Yuk Middle School, one of the three branch mission schools in Hong Kong. In 1955, under Pastor E. L. Longway’s (羅威) visionary direction, a well-equipped five-story school building was added to the school complex. This allowed the sixth grade graduates to continue their Sam Yuk education until ninth grade and beyond. Hundreds of students applied for admission, but many were turned away because the classrooms were filled to capacity. At this time, a special afternoon elementary school was also established to provide opportunity for many poorer students.
In 1960, Tang Chung Huen was sponsored by the church to further his education in the United States. He graduated in 1963 from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, with a BA degree in mathematics (major) and theology (minor). He resumed the duty of academic dean under principal Pastor Lo Hing So (羅慶蘇) at Kowloon Sam Yuk Secondary School. In 1964, he became principal of Ta Po Sam Yuk Middle School where he stayed for two years. He oversaw the first senior high school graduating class there.
From 1966 to 1980, Tang Chung Huen served as the principal of Hong Kong Sam Yuk Secondary School (香港三育中學). During his leadership the school continued to grow. The school offered both a Chinese and an English section; and its enrollment reached close to 800. For five years during the 1970’s, he also served as assistant pastor for the Pioneer Memorial Church in Happy Valley. He was ordained as a minister on February 21, 1976. During this time, he served both the school and the church tirelessly and faithfully by working humbly and harmoniously with his faculty, and by nurturing the church members compassionately and patiently. He gave God the credits for every success and accomplishment. He would thank God daily for making him a servant to carry out His important missions, for His many blessings and protection, and for the wisdom to make the right decisions. The decision to dismiss the students during the heavy rainstorm, as recounted at the beginning of this article, was but one of the many examples that he made daily, affecting the lives of both teachers and students.
In 1980, as though it was time to complete a service circle, Pastor Tang Chung Huen was called to return as principal at the now well-established senior high school, Kowloon Sam Yuk Middle School (九龍三育中學), where he served with much pleasure, enthusiasm, and experience for six more productive years. He retired in 1986 after 44 years of dedicated service to the Adventist Church, and reunited with his family in the United States.
“Sam Yuk” (三育) means the nurturing of the three dimensions of a holistic human being - the spiritual, the intellectual, and the physical essence of a person. With the commitment and energy of many talented and dedicated colleagues, Pastor Tang Chung Huen organized many enrichment programs and provided students with opportunities like athletic meets, art exhibitions, writing competitions, Christmas concerts, music performances at the local radio and TV stations. Students were well prepared to succeed at the government-sponsored high school examinations. They were also encouraged to lead out in Sabbath School, at church and, area rooftop branch Sabbath schools. He truly believes that Sam Yuk as a mission school is the right and left arms of the church to spread the gospel. After the annual week of prayer, scores of students would accept the altar calls to be baptized in Christ. Following graduation, many grew up to be church leaders and workers. Many more became not only productive citizens in society, but also faithful Adventist Christians active in their home church.
Family life and Retirement
Our parents were married on November 27, 1944 in Lingshan (靈山縣) with the blessings of colleagues and students. Mother, Shiu Lai Wah (邵麗華), is the eldest daughter of Pastor Shiu Pok An (邵樸安) and Chan Hon Man (陳翰文). For nearly 40 years she served as an elementary school teacher and piano teacher, at the Sam Yuk schools. She is still a faithful church pianist today. Tang Chung Huen and Shiu Lai Wah have four children, two daughters and two sons. From the oldest to the youngest, they are:
Daughter, Lillian Pui Shun Ng (鄧珮珣), a registered nurse, church organist
Daughter, Celia Pui Kay Ng (鄧珮琪), a registered nurse
Son, Dr. Joseph Tin Cheuk Tang (鄧天爵), a pathologist
Son, Dr. Benjamin Tin Lun Tang (鄧天麟), formerly a radiologist, currently the coordinator of Los Angeles Cantonese Adventist Fellowship.
We became the center of their lives. They taught us to work hard, to be humble, thoughtful, and most importantly, to love God faithfully.
After retirement in 1986, Pastor and Mrs Tang Chung Huen migrated to United Stated and settled in Los Angeles to be closer to their son Joseph Tin Cheuk Tang. They became active members of the Los Angeles Adventist Church in Alhambra, and members of the Chinese Senior Club. They traveled extensively with the Sam Yuk Alumni Association, and with their children, all over the world.
In 1988, as a serious student of Chinese language and literature, our father was invited to be the editor of the North America San Yu Alumni Association Newsletter (三育春秋), a biannual publication well loved by all. Our parents also opened their home for the Cantonese Bible study group which grew and morphed into the Cantonese Adventist Fellowship (羅省粵語復臨團契) in Temple City. Blessed with excellent health, they enjoy reading newspapers and Chinese classic literature, dining and visiting with many old and new friends, and attending concerts. Retirement life is never dull.
In conclusion, our father wants us to include this statement, "Throughout my life, I was (and still am) truly blessed by the Lord. I am grateful for His leading, love, and comfort during good times and hard times, as well as the guidance of His Holy Words. I would like to share with all this verse from Psalm 127:1. 'Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.'”
Figure 2: Tang Chung Huen as a young man in Chinese costume, ca 1943
Figure 3: Tang Chung Huen as a young man in Western suit, ca 1948
Figure 4: Tang Chung Huen and Shiu Lai Wah on their wedding day, November 27, 1944.
Figure 5: With colleagues at Sam Yuk Middle School in Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong in 1953. Tang is the first person on the right in the second row.
Figure 6: With colleagues at the Kowloon Sam Yuk Middle School in 1955. Tang Chung Huen is the third from right in second row.
Figure 7: Principal Tang Chung Huen with students in Kowloon Sam Yuk court yard, ca 1956
Figure 8: Pastor Tang graduated from Andrews University June 1963
Figure 9: Principal Tang Chung Huen in his office at Kowloon Sam Yuk Middle School, ca 1982
Figure 10: After the ordination service of Pastor Tang Chung Huen, at the Hong Kong Pioneer Memorial Church, on February 21, 1976.
Figure 11: Pastor Tang Chung Huen baptizing a student at the Kowloon Adventist Church in June 1985.
Figure 12: Principal Tang Chung Huen speaking at the Graduation Ceremony of the Kowloon Sam Yuk Middle School in 1986.
Figure 13: Pastor and Mrs Tang Chung Huen during their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration in Los Angeles, taken 1994.
Figure 14: 80th birthday celebration in December 2011.
Seated 1st row from Left.Celia(daughter), Shiu Lai Wah, Tang Chung Huen, Lillian(daughter). 2nd row from Left. Irene Leung(Ben's wife), Emmy Lin(Joseph's wife), Joseph(son), Cathy Ma(Jason's wife), Kit Ying Ng(Lillian's husband. 3rd row from Left. Stephanie Ng(Celia's daughter), Kevin Ng(Celia's son), Ben(son), Justin Ng(Lillian's son), Jason Ng(Lillian's son)
More photos of Pastor Tang Chung Huen and his family may be found in the AIC DIR (Adventism in China Digital Image Repository).
1. Tang Chung Huen (2002) Autobiography in Samuel Young (Editor), Chinese SDA History, (in Chinese), Chinese Union Mission of the Seventh-day Adventists: Hong Kong. ISBN: 962-8812-09-2.
2. Wikipedia in Chinese (2013), The 1972 June 18 Flood in Hong Kong, retrieved from http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%85%AD%E4%B8%80%E5%85%AB%E9%9B%A8%E7%81%BD
Last updated 8/8/2013 by B. Lo