The church has played a significant role in the community life of Lincoln Heights and surrounding neighborhoods since its founding in 1888, most notably becoming a center of Latino culture and social justice work beginning in the 1960’s and hosting: the Los Angeles base for Cesar Chavez’ United Farm Workers Movement; La Raza, the Chicano civil rights movement; the local headquarters for presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy’s campaign. Now under the stewardship of the Society of St. Francis, the church continues its century-long tradition of non-denominational community service by hosting programs including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, the Wall – Las Memorias Project serving Latino populations affected by HIV/AIDS, Equality California, a food bank, health and fitness programs, day care, and immigrant rights forums. In addition to its place in the history of the struggle for civil rights and community service, the Church of the Epiphany comprises two beautifully crafted buildings which have fallen into disrepair. In 2011 a trust was created to help restore these two structures and revive the community programs they host.
The first phase of the restoration work will include: installation of a commercial kitchen that will enable the church to better serve the community; handicapped accessibility upgrades; stone facade repair; structural foundation work; repair of windows and the building envelope; new mechanical and electrical systems; new flooring; and other general repair work. The second phase of work will focus on the church sanctuary including structural reinforcing, stained glass window restoration, installation of a heating system; restoration of the historic pipe organ; restoration of interior woodwork and finishes; and other repair projects on the interior and exterior of the building.