“White greeters only” was the message sent by a church in north Charlotte, which has made it the center of a racial controversy this weekend. This comes after its executive pastor, who is African-American, sent an email to church volunteers requesting that “only white people” greet newcomers to the Church.
Makeda Pennycooke is the executive pastor of operations at the Freedom House Church. She works at the Church with Troy and Penny Maxwell who are white.
In the email, Pennycooke tries to impress upon the recipients that “first impressions matter,” wanting to have “the best of the best on the front doors,” greeting worshippers and potential new members to the Church.
WBTV, the local news station in Charlotte, received the email from a disgusted church member. In the curious e-mail, sent to all church members on her email list, she continued: “We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line. We would rather have less greeters on the front door if it means that the few that we have will represent us the best,” in other words, “white greeters only please.”
Following the email, the Church promptly apologized for the incident. This is the initial statement the church sent to WBTV: “The email was sent by one of our long-time pastors in an attempt to emphasize that our greeting team reflect the racial diversity of our entire congregation. However, she admitted it was a mistake to over-emphasize any specific group and sent an apology email within 24 hours of the original email going out.”
After that initial short statement the Freedom House Church sent out a full statement regarding their position on the matter, to the media:
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.
What do you think about the email sent to church goers by Pastor Pennycooke? And what about her message to the congregation that she thinks that “white greeters only” are the best thing for the church. Your comments in the feed below.