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Our Historic Background
The warmth of Immanuel Presbyterian Church has touched the hearts and souls of thousands of Southern Californians across race, background, and culture for over 129 years (1888-present). As a sacred and safe place for worship, prayer, spiritual nurture, community building, education, and celebration, our history is part of our core.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church was founded in 1888 by Rev William J Chichester in downtown Los Angeles. Dr. Chichester was originally from Baltimore, Maryland, practiced in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and moved west in 1885, when he was asked to be the Pastor of the First Church of Los Angeles.
Once established in Los Angeles, Chichester felt called to establish a new church in 1888, which is Immanuel Presbyterian Church today.
When downtown Los Angeles started expansion plans that impacted the site of the original location on Tenth (now Wilshire Blvd) and Figueroa Streets, Immanuel’s leadership decided to move west.
After years of planning, fundraising and building, the new church held its Dedication Day at the current mid-Wilshire location on May 5, 1929. This gothic style building is now recognized as historic landmark #78 for the City of Los Angeles.
Throughout the decades, Immanuel has been deeply engaged in furthering the growth and health of Los Angeles. Immanuel and its members were involved in helping launch and support such institutions as Occidental College, Union Rescue Mission, Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), and Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital.
In 1995, with the neighborhood changing and becoming increasingly diverse, Immanuel inaugurated its Spanish worship. Since then, Immanuel has worshipped both in English and in Spanish, as well as bilingually.
Taking seriously God’s call to be a “house of worship for all nations,” Immanuel has continued to be a welcoming sanctuary for all people, including LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are undocumented, the homeless, and people from all walks of life, cultures, ages, and backgrounds.
Book: Immanuel Presbyterian Church: 100 Years of Caring and Sharing (1888-1988)
Book: Windows of Immanuel (Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010)