Protestant Educators

Picture of David Ng

David Ng (1934 – 1997) was a Presbyterian minister, Christian educator, and seminary professor. A Chinese American, Ng contributed significantly to the growing conversation on multicultural issues and Christian education, especially in the later years of his career at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union. Ng’s other major contributions to the field of Christian education concerned children in worship, and youth ministry. He is best known for the book he co-authored with Virginia Thomas entitled Children in the Worshiping Community. Ng served in various roles throughout his career, including that of local church pastor; seminary professor (Austin and San Francisco Theological Seminary); Associate General Secretary for Education and Ministry of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC); Associate for Youth Resources with the United Presbyterian Church’s Board of Christian Education; and Associate for Communication and Support in the Educational Division of the Presbyterian Church (USA). On February 6, 1991, Ng was honored as Educator of the Year by the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators.

Biography

Early Life, Leadership, Education and Teaching

David Ng - Presbyterian minister, ecumenist, curriculum writer, Christian educator, and seminary teacher - was known for being an avid collector, a storyteller with a wry sense of humor, a jazz aficionado, and a sports fan. Friends and students recall his enjoyment of MAD Magazine humor, and his use of all kinds of cartoons in teaching. One Christian educator described him as “an old fashioned resource person offering ‘new-fashioned’ ideas for education.” Most important, though, is the way Dave described his own life story: a “path of concentric circles, centered around community as a gift of Christ.” It is through the various circles of communities of his story that I will attempt to sketch David Ng’s life in brief.

Beginnings: The Asian American Community of Chinatown, San Francisco

Ng was born in Chinatown, San Francisco, California, on September 1, 1934, one of four children of Chinese immigrant parents Ng Hing and Chin Shee Ng. Ng called Chinatown “the only ghetto which is also a tourist attraction” (1999, 88). In his later years while teaching at San Francisco Theological Seminary, Ng took great delight in dropping whatever he was doing to give his personal tour of Chinatown to visiting friends and colleagues passing through town.

As a child, Ng said, he would come home from his day in the public school, only to gather up a cigar box with his Chinese writing materials in it, to go off to another two hours of Chinese school. His family lived in a small “cold water only” apartment, which he described as typical for that crowded area of San Francisco, populated by Chinese immigrants with limited opportunities for jobs or education. The impact of this earliest community on Ng can be seen not only in the ways it formed him culturally as a Chinese American, but also in the identification with diverse groups of marginalized persons that surfaces so prominently in his later life and work.

Writing about this earliest time of his life, Ng (1999, 88) said, I do not recall ever having heard a lecture on Confucian values, certainly not from my father or mother. There were no lectures about inclusive hospitality or generosity. The lofty concepts of family, loyalty, mutuality, reciprocity, filial piety, and such were not taught, at least not in so many words. I simply grew up in the Ng family who lived in Chinatown. Fifty years later while watching Bill Moyers interview Tu Weiming, a Confucian scholar, I knew immediately what Tu meant when he said that Chinese have a ‘Confucian DNA.’ I do.

“You have heard of ‘rice Christians’ in Asia? I am a ‘shower Christian,” Ng would quip when he spoke of how he came into the Christian faith as a young teen. Propelled by the desire for a hot shower, Ng and a friend began sneaking into the Chinatown YMCA for “skinny dipping” in the pool and a shower. Thus began Ng’s formative association with the YMCA, one of two Christian organizations in Chinatown with a shaping impact on his adolescence. The other was the Donaldina Cameron House, a Presbyterian church ministry where Ng and other youth found support and leadership roles along with an education in Christian faith.

At Cameron House, Ng studied Bonhoeffer’s works on church and community. Ng recalls first reading Bonhoeffer’s Life together in the tenth grade. The theological ideas and themes from this book figure prominently in Ng’s future writings in youth ministry, and provided him with a powerful framework for articulating the centrality of community for the Christian life. As a high school junior, he became a youth advisor for eighth grade students at Cameron House. When Ng wanted to be baptized at a Christmas Eve baptismal service with other youth, his father denied him permission to attend the service. So, not wanting to go against his father, David Ng did not attend the service. However, he arranged with the pastor to have a few elders and friends assemble in the library, apart from the service for a special baptism under the auspices of a Christian education event! Ng graduated from George Washington High School in San Francisco in 1952. He went to Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, graduating summa cum laude in 1956.

Called to Leadership in Diverse Communities of Faith

From there, Ng went on to San Francisco Theological Seminary, where he earned his M.Div. in 1959. While at SFTS, he married Irene Young. They had two sons, Stephen and Andrew. Ng was ordained in 1959 to be the collegiate pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Chinatown and Cameron House. He was there until 1962, when he became the pastor of the Presbyterian church in Mendocino, California. Mendocino is a small artisans community on the northern California coast, and Ng’s role as pastor of the church there is written about by sociologist Stephen Warner in his study of the Mendocino congregation, New wine in old wineskins—Evangelicals and Liberals in a small town church. Ng described his experiences as pastor of this small, conservative Presbyterian church, where the presence of his family integrated the town and the church …[A] large part of my sense of call to the Christian ministry was to proclaim the message of acceptance, of inclusion, or in negative terms, of combating racism. Mendocino was a good place for a marginalized person to draw ever larger circles to bring people into an inclusive community (1999, 90).

In 1966, Ng left Mendocino for Philadelphia, where he joined the United Presbyterian Church’s Board of Christian Education (later called the Program agency after the denomination moved to New York City) as Associate for Youth Resources. He had primary responsibility for editing the journal Strategy: Church Ministry with Youth as well as for working on youth curricula and leadership development. There he worked with a team of educators and curriculum writers. In particular, he mentioned the mentoring relationship of Jim Simpson. Ng later credited this team with teaching him “most of what I know about Christian education…They taught it by doing it with me” (1999, 92). Ng used a similar approach in his own methods of instruction, teaching by doing Christian education with his students. The same year, Ng received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Westminster College, his undergraduate school.

