Written by Enchin Shaw Chen
To understand our family history, one must first be familiar with its background, starting with the time when the first missionary, Dr. George Mackay, came from Canada arriving in Tamsui, the northern part of Taiwan in 1872. That little bay town became the home of our ancestors, and it is where our ancestors were laid to rest. The red brick house where our grand father lived and where our father grew up in, still stands. The school they attended also. The “Tamsui Oxford College＂ named after a Canadian town that donated the money, was where our great-grand father attended. Eventually all his children and grand children went to receive theological training to become preachers. That college still stands, which is only a few steps from the house our ancestors lived.
Pastor T.S. Shaw（蕭大醇傳道師）
It was recorded in “A Century Of The Presbyterian Church in North Formosa 1872-1972＂, that in 1873 when George Mackay came to “Go-Ko-Ki＂ township to spread the gospel, the biggest accomplishment he made that day was that T.S. Shaw´s whole family came to believe in God. T.S. Shaw, our great grand father was born in 1821 in “Go-ko-ki＂. He was a Chinese medicine man, a Chinese scholar, and a vegetarian. He loved peace and righteousness, valued friendships, well liked, and respected by village people. When George Mackay visited him one day, he encouraged T.S. Shaw to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. T.S. Shaw not only accepted His teaching in his heart, he also accepted His Call. He gave up his vegetarian practice as well as his medicine work, and brought his four sons to be God´s servants. Our grandfather A.K. Shaw was the youngest.
T.S. Shaw later attended the newly established “Oxford College＂. He along with his oldest son was among the very first 20 students of George Mackay to graduate from the college in 1882. He was 51. At the Oxford College the students were taught not only Christian Education and ministry but Western culture, general education, Bible studies and Western medical techniques as well. It was the same college all of his four sons attended and eventually became preachers. When T. S. Shaw became ill with Beriberi, (it was before the discovery of Vitamins), during his infirmary, Dr. Mackay offered his own summer-house in Keelun to the family where his second son left Oxford and went to take care of him and where he later died at age 61. His second son as a result had to give up returning to Oxford College and took over the business of his father´s successful fishing and grocery business.
Rev. A. K. Shaw（蕭安居牧師）
The youngest of four sons of T.S. Shaw, our grandfather, was born in 1874 in Tho-Hng, Taiwan. His mother died when he was five and his father died when he was 13. He went to live with his oldest brother who was a preacher. He later went to Oxford College. He was one of the very first group of graduates from Oxford College to be ordained as a minister and accepted assignment as the minister of Sin-Tiam church where his father and his big brother were also ministers of the same church before him. He stayed for 13 years. When the Christian middle school was established in Tamsui in 1914, Rev. A. K. Shaw was drafted to be the school administrator of student life and educator of that school. He served for 36 years until he retired at age 60. In all these years he served hundreds and thousands of students who attended the Christian middle school. They all called him “Saint＂. He always smiled, never raised voices or caused any argument, and always looked after students who were in need of help. During his retirement, he continued to teach and preach, and also helped building the Eng-Ko Church until he died at age 90 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Rev. L. S. Shaw（蕭樂善牧師）
Rev. A.K. Shaw married our grandmother who was a daughter of fellow ordained minister in 1896. They had two sons and six daughters. Our father, Rev. L.S. Shaw, the older of the two sons, was born in 1900. He was athletic and very musical. In 1925, at age 24, our father was one of four (2 Taiwanese and 2 Japanese) to represent Japan in the Fifth Asiatic Olympic held in Shanghai. He competed in Pole Vault and Decathlon. After graduating from Taiwan Theological Seminary, he married our mother who was from a wealthy coal mining family. With the large amount of dowry our mother brought with her at the time of her marriage, our father went to Japan for advanced study at Tokyo Theological College. I was two-year old, and my big brother was four when we all went to Japan with our father.
Our father Rev. L.S. Shaw was a man of very few words. In retrospect, I believe, preaching may not have been his best way to answer His call. He was more interested in reading, writing, and playing musical instruments than preaching from a pulpit. While in Japan, he spent most of his time and money in bookstores and violin factory. He even had a custom made violin created just for him. Upon his return to Taiwan, he developed a severe neuralgia on his left little finger. After several years of pain and inability to find any cause or cure, one of the missionary doctors recommended amputation of his left little finger. Without that finger, he could no longer play the violin and had to give up his violin. However, he continued to play piano and organ all through his life. Because of his big hands and long fingers, he did not have any problem on the keyboard with nine fingers. His favorite music was Bach´s music. During the WWII, in the middle of curfews and blackouts, one could still hear Bach´s music in the air amidst sounds of bombing at the distance. It was during the time when he was the interim minister of the Sin-Tiam church where he stayed for five years. He also taught English in high school during the war and occasionally repaired piano or organ to support the family.
After the WWII, our father served for 7 years as an English preacher for the Protestant Sunday Service in the US Seventh Fleet Navy ship, which was stationed in Keelun Harbor after the war. Because, all his young life, he lived and worked with missionaries that he became fluent in English. He spent most of his life serving as the General Secretary of the Synod of Northern Presbytery and taught at the Theological Seminary at the same time. He also started a Presbyterian News Letter and served as its editor for many years. In 1972, he came to the United States for the first time to visit his children. That was when he helped started our church in Washington DC that began meeting in our house during the first six months in 1973. Our father died in Winchester, Virginia on December 20, 1992. He had been in a nursing home for three years because of the loss of his eye sight. He was 92 years old at the time. His ashes and our mothers were interred in a chapel at Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Virginia.