Image-conscious church wanted ‘only white’ greeters

Time reports…

“Freedom House Church did not seem all that free this weekend.

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.”

An outraged church member received the email and sent it to local news  station WBTV. The controversy is complicated because Pennycooke is a black  woman, while senior pastors Troy and Penny Maxwell are white. Nonetheless, the  church’s request was hard to misinterpret. ”We are continuing to work to  bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line,” Pennycooke  wrote. ”We would rather have less greeters on the front door if it means  that the few that we have will represent us the best.”

Freedom House, a diverse church in north Charlotte, has already apologized  for the incident. “The email was sent by one of our longtime pastors in an  attempt to emphasize that our greeting team reflect the racial diversity of our  entire congregation,” a church spokesperson wrote in a statement to WBTV. “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.”

Freedom House has four services every weekend. Five values drive its mission,  according to the church website: “We are  an equipping church (Ephesians 4:11-13); a relationally  healthy church (Matthew 18:19-20); an excellent church (Daniel  6:3); a leadership church; and a generous church (Proverbs  11:24-25).”

If anything, the incident serves as a reminder of another biblical passage,  Apostle Paul’s teaching that the Christian gospel breaks down all barriers  between humans. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or  free, there is no longer male and female,” he wrote in the New Testament book of  Galatians. “All of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

Here is the full statement and apology  from Freedom House regarding the incident.

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.”


3 thoughts on “Image-conscious church wanted ‘only white’ greeters

  1. There are a lot of more backwards states than South Carolina and North Carolina. This doesn’t represent the entire state, just this church.


  2. Just another example of N.C. challenging S.C. for the title of “Most Backward State”. It’s getting to the point that I am ashamed to admit that N.C. is my birth state. Sad and sorry is the only way to describe what was once such a beautiful state.


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