From 1975 until 1981, Ng served at Austin Theological Seminary, where he claimed to be “the seminary professor with the longest title and the shortest name.” Ng was Associate Professor of Church Program and Nurture. At Austin, Dave taught practically oriented courses in the seminary, while offering workshops and seminars throughout the church on similarly practical topics such as “the congregation as educator, “TNT—theology and tennis!” and many workshops on “children and worship.” During this time period, the Presbyterian church’s theological conversations about children and the sacraments intensified, and Ng had a leading role in educating the church about children, helping the denomination to change its polity toward admitting children to the table of the Lord’s Supper. Dave spoke of leaving Austin at a time when the seminary administration changed, saying, “Perhaps…my serving on the faculty without a Ph.D. embarrassed him, I suspect…I symbolized on campus the importance of being in community” (1999, 96). While some friends and colleagues say that Ng was occasionally “possessed of a slight inferiority complex” himself concerning the matter of his not holding a Ph.D., most agree that he did not let this interfere with following his vocation as a theological educator, teaching people the ministry of Christian education. David Ng first and foremost was a servant of the church, responding to the call of God and using his gifts to equip others to be educators.

Ecumenical Community, Bureaucratic Community

In 1981 Ng became the Associate General Secretary for Education and Ministry of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC), which he named a “bureaucratic community” working to combat racism, militarism, and sexism, in “a grand attempt to be a cooperative, corporate, global, ‘community of communions’” (1999, 94). Ng was the NCC administrator involved in overseeing the development of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, and the Inclusive Language Lectionary. At Ng’s memorial service, friend and colleague Arthur Van Eck, who succeeded Dave at the NCC, reminded worshipers that the Inclusive Language Lectionary was one of the most controversial projects Dave was involved in as a staff person for the NCC, and that death threats were made at the time against Dave and others on the committee. “He was not an ideologue about language. He simply believed that this was the right time to nudge the church to think about gender and to think more expansively about who God is,” said the Rev. Van Eck. Similarly, at Ng’s memorial service, the Rev. Mary Paik recalled a quip made by Dave during a time of difficulties with the NRSV project: “When I get to heaven, I hope I will find a God who writes in left-handed Chinese!”

In 1985, Ng became aware that he had to make some lifestyle changes because he was suffering from coronary artery disease. He left the NCC in 1986 for what he said was a “less stressful” position as the Associate for Communication and Support in the Educational Division of the Presbyterian Church (USA), where his work involved helping to develop a new curriculum for the reunited church. During that time he also taught courses at Princeton Theological Seminary, such as the course called “Social and Cultural Foundations for Christian Education in the Asian American Community.”

Coming Home: The Theological Education Community at San Francisco Theological Seminary

Responding to the call of his alma mater, San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS), Ng returned to the Bay area in 1988 to become the John K. McLennan Professor of Christian Education. At SFTS, Ng developed well-loved courses such as his popular “Seminar on Story and Storytelling,” “Teaching the Bible Story,” “Seminar on Current Issues in Christian Education,” “Ministry with Youth,” “Education in the Community of Faith,” and “Multicultural Christian Education.” In the convocation address celebrating his faculty appointment, Ng remarked that whatever the course title, the theme of his teaching would always be the same: the congregation as educator. As a teacher and a scholar, Ng was known for his practical focus. “How will this work in congregations?” was always a prime consideration for Ng. On February 6, 1991, Ng was honored as Educator of the Year by the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators. At that time, he offered these words:

As an individual, I have enjoyed the blessing of a distinct and rich racial ethnic culture. I have also been blessed with the rich tradition of the church, the Presbyterian Church in its reformed tradition, and the communion of saints. For all this I give thanks to God who called us into a ministry of peace, love and justice for all of God's creation.

Dave Ng was also known for his hospitality, and students recall that Ng and his wife Irene hosted each and every class at their home for an informal dinner gathering early in the semester. He was a “resource person,” constantly providing students and others with various kinds of resources related to their interests—known for sending newspaper clippings or a workshop handout to someone following a conversation. Once he sent 200 used tennis balls to a former colleague who had a tennis-ball loving dog! Ng loved sports, and although friends and colleagues joked that his love of basketball outstripped his abilities, he remained an avid sports fan throughout his life. He excelled in playing tennis. Dave also enjoyed jazz music and modern art, and part of his personal art collection is exhibited in the David Ng Resource Center at SFTS, where many of his personal papers and his library are held, donated by his wife Irene for continuing use by Christian educators. Included among these items is a beautiful Chinese calligraphy of the scripture Ng called “the Christian education manifesto,” Ephesians 4: 11-13:

The gifts that Christ gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the some of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Sharing this scripture with students, Dave would then ask, “In light of Ephesians 4: 11-13 how would you describe your roles and tasks as a teacher in the church?” In his teaching, he was concerned that students come to understand and nurture their own vocations and identities as teachers in the church.

While Ng cared deeply about issues of cultural difference and community throughout his career, these concerns came into sharpest focus in his scholarship when he returned to teach at his alma mater, San Francisco Theological Seminary, where he taught from 1988 until his death in 1997. Working with colleagues at SFTS and the Graduate Theological Union to form the Racial/Ethnic Faculty Association, Ng taught courses on “Multicultural Christian Education,” and “Multicultural Theologies for Ministry.”

Furthering his interests in the church as a “Christ-formed, multicultural community,” Ng directed a project supported by the Lilly Endowment, the International Confucian-Christian Dialogue, which eventuated in the book People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture, and community.

Friends and family alike speak of Dave Ng as a workaholic, one who often sacrificed time from himself or his family for his work in the church. Such comments come not in a spirit of critique or detraction from those who loved him, but as evidence for and affirmation of Ng’s extraordinary sense of commitment to his vocation as a pastor and educator of the church, in an era “before the clergy self-care movement,” as one colleague put it. Throughout his remarkable career, Dave was an “active Presbyter” in the broad sense of that term: he participated in the church and offered his leadership locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. For example, Ng participated in multiple projects and networking groups in addition to whatever position he held. He gave 25-30 workshops a year. He was active in numerous consultations and collegial work groups, such as the National Asian Presbyterian Council, the Pacific Asian American Christian Education Curriculum Development Project, and a Lilly funded project out of Union Seminary in Richmond, directed by Sara Little, called the “Youth Ministry and Theological Schools Project.” While at SFTS, Ng chaired the Racial Ethnic Committee for Redwoods Presbytery.

