Diocese of Hong Kong IslandDiocese of Hong Kong Island Diocese of Eastern KowloonDiocese of Eastern Kowloon Hong Kong Sheng Kung HuiHong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Diocese of Western KowloonDiocese of Western Kowloon Missionary Area of MacauMissionary Area of Macau
St John's Cathedral

The Revd Hugh Phillipson

Hugh is a voluntary Honorary Chaplain at the Cathedral. He is Chaplain of the Cathedral Choir, CLARES Womens’ Group, and ‘Mothers and Toddlers’. When not officiating or preaching at services, he sings in the Cathedral Choir and plays in the Cathedral Brass group at occasional services.

Hugh was ordained by Bishop Peter Kwong in St Johns in 1996. After retiring from Government in 2001 he became a stipendiary priest at St Johns. In 2004 he and his wife Ruth moved to Oxford, where for two years he was Chaplain at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. During that time he stood in as locum priest at St Paul’s Church, Monte Carlo. They returned to Hong Kong in 2006 and he has since served at St Johns. Hugh was a Trustee at St Johns before he was ordained.

Ruth is also active in the Cathedral. She is a member of the Cathedral Choir, CLARES and the Flower Guild. They have three children and eight grandchildren living in England, Hong Kong and Australia.

Hugh was brought up in Warrington, Lancashire and educated at Liverpool College. His family were Methodists, and his school Anglican. He studied civil engineering at Birmingham University. He was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and continued geotechnical engineering studies and research at Queens University, Ontario. Whilst there, he was a chorister in the choir of St Georges Cathedral, Kingston. His civil engineering career took him to London, where he met Ruth. After marrying, they went to Australia where Hugh worked on flood works in the Hunter Valley, and beef roads in the Northern Territory. They moved to Canada where he did site investigations in Montreal. On returning to England he worked in an engineering and surveying practice in Cornwall, before returning full circle to Warrington, where he worked on the New Town project.

He came to Hong Kong in 1977 and joined the Public Works Department, carrying out emergency work stabilising dangerous slopes. He later worked in the Works Policy Branch, eventually becoming Deputy Secretary (Works Policy). This work included the planning and early project management of the new HK airport. In his last eight years he was Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, and then Director of Water Supplies. Both departments had a staff of about 5000. His job included the need to improve internal and external communications, achieve efficiency improvements and improve customer service. During that time he was a Justice of the Peace. For his government work he was awarded the Silver Bauhiniar Star

Outside of work at the Cathedral and family life, Hugh enjoys travel and likes to keep up with international news. He loves sport of all kinds. In his youth he played hooker for his university rugby team. More recently he did a lot of distance running including several marathons, but now he sticks to golf. He plays jazz clarinet in the Dixie Katz and saxophone in the Stray Katz Big Band, and sings in the Die Konzertisten Choir. He is keen on aviation history due to his links with the Royal Air Force at school and university.

Hugh has a special love for the beauty of our Anglican liturgy, and the rich treasury of music that adds so much to our worship. A feature of our tradition that is also important to him is the ‘ecumenical umbrella’ of Anglicanism. At St Johns there are people of very different religious and cultural backgrounds: Evangelical, Liberal and Catholic. Yet they all meet and worship God together with love, as brothers and sisters in the one body of Christ.