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Our History | Holy Innocents Episcopal Church

Our History


Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church was founded in 1882 as a neighborhood mission church. Beginning life s on the southern edges of the rapidly expanding parish of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco, the mission congregation of Holy Innocents initially gathered in a rented chapel of St. Luke’s Hospital. It quickly became apparent that this was a successful ‘plant’.

Land was purchased on Fair Oaks Street, and the architect, Ernest Coxhead— newly arrived from England— was commissioned to design a church. This he did, in a style that became known as “English parish.”

The building was completed in 1890, and the first service held on Sunday, October 20, 1890. It remained part of St. history_windowJohn’s until 1903, becoming a parish, for the first time, in 1904. Surviving the 1906 earthquake and fire, it is the oldest surviving Episcopal church in San Francisco.

Holy Innocents has had an eventful history over the last century. Loss through an aging church-going population and the AIDS pandemic, coupled with damage from the Loma Prieta earthquake, threatened to close Holy Innocents in the early 1990s.


In the early 2000s, Holy Innocents began life anew. As the surrounding neighborhood grew with families and children, Holy Innocents has become a place where an increasing number of diverse families and individuals are finding a home. We continue to grow in numbers and spirit.

We are a vibrant, loving community, and we throw great parties!