Holy Innocents, San Francisco, at 125

All weekend, Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25, Holy Innocents, San Francisco, celebrated its 125th year as a congregation. The weekend full of events included a festive dinner, a neighborhood block party on Saturday, a visit from the bishop and past clergy at Sunday morning’s Eucharists, a tea party Sunday afternoon, and a choral Evensong on Sunday evening. An historical exhibit of the church was on display throughout the weekend.

Beginning life in the 1880s 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 — 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. John’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. 

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, preached at both Sunday morning services, and the Rev. Jane McDougle, vicar of Holy Innocents, presided. Andrus talked about how the texts of the lectionary were given to the church, all the ways that Holy Innocents has given itself to the community of San Francisco and Noe Valley. The Prayers of the People were locally composed and reflected on the Baptismal Covenant, while asking for God's renewal on the congregation. 

Holy Innocents is at 455 Fair Oaks Street, San Francisco. The congregation gathers at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings, except for the last Sunday of the month. There is a combined service at 10 a.m. on the last Sunday of each month. Holy Innocents has lasted 125 years and hopes for many more. 

Photos available on Facebook