“The Occidental School was started by Rev. William Speer in the basement of the Presbyterian Chinese Mission on Stockton Street [on the west side, between Clay and Washington] in 1853. When the school began receiving public funds in 1859, it became the first public school in the United States for Chinese students. Note that both boys and girls are in this class.”
— Judy Yung, “San Francisco’s Chinatown” (publ. Chinese Historical Society of America)
Emma Cable, a co-worker of Reverend Ira Condit who had started a ministry program in Chinatown in 1865, as Michelle A. Lettieri has written, “believed that missionaries could affect, reform, and eventually convert Chinese society through their women.”
In the words of today’s 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 church is located at 925 Stockton Street in San Francisco Chinatown, and it conducts worship services in Mandarin, English, and Cantonese languages.