In a folder with papers from the class he was teaching on storytelling at San Francisco Theological Seminary at the time of his death, David Ng left three pieces of paper, cut into the shape of footprints. One had written on it “marriage to Irene”; the second read, “writing a book about children and worship”; while on the third footprint was inscribed the words, “being ordained.” The footprints are cut out on “recycled” pieces of paper, a hallmark of Dave’s penchant for saving and re-using of nearly everything. Were these footprints the stepping-stone “marker events” in his life, shared with his class as a way to begin telling his own story? We can only speculate. But such a method of teaching through self-sharing would be typical of him.

The Resurrection Community

David Ng died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack on April 29, 1997, at the age of 63. His memorial service, which took place on Pentecost Sunday (May 18, 1997) was a testimony to the incredible and expansive impact Ng had on Christian education and the church, as well as a tribute to Ng as a person. The service was a multicultural worship service in which there were persons from diverse age groups and cultures. There, friends and colleagues (many in bright Pentecost red or multicultural, multicolored, stoles) from various parts of Dave’s life and work spoke of his contributions to making the church a more inclusive people, better equipped for ministry through Christian education.

Sources on the Life of David Ng

  • (1999). A path of concentric circles: Toward an autobiographical theology of community. In Journeys at the margin: Toward an autobiographical theology in American Asian perspective. Peter C. Phan and Jung Young Lee (Eds.). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press: 81-102.
  • (1997). Obituary. Presbyterian Outlook. June 16, 1997.
  • (1997). Death notice. Christian Century. 114.19. June 18 & 29, 1997: 587-588.
  • (1997). David Ng memorial service: A videotape. San Anselmo, CA: Media Services, San Francisco Theological Seminary. Available in the David Ng collection, David Ng Resource Center. San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  • (1997). Obituary. APCE Advocate. Summer 1997.
  • (1997). Gentle teacher dies. In Chimes: Journal of San Francisco Theological Seminary. 42, 3. Spring-Summer: 8.
  • (1995). Jennifer Ledford. Beyond the melting pot: Conversation with David Ng. in Chimes: The Journal of San Francisco Theological Seminary. 40,3. Summer: 11-13.
  • (1989). San Francisco Theological Seminary fall convocation: A service of recognition for David Ng’s call as professor of Christian education. Audiotape. San Anselmo, CA: SFTS media services. From the personal collection of Irene Ng.
  • (1986). David Ng returns to editing work. In Presbyterian Outlook. May 26, 1986.
  • (1991). David Ng is ‘educator of the year.’ APCE Advocate: spring 1991: 1, 14.
  • (1974). David Ng. Growing up in Chinatown. In Friendship Frontiers. New York: United Presbyterian Church in the USA. From the personal papers of Irene Ng.
  • (1991). Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators, Educator Of The Year Award. David Ng: A slide show with script. From personal collection of Irene Ng, San Anselmo, CA.
  • (1988). Christian educator/collector Dave Ng returns home. In Chimes: Journal of San Francisco Theological Seminary. 34, 1. Fall 1988: 13-14.
  • (1988). Mr. Christian education joins the faculty. In Chimes: Journal of San Francisco Theological Seminary. 33, 4. Summer: 3.

Contributions to Christian Education

David Ng’s contributions to Christian education range from hands-on work as an educator in local churches to administrative support for the creation of the Inclusive Language Lectionary and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible; from a focus on children in worship, to a concern for older adults in the church; from being a pastor-teacher to teaching in seminaries. Ng wrote curriculum for young people, and guides to help adults in the church better understand and work with young people. Concerned with unity amidst theological and cultural particularity, Ng brought his Reformed theological perspective to ecumenical endeavors, and offered the particularity of his Chinese American cultural heritage as a gift to the whole church. He is best known, however, for his important contributions in three general thematic areas that this essay will address: children in the church, youth and youth ministries, and multicultural Christian education.

Children in the Worshiping Community

David Ng’s work on children in the faith community spanned his entire career. Up until his death, he offered workshops and seminary courses in an effort to assist the church to understand and be more inclusive of its youngest members. This focus on children emerged early in his teaching career out of the Presbyterian controversies in the 1970’s over the admission of children to the Lord’s Table. Ng forcefully advocated children’s full participation in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, a position which ultimately carried the day but which was quite controversial at the time. At one of his many workshops, Ng encountered a woman by the name of Virginia Thomas, who came up to him full of ideas and suggestions about children in worship. The two became co-authors of what remains today one of the most important resources for congregations on children and worship, Children in the worshiping community. With Thomas, Ng (1981, 45) wrote therein: Of all the acts of worship, the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper is perhaps the most dramatic and hence most appropriate for children’s participation. Children are drawn by the eventful character of the communion, with its tangible elements of bread and wine, all presented and shared in actively by minister and congregation.

The vivid activities of the Lord’s Supper are of interest and attraction even to young children

Ng argued for children’s participation in the sacrament through a combination of carefully reasoned Reformed theological perspectives about the Lord’s supper as a gift to be received and a means of grace for those who participate in it, and an equally carefully reasoned perspective on children’s capacities for understanding. Ng further asserted that children bring certain gifts to the congregation’s celebration of the sacrament from which adults could stand to learn: their simple ability to say thank you; their happy and joyous way of celebrating; and the way in which their very presence helps the church to “realize its wholeness; without children the church is less of a church” (1979, 14). And, Ng reminded the church that before God we are all children, and “the church does well to recall that the means of grace are offered to all God’s children by a loving and gracious God who does not separate the children by age” (1979, 13). This emphasis in Ng’s work on all the full inclusion of all persons in Christian community later expanded from the focus on children to encompass cultural and gender difference.

Throughout his writings on children, Ng contended that the main reason children need to be with the congregation in worship is because children, like adults, need to praise, confess sins and experience forgiveness, hear God’s word, and affirm their faith. “Children belong with the worshiping congregation because the gospel is for persons of all ages…[T]he body of Christ has no age requirements” (Ng and Thomas 1981,18 and 20). Ng argued against the reduction of children’s participation in worship to a didactic experience alone. This moves children into a passive role. Instead, Ng contended, children need to experience and participate in the liturgy in its fullness because, as members of the body of Christ, they too need to worship God. Ng affirmed that while children may understand the liturgy in different ways than do adults, they nevertheless bring to worship an understanding appropriate to their own developmental abilities that should not be trivialized. Furthermore, adults in the congregation can be enriched and learn from the ways children worship.

