A remarkable story is told of evangelist-church planter Aimee Semple McPherson (born at Salford, Ontario in 1890 and died at Oakland, California in 1944)
It was during her itinerant ministry days and before the establishment of Angelus Temple and an enormous radio and publishing enterprise. She was in Winnipeg at the invitation of several churches. She arrived much earlier than the appointed meeting times, and asked where she might find the sinners in that city.
The pastors, cleared their throats and suggested that perhaps it would be inappropriate to take a woman to such a place.
“Well, what’s it all about, men? Where is this place?”
“Oh, Sister Aimee, it is a dark district filled with prostitutes and the men who feed the wicked industry.”
“That’s just where I want to go, sirs!”
The scene shifts to a street corner in late afternoon with Aimee on the sidewalk and a place cleared for her to speak. Women with over-much make-up and garish clothes observe from a distance. She speaks of a Saviour who comes to bless and to heal the sick, not to flatter or coddle the self-righteous. Her clear, frank and assertive speaking voice seems much unlike the manner of other church women seen by these prostitutes. She reminds the listeners that Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but rather that through him the world might be saved. She walks toward a few of these women. Asks their names. Shakes their hands. Suggests that her meeting will begin at such-and-such a time and at such-and-such a place. Then she is gone.
That evening as Aimee delivers the Good News, she scans the crowd for faces recognizable from the afternoon’s visit. She is not disappointed.
(Told as recalled from ”This is That”, Aimee Semple McPherson, Echo Park Evangelistic Association Inc.)
(Kathie Lee Gifford and friends have brought to life a Broadway musical Scandalous about the life and controversy of Aimee Semple McPherson.)