North Carolina Black Pastor Wanted Only White Greeters at Church Doors [Details]

Rucuss staffSeptember 4, 2013

An African-American pastor of Freedom House Church in Charlotte, N.C. church came under over the weekend for requesting only white people greet  at the front doors.

Makeda Pennycooke, the church’s executive pastor of operations, sent an email to church volunteers asking that “only white people” greet worshippers at church services. The email said that leaders anticipated an increased number of visitors in the coming weeks, and that since “first impressions matter,” the church wants “the best of the best on the front doors.”

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The dreadlocked pastor made the unusual request to attract more Caucasian members to the church, Atlanta journal Constitution reports. An outraged church member received the email and sent it to a local news station. The controversy is complicated because Pennycooke is a black woman, while senior pastors Troy and Penny Maxwell are white.

After the backlash, Pennycooke and church leadership apologized for the email. Read their apology below.

One of our longtime pastors, in keeping with our church’s desire to be inclusive and intentionally reach out to all races, noticed our front door greeting team was no longer reflecting the racial diversity of our entire congregation, and she wanted potential visitors to see people like themselves upon entering our church. However, she made an error in judgment in requesting all white greeters at the front door, going overboard in placing emphasis on any one race over another in trying to highlight diversity within the greeting team.

She admits this was a grave lapse in judgment and is sincerely sorry for her actions. She immediately apologized and has asked our forgiveness. She and senior pastors have made themselves available to meet with any church members who want to discuss this situation with them, and have communicated their true heart in this matter — to be a church welcoming and inclusive to all.  Freedom House believes in a diverse relationship within its membership, reflecting the larger community in which the church resides, doing life together as a church representative of everyone — culturally, ethnically, economically, and generationally.

Freedom House has four services every weekend. Will the apology be enough to keep their large congregation in tact?

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