David Ng critiqued children’s choirs and children’s sermons as being especially guilty of placing children in inappropriate roles in worship, making them entertainment or spectacles for adults rather than authentic worshippers with adults. Ng viewed children’s sermons as a substitute activity, which becomes a form of “discrimination and deprivation” (Ng and Thomas 1981, 136), a perspective critiqued by one reviewer of the book Children in the worshiping community as overly harsh and judgmental (Chartier, 1982). Ng suggested that we would do better to direct our energy and imagination to speaking God’s Word to children rather than devising substitutes for this worship experience. The Word of God—scripture and sermon—can be heard by all ages.

One of the distinctive marks of David Ng’s approach to Christian education as a practical theological activity can be seen in his provision of multiple strategies, ideas, and options for putting into practice whatever he was talking about. This becomes particularly visible in discussions about how to make worship more inclusive of children. “A few suggestions are offered here,” wrote Ng (1992) in “Encouraging Children to Hear the Word of God”. Following this modest statement are no less than thirty-four specific ideas! Ng’s emphasis on children anticipated, and in some cases influenced, the current emphasis on children in the field of practical theology. Irene Ng, Dave’s wife, said that one of the last scheduled events on his calendar at the time of his death was to be another workshop on children in worship.

Youth in the Community of Disciples

David Ng is also well known for his contributions in the area of youth ministry. Through his work with the Board of Christian Education (United Presbyterian Church USA) in Philadelphia, which later became the Program Agency when the church moved its offices to New York, Ng worked as a writer and editor of curriculum and other educational resources for the Presbyterian Church. He was the editor for Strategies, a denominational publication for youth ministry. And he wrote curriculum for junior high and high school students, first in the Christian Faith and Action series and later in the “Living the Word” track for youth of the Christian Education, Shared Approaches (CE:SA) series. The latter material focused on the theme of youth and vocation. Ng was passionate about the idea that every Christian is called to use their gifts on behalf of the wider community. His understanding of Christian calling and commitment was shaped decisively by the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, particularly from the book Life together. He saw as a central task of adolescence the need to explore and claim one’s vocation in Christ, a subject he also wrote about in Developing leaders for youth ministry (1984, 30-31) as part of a workshop design:

Young persons, as part of the church, are called to discipleship and to the Christian life. The goals of youth ministry reflect this calling. The program provides practical ways to fulfill it…Youth ministry is ministry—servanthood, service, sacrifice, and even suffering. It is the task of leaders who work with youth to communicate the call to discipleship.

In the late1980’s Ng became the project director for a new curricular venture (known as Presbyterian Reformed Educational Ministries, or PREM) of the newly re-united Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) aimed at confirming young people in the church. Entitled Journeys of faith: A confirmation-commissioning resource, this material involved the whole congregation in the processes of a young person’s confirmation. It sought to re-situate the church’s rite of confirmation from its de facto status as a “graduation from Christian education” to a commissioning into fuller discipleship and service in the church. In addition to his project design and editing work, Ng authored several significant portions of this curriculum, including the booklet Journeys of faith: Confirming and commissioning young members of the church (1990), which comprises the theological background statement for congregations and adult leaders to understand the meaning of confirmation-curriculum in a Reformed theological perspective.

Youth in the community of disciples (1984a) is Ng’s theology of youth ministry. Using Bonhoeffer as its primary theological resource, Ng called for an abandonment of the entertainment models of youth ministry in which fun and games, and success measured by the number of participants, would be replaced by the nurturing of Christian disciples. Youth ministry is about discipleship, mission, and service. Ng called on adult leaders to serve as “guarantors” and role models with youth. While the methods of youth ministry may include recreational experiences and fellowship, its main goals and methods need to be oriented toward cultivating youth as disciples of Jesus Christ. In this emphasis, Ng set the stage for a number of contemporary perspectives in youth ministry (cf. Mark Yaconelli; Kenda Creasy Dean; Rodger Nishioka; Joyce Ann Mercer) advocating serious theological study, the teaching of Christian practices, and engagement in mission/service.

Over time, in his writings on youth Ng increasingly focused on the issues of multicultural education and ministry. He was one of the main writers for a new resource entitled Asian Pacific American youth ministry (1988) which addressed the particular situations and needs of Asian Pacific American youth and offered specific planning helps and program ideas for such ministries. Ng was critical of movements in Christian education that failed to address the different learning styles and cultural situations of diverse people in the church, as when, for example, he came out against the new Presbyterian catechism as a way of educating that attends more to content than to process in a time when Asian North American Christians are reclaiming the cultural theological heritage of story as a way of doing theology along with the importance of being on a journey. “Catechisms not only define the ‘right answers, they also define the ‘right’ questions. What if an Asian North American Presbyterian has a concern that is not covered by the catechism? Or, what if she has a new insight into the Christian faith which comes out of her Asian (non-Western) religious heritage?” (1995,9), wrote Ng.

Ng’s emphasis on multicultural religious education, while visible throughout his work in the form of an emphasis on the church as an inclusive community accepting of all persons, became most pronounced toward the end of his career. The final section below will turn to that focus.

Sojourners Bearing Gifts: Education in the Multicultural Church

David Ng’s last decade of teaching and writings articulated a vision of the church “working toward a multicultural community of faith in a multicultural society,” that was rooted in a theological affirmation of the church as one global “family of God” united in a common human nature and a shared identity in Christ (Ng 1992, 202). He became increasingly autobiographical in his writing style, using his own story in an immigrant family and as a minority-culture person as a resource for thinking about Christian education. Ng advocated for an ethic of solidarity in relation to marginalized persons and cultural groups that emerges from identification with, and deepening consciousness of cultural and historical particularity (1987) as well as with suffering that comes from the power imbalances around which cultural differences are structured (1987, 16; 1988). He eschewed the notion of America as a “melting pot” of cultures, instead offering a view of cultural and religious pluralism that saw multicultural contexts as desirous opportunities rather as “the problem” (1988a, 130-133). At the same time, Ng recognized the difficulties in encounters of cultural diversity and the need for commitment to dialogue.

