Obituary: Rev. Ching-fen Hsiao
The Rev. Ching-fen Hsiao of Montclair, who worked throughout his life to build connections between East and West, died peacefully on Nov. 26, 2021. He was 86.
Born in Tainan, Taiwan, in 1935, Rev. Hsiao graduated from Tainan Theological College and served as assistant chaplain of Tunghai University before coming to the United States in 1963 to pursue doctoral studies at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Upon returning to Taiwan in 1967, he became professor and president of Tainan Theological College and Seminary and was actively involved in theological education regionally in Asia and internationally. His proficiency in several languages gave him many opportunities for oral and written translation and for deep engagement with several cultures East and West.
During years of living and working in Taiwan, he experienced the Japanese occupation, the Allied attacks on Taiwan during World War II, the martial law period imposed by the Nationalist Chinese government and the growth of the democratic movement in Taiwan.
Rev. Hsiao was an ardent supporter of human rights, democracy and freedom, and a faithful participant in the ecumenical church, having first been ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.
In 1986 he moved to New Jersey to begin work in New York City with the United Church of Christ as area secretary for East Asia and the Pacific of the United Church Board for World Ministries. After officially retiring, he continued work as president of the Japan International Christian University Foundation, taught for a semester at Yu-shan Seminary in Taiwan and served 10 years as pastor of the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Northern New Jersey in Livingston.
Rev. Hsiao served as trustee or board member for numerous organizations, including the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia, World Student Christian Federation, Special Ministry to Japanese in the greater New York City area and LEX USA, Inc. (Language Research and Exchange).
His life was fulfilling and remarkable in his roles as educator, administrator and pastor, and as a bridge between East and West, connecting countries, cultures, families, churches and other groups.
Rev. Hsiao is survived by his wife of 52 years, Peggy; three children, Bi-khim, Samuel (Amanda) and Bi-sek Jeannette (Donald); three grandchildren, Madeline, Paloma and Austin; two brothers and two sisters, and one sister in his adoptive family. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, with whom he cultivated close relationships, hosting them in his home and traveling often to important family events.
In his biological family he was predeceased by two sisters and three brothers.
A service celebrating Rev. Hsiao’s life will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 28, at 2 p.m. at Union Congregational Church, 176 Cooper Ave., Montclair.
Arrangements were by Compassionate Cremation Services, of Clifton.