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Celebrating Faith

Historical Document Project Flyer in English Historical Document Project Flyer in Chinese

When the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown was founded in the mid-19th century amidst the Chinese "bachelor society of the California Gold Rush and the opening of the American West, the population served by the church was much more homogeneous than it is today. With successive immigration and the growth of American-born generations of Chinese, the community served by the church became increasingly diverse. To meet the changing needs it faced the church expanded beyond its original Cantonese worship services to include English worship services beginning in 1944 and Mandarin worship services beginning in 1954. Trilingual to the present, the church's current ministry reaches across social, economic, racial, and ethnic lines to form a community that extends well beyond its immediate Chinatown context.

The members of the church are united as a community by their shared foundational commitment to a Reformed Christian faith. In worship, prayer, study, work, and fellowship, the community grounds itself in the Gospel's message of wholeness for all of humanity, and that message guides the community in its broad range of commitments both to its own membership and to the world beyond.

Heidi, Mikayla, and Anthony Wong

Heidi, Mikayla, and Anthony Wong.

Leaders at a trilingual worship service

Trilingual services in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin are a unique feature of congregational life at the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown, serving to bring together three worshipping groups as a single church. Here, the Rev. Calvin Chinn (English), Nicholas Li (Mandarin), and the Rev. Alfred Chan (Cantonese) lead a trilingual service on Christian Education Sunday. (Photo: 2001.)

Ling Yau Fellowship meeting

The Ling Yau Fellowship of the Cantonese ministry held occasional retreats away from the church as an added means of community-building and spiritual nourishment. Here, the group is seen on retreat at the Presbyterian mission organization Donaldina Cameron House's Lo Mo Lodge in Marin County, CA, circa 1962. Seated in the upper left-hand corner of the square is the Rev. David Peng, then minister to the Cantonese congregation.

Combined choir from mid-1950s

A combined high-school and college choir, under the direction of Choir Director Paul Jamaica (second row, far left), in a photograph from the mid-1950s.

Young people showing appreciation to Laurene Chan

The participation of children and youth in worship is an important aspect of recognizing and involving the entire church family. Here, Cherie Yip (center), Chairwoman of the Session Christian Education Committee, leads a group of young people in showing appreciation to Staff Associate Laurene Chan (seated). (Photo: 2001.)

Flora Hubbard and her choir

Flora Hubbard, (back row, third from left) was a particularly well-remembered director of young adult ministries at the Chinese Presbyterian Church, who included among her projects a choir, of which we see here a photograph from 1928. The choir was a part of a Bay Area chorus of Chinese choirs that preformed at the World Christian Endeavor Convention in San Francisco in 1931.

David Kao

The Rev. David Kao was the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown's first minister called specifically to serve the Mandarin ministry. He served for twenty-four years, retiring in 2000. In 2003, he was granted the title of Pastor Emeritus by the church, only the second minister in PCC's history to be recognized with that honor. (Photo: 2001.)

The Rev. Ernest Wu and the Rev. David Liang

The Rev. Ernest Wu (L), former Director of Social Services at the Presbyterian mission organization Donaldina Cameron House, and the Rev. David Liang (R), provide pastoral leadership for the Cantonese congregation. (Photo: 2003.)

Diane Go and David Soohoo

Diane Go and Clerk of Session David Soohoo hold up sheet music for a Children's Handbell Choir performance. (Photo: 2001.)

Mandarin Women's Fellowship Choir

The Mandarin Women's Fellowship Choir sings for a special Mother's Day performance. (Photo: 2001.)

English congregation service praying

Before each service, worship leaders gather to vest and pray together. Here, the Rev. Calvin Chinn (second from left) leads the worship leaders of an English congregation service in prayer. (Photo: 2001.)

Congregation in 1940

The congregation gathered for a photograph in front of the church in 1940.

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