As an advocate for multicultural education, Ng used his various positions to build bridges between persons of diverse cultures. For example, he offered practical suggestions for how majority culture pastors and educators might be more sensitive to the needs and experiences of Asian American youth (1991). Central to Ng’s writing on multicultural Christian education was the idea that all persons have unique gifts to share with the whole church out of the particularity of their own cultural context. He even suggested that the pain and suffering experienced by marginalized persons could be a gift to the rest of the church for whom Christ’s suffering is more abstract and less immediate. As “minority people find comfort in identifying with Jesus’ suffering, they can become mediators of this message to the majority in the church…[in] redemptive suffering not only for one’s own identity’s sake, but for the sake of the whole church. When Pacific Asian Americans shape their identities they become a gift to the rest of the church” (1987, 16). One hears in this assertion strong echoes of Bonhoeffer’s costly grace, a theological idea deeply influencing Ng throughout his life.

At the 2001 annual meeting of the Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, with the overall theme of religious education in an age of globalization, held its closing plenary session as a memorial to David Ng, acknowledging his leadership in the area of multicultural religious education.

Postscript: Education as the Church’s Ministry

This essay, exploring three of the more prominent themes of David Ng’s contributions to Christian education, necessarily eclipses certain important aspects of his work. Central among these neglected aspects is the way in which, across the various themes of his writing and teaching, Ng used his gifts as an educator to cross the boundaries of seminary and church, of denomination and local congregation, and of diverse theological traditions, in his efforts to equip persons for their work as disciples of Christ. He wrote study guides for denominational policy papers, influencing countless people in their efforts to understand and make informed decisions about matters under consideration by their denomination. His concern was that theology be communicated to people in ways they could understand and live out. Therefore he did not simply write for academic audiences, but was first and foremost a servant of the church engaged in the work of practical theology.

Finally, throughout his career, David Ng emphasized that Christian education is the work of the whole congregation. Ng understood education in the church to take place in multiple ways, not only through the Sunday school. Its purpose is to educate persons of all ages for discipleship. And he was passionate about helping seminary students and pastors in the church realize their vocations as teachers. Ng frequently used Maria Harris’ book Fashion me a people as a primary textbook for his courses, with her assertion that the church does not have a curriculum so much as it is a curriculum. As a teacher, a pastor, an administrator, an ecumenist, and a curriculum writer, David Ng will be remembered for inviting the church in its various ministries with children, youth and adults, to recover its “curriculum” of being a multicultural, inclusive community of faith in ministries of discipleship and service.


Bibliography

Books

  • (1996). (Ed.) People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture, and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • (1984). Developing leaders for youth ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • (1984). Youth in the community of disciples. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • (1981). Children in the worshiping community. Co-authored with Virginia Thomas. Atlanta: John Knox Press.
  • (1971). How to cope in a computer age without pulling the plug. Co-authored with Tom Michael. New York: Friendship Press, National Council of Churches.

Chapters in Books

  • (1999). A Path of concentric circles: Toward an autobiographical theology of community. In Peter C. Phan and Jung Young Lee (Eds.), Journey at the margins: Toward an autobiographical theology in American-Asian perspective. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 81-102 (published posthumously; this volume is dedicated to Dave and Jung Young Lee both of whom died during publication work).
  • (1997). Circumspection: A commentary on Matthew 26:7. In Michael Livingston (Ed.), Liberation and unity: A Lenten booklet for 1997. Princeton: COCU.
  • (1996). Sojourners bearing gifts. In Anne Leo Ellis (Ed.), First we must listen: Living in a multicultural society. New York: Friendship Press.
  • (1996). Introduction. In David Ng (Ed.), People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press: xv-xxix.
  • (1996). The central issue of community: An example of Asian North American theology on the way. Co-Authored with Heup Young Kim. In David Ng (Ed.), People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press: 25-41.
  • (1996). Varieties of congregations or varieties of people. In David Ng (Ed.), People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press: 281-300.
  • (1995). Children's sermons. In Richard Litscher & William Willimon (Eds.), The concise encyclopedia of preaching. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press: 67-70.
  • (1993). Rethinking youth ministry. In David S. Schuller (Ed.), Rethinking Christian education: Explorations in theory and practice. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press: 85-98.
  • (1992). Introduction. In Barbara Kimes Meyers and William R. Myers, Engaging in transcendence: The church’s ministry and covenant with young children. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press: xvii-xxii.
  • (1992). Working with Pacific Asian American families. In Thomas Bright and John Roberto (Eds.), Faith and families: A parish program for parenting in faith growth. New Rochelle, NY: Catholic Family Series: Chapter 5.
  • (1990). "Conference" (pp. 146-147); "Conference center" (pp. 147-148); "National council of the churches of Christ in the U.S.A." (pp. 445-447); "Worship, children's" (pp. 703-704). In Iris V. Cully and Kendig Brubaker Cully (Eds.), Harpers encyclopedia of religious education. San Francisco: Harper and Row.
  • (1988). Holy people in a holy creation. In Norma H. Thompson (Ed.), Religious pluralism and religious education. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press: 125-137.
  • (1988a). How youth learn (pp. 51-55); Planning to meet specific needs (pp. 59-62); Effective methods in youth ministry. Co-Authored with John Stevens Kerr (pp. 63-74); God’s call to me (pp. 146-150); My people’s call to me (pp. 151-155); Vocation, my work, and social justice (pp. 156-157); How have I spent my life (pp. 158-160). In Donald Ng (Ed.), Asian Pacific American youth ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • (1987). Sojourners bearing gifts: Pacific Asian American Christian education. In Charles R. Foster (Ed.), Ethnicity in the education of the church. Nashville: Scarritt Press: 7-23.

