Church of the Epiphany – A Living Landmark
The Church of the Epiphany is the oldest Episcopal church still in use in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Every day, people come there to worship, to be quiet, to work, to serve, to find clothes, to get diapers for their infants, to receive food. The Church of the Epiphany does what good churches have always done: It feeds people, clothes people, prays with and for people, it nourishes and sustains. And it does these things in Spanish and in English.
But the Church of the Epiphany is important for another reason: Something beautiful and important happened there. Something which changed the lives of everyone involved, and changed the life of our city and our nation.
In the late 1960s Mexican Americans decided they’d had enough of second-class citizenship. They decided they’d seen enough of their brothers sent off to a war that white boys didn’t have to fight; they decided they might like to go to university and become lawyers, doctors, politicians, professors; they decided that they didn’t like being targeted by the police simply because their skin was brown; they decided that being obedient to the Catholic church didn’t include suffering oppression. They decided to organize and protest; to engage the government in that rare thing, an open political dialog, held on the streets of Los Angeles.
These young people found a home at the Church of the Epiphany. They published a community newspaper in the basement, they organized and planned in the parish hall, they used the church for all manner of nearly-extinct cultural expression. With the encouragement and support of the clergy, John Luce, Roger Wood, and Oliver Garver, Epiphany became the home of the Chicano Movement.
Landmarks tell us who we are, they call us to a past that still lives, they call us to be the best of our own history. The Church of the Epiphany is fundamental to who we say we are as Americans. We can speak out at our government because of those who went before us, from the Old North Church in Boston, to the Haymarket in Chicago, to our own Church of the Epiphany in Lincoln Heights. This website and The Epiphany Conservation Trust, which sponsors it, are dedicated to keeping the ideals which so animated the lives and minds of the young women and men of the Chicano Movement alive in our own day. We will tell you something of our history (and yours), and tell you how we’re rebuilding this Shrine to the American quest for Human Rights.