Herman Tien Chiu Liu was born in Hubei province, China, the son of a merchant and the youngest of four children. The defining story from his childhood was a fire in 1935 that destroyed his parents’ house and business. A five-year-old Herman was left behind in the fire, only to be rescued when he was swept up in a pile of blankets by a neighbour who had run into fire to see what he could rescue. Herman later believed that this was the hand of God sparing him for some greater purpose in life. Life was difficult after the fire: his family’s business was destroyed, his father died in poverty a year later, and his mother could not afford to send him to elementary school for more than eight months. By the late 1940s, when his mother and a beloved sister had passed away and his other siblings had departed for work or family, he was drawn to church to console his spirit, where it was warmed by song and by the message of God’s love. He was baptized in 1949 in a Chinese Lutheran church in mainland China. In 1950, fearing the Communist regime, he fled for Hong Kong. It was a difficult time during which he went without food or shelter, sleeping in streets and doorways. A Lutheran missionary took Herman under his wing and Herman began his Bible studies in earnest under the missionary’s guidance. While he felt the call of God at this time, he struggled with this call until one day he witnessed a fatal accident and remembered the words he had just read that morning: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). From that moment the Holy Spirit opened the meaning of those verses to Herman and he decided to offer his life for His Gospel. Herman went on to graduate from the Hong Kong Lutheran Theological Seminary (1956), the Ch’ung Chi College in the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1964, Diploma in Chinese Language and Literature), and the Haw Kiu College (1972, Bachelor of Arts). He served in several churches in Hong Kong, including preaching at the Lutheran Church of Hong Kong, serving as an evangelist in charge of the Leprosy Mission at the Lord’s Willing Church, and Chaplain and Welfare Assistant of the Fanling Hospital.
A dedicated theological scholar, in 1972 he came to Canada to study at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, from which he received a Master of Divinity in 1974. During his studies, he also had the vision to start a Chinese Lutheran ministry in Canada. In 1974 he moved to Vancouver to start the New Life Chinese Lutheran Church and become the first Chinese pastor to be ordained into the Lutheran Church in Canada. He served this congregation for ten years before moving to Edmonton in 1984 and starting the Edmonton New Life Chinese Lutheran Church, where he served for eight years. He chose the name “New Life” for his congregations as a reminder that “through Christ they are born again and can serve him in gladness”.
Rev. Liu will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and community. A memorial will be held for Rev. Liu at the Edmonton Christian Community Church, 8810 65 Ave NW, on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 11 am.
If friends wish to make a tribute, we ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Rev. Herman Liu’s name to Millwoods Shepherd’s Care (Shepherd’s Care Foundation http://www.shepherdscare.org/residents/millwoods ) whose staff cared for Rev. Liu with such kindness and compassion.