Articles

  • (1997). Children in the worshiping community. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. 31, 4: 233-236. (Reprint of 1992 article in same journal).
  • (1996). Snapshots of liturgy through various lenses: Through an Asian American lens. Reformed Liturgy & Music.30, 3: 125-127.
  • (1996). The lectionary in the daily life of the congregation. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. 30, 1: 13-15.
  • (1995). I will be a storyteller. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 177, 16. April 24: 10-11.
  • (1995). Catechisms raise more questions than answers. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 177, 25.July 3, 1995: 8-9.
  • (1993). Leadership in cross cultural perspective: A conversation with David Ng. Culture Crossings. 4, 1. Spring 1993.
  • (1993). APRRE: Ethnicity and gender issues in multicultural religious education.In Religious Education. 88 Summer 1993: 330-493.
  • (1992). Children in the worshiping community. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. 26,1. Winter: 3-5.
  • (1992). Encouraging children to hear the word of God. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. Vol. XXVI , No. 1, Winter 1992: 26-27.
  • (1992). Impelled toward multicultural religious education. In Religious Education. 87, 2. Spring 1992: 192-202
  • (1990). Inclusive is a good word. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 172,5. Feb. 5: 6-7.
  • (1990). Three effective churches. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 172,17. April 30: 16-17.
  • (1990). More than affirmation we want transformation. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 172, 31. September 17: 12-13.
  • (1989). Education in multicultural racial/ethnic churches. In The Presbyterian Outlook. April 25, 1989.
  • (1988). Confirmation: faith journey and commitments. In Alert, 18, 3. Nov. 1988: 17-18.
  • (1987). Sojourners bearing gifts: Pacific Asian American Christian education. in Charles R. Foster (Ed.), Ethnicity in the education of the church. Nashville: Scarritt Press: 7-23.
  • (1987). The confirmation journey. In Alert. May 1987.
  • (1986). The place of family worship. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. 20, 2. Spring 1986: 88-91.
  • (1986). Children in worship. In On the move. Adelaide, Australia: 8.
  • (1985). Youth in the community of disciples. In Religious Education 80, Summer 1985: 492-494.
  • (1984). Incorporating multiethnic cultures into Christian education. In Alert. February 1984.
  • (1983). A church in 1992. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 165, 1. January 3: 6-7.
  • (1981). An annotated bibliography of printed resources on children and worship. Compiled with Virginia Thomas. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. XV, 2. Spring: 69-73.
  • (1980). The church's educational ministry with the aging. Austin Seminary Bulletin. Oct. 1980.
  • (1979). The case for the Lord's supper & children. Austin Seminary Bulletin. XCV, 3. October: 11-15.
  • (1978).What children bring to worship. Austin Seminary Bulletin. XCIV, 3. October: 5-30; 26-30 are an annotated bibliography. Photo of David Ng and biographical data: pp. 2-3 this volume.
  • (1977). The role of listening in biblical interpretation - A response. Austin Seminary Bulletin. 92. May 1977: 40-42.
  • (1976). Let us gather at the table - including children. Austin Seminary Bulletin. April 1976.
  • (1975). Planning for ministry with youth. Co-authored with Ray Woods. Alert. May: 1-3.
  • (1970). Christian educator’s scrapbook. Venture. September 1970: 20-24.

Curriculum and Study Guides

  • (1997). Crossing the Jordan, The bible study of Joshua: Bible action course for younger youth, leader guide. Also, Crossing the Jordan: Calvin comics comic book for younger youth. In Celebrate Curriculum, Louisville, KY.: Curriculum Publishing House of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
  • (1996). A multicultural commentary on familiar bible passages. In Jennie Winsor Payne, Teacher's guide, all quite beautiful: Living in a multicultural society. New York: Friendship Press.
  • (1993}. To teach is to risk. In Bible discovery, youth level leader's guide. Presbyterian Church (USA). Spring 1993:8-9.
  • (1991). The together book. In Lifepac: Community, the celebrate curriculum material for youth. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing House.
  • (1990). Journeys of faith a confirmation-commissioning manual.
  • David Ng, co-editor, first edition; Author of Sections “Faith review event” and “Planning for confirmation-commissioning;” and Journeys of faith: Confirming and commissioning young members of the church. Co-author with Carolyn Brown of Journeys of faith: A guide for confirmation-commissioning. Co-author with Betty Crown of Roles and responsibilities in confirmation-commissioning. Presbyterian and Reformed Educational Ministry. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing House.
  • (1990). 1989-90 Human rights update. Adopted by the 202nd General Assembly (1990) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Louisville, KY: Office of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (USA). Study Guide by David Ng.
  • (1987). On the nature of revelation in the Christian tradition from a reformed perspective. A report prepared by the Presbyterian Church (USA) Advisory Council on Discipleship and Worship, and commended to the church for study by the 199th General Assembly (1987) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Includes a 12-page study guide by David Ng. New York: OGA Sales.
  • (1987). Work and worth. 87/88 Leaders guide and student resource, Christian education, shared approaches. In Living the word, level 8, older youth. 1987 – 88 Winter Quarter, Vol 10 Number 2. Atlanta: General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church U.S.
  • (1986). The confessional nature of the church. Commended to the church for study by the 198th General Assembly (1986) Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). New York: OGA Sales.
  • (1986).One in Christ the letter to the Galatians from an Asian-American perspective. Written by Pam Odo-Goto. David Ng and Lawrence M. Pray (Eds.). El Cerrito, CA: Asian-American Christian Education Curriculum Project, San Francisco Presbytery: 1986.
  • (1983). Work and worth. Christian education shared approaches. In Living the word, level 8, older youth. 1983-84 Winter Quarter, Year 6. Atlanta: General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church U.S.
  • (1981). Christian answers to life's problems. Good News Evangelism Booklet No. 8. New York: Evangelism Program, United Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. 1981.
  • (1981). Welcoming children to the Lord's table, A manual for sessions. Atlanta: General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.
  • (1980). Work and worth. Christian education shared approaches. In living the word, level 8, older youth. 1980 – 81 Winter Quarter, Vol. 3, Part 2. Atlanta: General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church U.S.
  • (1978). Searching for the real China. One of six books in an educational kit, Contemporary China. New York: Friendship Press, 1978.
  • (1977). Youth: A manual for Christian education, shared approaches. Philadelphia: Geneva Press.
  • (1975). People and systems: leader’s guide. Part of educational kit, USA packet on people and systems. New York: Friendship Press.
  • (1974), Christian studies for late teens. leaders guide. In Christian unity: Instrument for mission. Five sessions. Nashville, TN: The United Methodist Church. Spring 1974.
  • (1973). Context for choice: A confirmation-commissioning manual. Philadelphia: The Geneva Press.
  • (1972). See it! Do it! Your faith in action. New York: Friendship Press.
  • (1970). The teaching task: Parish planning grades 7-10. Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church: 31-64.
  • (1969). How many sides to a Chinese coin? New York: Friendship Press.
  • (1965). I believe in God. In This generation. Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. 17, 4: 1-4.
  • (1962). Studies in Colossians. In This generation. Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. July-Sept. 1962.
  • Christian faith and action. Teacher’s guide, grades 9-10, year II, editor. And “Sourcebook: How we got our Bible: the canon; science and theology, interpret the Bible. grades 7-8; year II. Editor and writer.

