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.