North America's Oldest Asian Church

Founded a century and a half ago, the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown is the oldest Asian American Christian congregation in North America. Designated a "foreign mission" by the Presbyterian denomination, the church opened its doors on November 6, 1853 with four members under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. William Speer. It was not until 1925 that jurisdiction of the church was transferred from the Board of Foreign Missions to the Board of National Missions. After changing its name from the Presbyterian Chinese Mission Church, the congregation continued to be known as the Chinese Presbyterian Church until 1958, when the current name emphasizing the church's recognition of its social context and its commitment to the San Francisco Chinatown community was adopted by its members.





The Rev. Dr. William Speer (1822–1904) — shown here with his wife, Elizabeth Ewing —founding minister of the Presbyterian Chinese Mission Church. For five years a medical missionary to Canton, China, Speer arrived in San Francisco on November 6, 1852 with a working knowledge of Cantonese and a call from the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to evangelize to the city's Chinese population. He remained in San Francisco until 1858.