Limited Publications

  • (1996). Peter, meet your brother Cornelius. In Academy accents: The newsletter of the academy of preachers. 12,1. Spring 1996.
  • (1991). A colorful community: Ministry with racial/ethnic minority youth. Youth ministry resource network, network paper no. 41. New Rochelle, NY: Don Bosco Multimedia in Conjunction with the Center for Youth Ministry Development.
  • (1991). Guidelines for sensitivity to Pacific Asian Americans. The families of faith Project, Center for Youth Ministry Development. Naugatuck, CT.
  • (1988). Confirmation: A rite in search of a rationale. APCE Advocate.
  • (1974). Growing up in China Town. Friendship Frontiers paper (UPCUSA Support Agency, NY) written for elementary age children. The paper is an autobiographical sketch by Ng of his childhood.

Book Reviews Authored by David Ng

  • (1996). K. Connie Kang. Home was the land of morning calm: A saga of a Korean-American family. In Pacific Asian American and Canadian Christian Education Network Fall 1996.
  • (1993). Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman. Young children and worship. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1990. In Religious Education. 88, 1: 157-158.
  • (1989). Donald Ng (Ed.). Asian Pacific American youth ministry. In Affirmations. 2. Spring 1989: 107-110.
  • (1986). Robert L. Browning and Roy A. Reed. The sacraments in religious education and liturgy: An ecumenical model. Birmingham, AL. Religious Education Press, 1985. In Theology Today. XLII, 1. April: 114-115.

Video- and Audio- Tapes

  • (1996). Embracing difference in solidarity: What does it mean to be a multicultural religious community? David Ng, James A Forbes, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, James Melvin Washington, Walter Wink, Virgilio P. Elizondo, Catherine Roskam, Cornel West, Cathy Ann Beaty, Ruth Morales, and Jace Weaver. 180 minute videocassette. A licensed, off-satellite broadcast recorded Nov. 15, 1996. New York: Riverside Church Multicultural Conference. Session II: Living the challenges, practical tools for living into a multicultural religious community (panel presentation) includes David Ng.
  • (1991). Ministry with Pacific Asian youth. Simi Valley, CA: Convention Seminar Cassettes. Recorded February 15, 1991 at the Religious Education Congress, Feb. 14-17, 1991, Anaheim, CA.
  • (1991). Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators, Educator of the Year Award. David Ng: A slide show with script. From personal collection of Irene Ng, San Anselmo, CA.
  • (1985??). Christian educator/collector Dave Ng returns home. In Chimes: Journal of San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  • (1987). Pastor as educator. Christian education in the church: Lectures presented at a Pittsburgh Theological Seminary weekly seminar sponsored by Continuing Education. with Fred Rogers, William Guy, Grace Harding, and Elly Flemming. Four audio cassettes. Recorded at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Oct. 5,12, 19, 26, 1987.
  • (1983). Biblical vision and educational mission; and visionary ventures for teachers. 2 audio tapes. Montreat, NC: Montreat Tapes, 1983. Recorded at 1983 Christian Education Conference, Montreat N.C.
  • (1980). Faith odyssey. With Locke E. Bowman, Sara Little, and John H. Westerhoff. 7 audiocassette tapes from the Symposium on Christian Education in the Future, 1980. Recorded September 10-11, 1980 at First Presbyterian Church, Durham, NC: Orange Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in the United States.
  • (1983) What is a lectionary? In Background papers on issues related to the new inclusive language lectionary. National Council of Churches in the USA: Inclusive Language Lectionary Committee. Held at United Theological Seminary, Ohio.

Sources Cited

  • Chartier, Jan. (1982). Children in the worshiping community. [Review of the book Children in the worshiping community]. In Religious Education. 77,5. September-October 1982: 579-581.
  • Ng, David. (1995). Catechisms raise more questions than answers. In The Presbyterian Outlook. 177, 25.July 3, 1995: 8-9.
  • ____________. (1992). Encouraging children to hear the word of God. In Reformed Liturgy And Music. Vol. XXVI , No. 1, winter 1992: 26-27.
  • ___________. (1990). Journeys of faith a confirmation-commissioning manual.
  • David Ng, co-editor, first edition; Author of sections “Faith review event” and “Planning for confirmation-commissioning;” and Journeys of faith: Confirming and commissioning young members of the church. Co-author with Carolyn Brown of Journeys of faith: A guide for confirmation-commissioning. Co-author with Betty Crown of Roles and responsibilities in confirmation-commissioning. Presbyterian and Reformed Educational Ministry. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing House.
  • ____________. (1988). How youth learn (pp. 51-55); Planning to meet specific needs (pp. 59-62); Effective methods in youth ministry. Co-Authored with John Stevens Kerr (pp. 63-74); God’s call to me (pp. 146-150); My people’s call to me (pp. 151-155); Vocation, my work, and social justice (pp. 156-157); How have I spent my life (pp. 158-160). In Donald Ng (Ed.), Asian Pacific American youth ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • ___________. (1988a). Holy people in a holy creation. In Norma H. Thompson (Ed.), Religious pluralism and religious education. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press: 125-137.
  • ___________. (1987). Sojourners bearing gifts: Pacific Asian American Christian education. in Charles R. Foster (Ed.), Ethnicity in the education of the church. Nashville: Scarritt Press: 7-23.
  • ____________. (1984). Developing leaders for youth ministry. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • __________. (1984). Youth in the community of disciples. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.
  • _________. (1979). The case for the Lord's supper & children. Austin Seminary Bulletin. XCV, 3. October: 11-15. Ng, David and Virginia Thomas. (1981). Children in the worshiping community. Atlanta: John Knox Press.

