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Hyepin Im on Aimee Semple McPherson

“Be a light in the world.”

AIMEE SEMPLE McPHERSON was a celebrity evangelist, famous for founding the Angelus Temple, an original megachurch. A savvy businesswoman, Aimee was the first woman to use radio to preach the gospel. In fact she owned her own station and was as popular as Babe Ruth and FDR. During the Great Depression she opened a 24-hour commissary feeding and clothing anyone in need, welcoming people of all religions and backgrounds, including immigrants who were often shunned by other organizations. Known for her dramatic preaching, ecumenical spirit and broad-minded charity McPherson had tremendous influence. Minister Hyepin Im tells the story of this remarkable woman whose message was “to be a light in the world, to do good so that the world would seek your company and your partnership.”

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.

Storyteller

Hyepin Im

Ms. Hyepin Im is a former U.S. Presidential Appointee on the Board of the Corporation for National and Community Service and serves as President and Founder of Faith and Community Empowerment (formerly KCCD), a national nonprofit involved in empowering churches and nonprofits to leverage their resources by building capacity, leadership, and partnerships in economic development and serving as a bridge between the Asian American community and the greater community at large. Since its inception in 2001, FACE has had over 700 partners, ranging from the White House to Fortune 500 companies.
Ms. Im is a frequent speaker who has been on CNN and NPR and who has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. She serves on the Mayor’s Interfaith Collective, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Metro-Urban Institute Advisory Council, U.S. Army Advisory Board, and Board Member of Greenlining Institute.
In 2012, she was honored as Woman of Action by California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez. She was selected twice as Pioneer Woman of the Year by Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilmember Tom Labonge. She was also recognized by LAUSD School Boardmember as a Trailblazer for her work and advocacy for students. Los Angeles Magazine featured Ms. Im as “Ten Inspirational Women of Los Angeles in their September 2013 issue. Her previous positions include venture capitalist for Renaissance Capital Partners, Sponsorship Manager for California Science Center, and Senior Auditor at Ernst & Young. She has a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley, M.B.A. from University of Southern California, and M.Div., summa cum laude, from Wesley Theological Seminary.

Featured Woman

Aimee Semple McPherson

Aimee Semple McPherson was a depression-era evangelical minister, a titanic force in religious ministry. She is known as the first woman to preach the gospel using the radio and only the second woman to own her own station. She founded the Foursquare Church and Angelus Temple, which stands today in Los Angeles. Considered by some at the time to be the world’s greatest living minister, she expressed herself through profound and powerful sermons. Aimee was as popular as Babe Ruth and FDR in her time. Her messages were grounded in Biblical word and dictated “a pathway to be a light in the world, to do good in the world that the world would seek your company and your partnership.” Although wildly theatrical, McPherson was a compassionate, capable and strategic leader. She opened a commissary to aid all victims in need, open all day, seven days a week. She passed away in 1944 from an accidental overdose. Her non-denominational church thrives today as part of the mainstream Pentacostal World Fellowship movement.