Pastor, theologian and professor, Paul Szto, died Oct. 22 in New York City. He was 95.
Szto was born in Guangdong, China, raised in Hong Kong, and graduated from Zhejiang University in 1946. He represented China at the 1947 Oslo World Christian Youth Conference. That same year, he began studying at Westminster Seminary under Cornelius Van Til, later at Union Seminary under Richard Kroner and Paul Tillich. While at Union, he pioneered a Chinese student ministry in New York’s Upper West Side before becoming ordained in the Christian Reformed Church in 1957. He later earned his Doctor of Ministry from Westminster.
In 1956, with Christian Reformed Home Missions, Szto founded what would become Queens Christian Reformed Church, the first Chinese congregation in Queens, N.Y., and the first to construct its own building. Over the years, with the help of his wife, he tirelessly drove, housed, fed, and taught over 2,000 Chinese and other students, refugees, and immigrants in the church parsonage.
Szto wrote articles, including "The Chinese Communist Mind" (Christianity Today, Apr. 14, 1972), taught Chinese history at Queens and Nyack colleges, both in New York City; as well as classes at the China Institute, Westminster and other seminaries. After 1978, he regularly lectured at Chinese universities. Szto also helped establish Chinese Christian Reformed congregations in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. He was Board Chair of the New York Divinity School and Flushing Christian School. He was interim pastor at the Chinese Community Church in Washington, D.C.
Szto will be dearly missed by two sons, a daughter, and their spouses; seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Clarice, in 2007 and by his daughter, Irene, in 2012.