Reviews of David Ng’s Books

  • (1985). Donald L. Griggs. Youth in the community of disciples. [Review of the book Youth in the community of disciples]. In Religious Education. 80, 3. Summer: 492-494.
  • (1984). Scott Hawkins. Children in the worshiping community. [Review of the book Children in the worshiping community]. In Christian Education Journal 5,1. 1984: 71-72.
  • (1982). Jan Chartier. Children in the worshiping community. [Review of the book Children in the worshiping community]. In Religious Education. 77,5. September-October 1982: 579-581.
  • (1982). Stephen H. Brown. Children in the worshiping community. [Review of the book children in the worshiping community]. In Reformed Liturgy and Music. XVI, 4. Fall 1982: 188.
  • (1982). Iris V. Cully. Children in the worshiping community. [Review of the book Children in the worshiping community]. In Review of Books and Religion. May 1982. [I wish to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Ms. Irene Ng in developing this bibliography, as she provided me with a preliminary list and access to some of the materials on this bibliography that I would have had considerable difficulty locating without her help. Many of the items on this bibliography are widely available in theological libraries and in church resource centers. The David Ng Resource Center, located on the campus of San Francisco Theological Seminary, houses Ng’s art collection and some of his personal books, tapes, and papers.]

Excerpts from Publications

Ng, David. (1996). Varieties of congregations for varieties of people. In David Ng (Ed.), People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture, and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press: 287.

“As in the first Christian Pentecost experience, people are realizing they can hear the gospel and understand it in their own tongue. To paraphrase, crudely, the claim in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, even as the Greek Galatians didn’t have to practice Jewish rituals to be Christians, Asian North Americans don’t have to be ‘white’ to be Christians. As advocated throughout this book, Asian North Americans have ethnic and cultural treasures that enrich their Christian life and practice. In such a milieu (perhaps a more appropriate phrase is ‘on such a path or such a tao’) it is not only all right but it is encouraged of Asian North Americans that their ethnic and cultural identity and heritage be honored, studied, and expressed. Churches finding ways for this to happen may be just the type of congregation that is needed today.”

Ng, David. (1984). Youth in the community of disciples. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press: 41.

“Young pilgrims need guarantors—role models—who set examples of life. One of the most valuable services adult leaders can render is to serve as guarantors. To a large degree youth ministry leadership involves such service, and when recruiting adults for leadership in youth ministry, the church should keep this in mind. Adults may shrink from such a demanding ministry. But adults and young persons alike can gain strength from a particular guarantor or role model who can help us to be human and to have abundant life. Jesus Christ is the world’s guarantor…”

Ng, David. (1981). Welcoming children to the Lord's table, A manual for sessions. Atlanta: General Assembly Mission Board, Presbyterian Church in the U.S.: 11.

“It is important for ministers and elders to keep in mind that when children participate in an intergenerational activity such as worship or the Lord’s Supper, they will reflect their age and abilities. Thus, what they hear, think, say, and do in worship will not be exactly what adults hear, think, say, or do. It will be different. But this is not to say it will be any less valid or any less meaningful. To join in the Lord’s Supper is not a waste of time for the child or for the church. It is not merely a training exercise. In worship a child is exposed to God’s Word, God’s presence, and to all the stimuli and challenges that are available from such an experience. If we allow the sacrament to make its impact, that is, to be sacramental, then each worshiper—including each child—can be a recipient of the grace, which can be communicated through the sacrament. Let the child be a worshiper, and let the Lord’s Supper be a sacrament, and we will have the possibilities of authentic worship with integrity.”


Recommended Readings

Books

Ng, David and Virginia Thomas. (1981). Children in the worshiping community. Atlanta: John Knox Press.

This book provides Ng’s most complete perspective on children in the church, in which he and co-author Virginia Thomas articulate why and how to involve children as full participants in congregational worship. The issues raised in this 1981 book continue to be relevant to congregational life today.

Ng, David. (1984). Youth in the community of disciples. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Based on a series of lectures he gave for the American Baptist Board of Educational Ministries, this book is Ng’s theology of youth ministry. It is grounded in his application of insights from the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to ministries with youth in the church, as he argues for an “end to the fun and games approach.” Instead, Ng calls for youth ministry to be about the difficult business of nurturing disciples in the faith, oriented around the church’s mission of service.

Ng, David (Ed.). (1996). People on the way: Asian North Americans discovering Christ, culture, and community. Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press.

Readers will find in this book not only several chapters written by Ng reflecting his interests and concerns around multiculturalism, but also get a glimpse at his work as an editor, bringing together a diverse project team to create this volume in which Asian North American Christians from different cultural contexts share their stories.

Articles and Curricula

(1990). Journeys of faith a confirmation-commissioning manual. David Ng, co-editor, first edition; Author of sections “Faith review event” and “Planning for confirmation-commissioning;” and Journeys of faith: Confirming and commissioning young members of the church. Co-author with Carolyn Brown of Journeys of faith: A guide for confirmation-commissioning. Co-author with Betty Crown of Roles and responsibilities in confirmation-commissioning. Presbyterian and Reformed Educational Ministry. Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Publishing House.

Ng’s shaping role in this Presbyterian denominational curriculum for confirmation may be seen not only in the sections he authored, but also in the overall design of the material. Readers will get a sense of Ng’s practical, “learning by doing” educational philosophy, while also seeing the influence of theological perspectives informing the content of this church resource.

Ng, David. (1988). Holy people in a holy creation. In Norma H. Thompson (Ed.), Religious pluralism and religious education. Birmingham, AL: Religious Education Press: 125-137.

The chapter written by Ng for this book offers his basic understanding of the value of multicultural Christian education in the church, in which he affirms the importance and the challenges of cultural pluralism in the church’s educational ministries.


Author Information

Joyce Ann Mercer

Joyce A. Mercer (Ph.D., Emory University) serves as Associate Professor of Christian Education at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Francisco, CA.

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