Appearing less that expressing total freedom, Pastor Makeda Pennycooke – an African North Carolina preacher at Freedom House in Charlotte, NC – requested that church greeters be white only, according to a UPI report on Tuesday.
Pastor Pennycooke requested that the people who greet church guests and members be only white because – as she stated in a church email – first impressions matter and the church would like to have only the best of the best on the front doors.
Her email went on to say that the church anticipates having an increase in the number of people visiting and attending Freedom House over the next few weeks and that the church is continuing to work to bring its racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line. It is for that reason that only white people were being requested on the front doors.
The backlash since the racist email from Pennycooke has been obviously very negative to the communication. One church member, Carmen Thomas, said that she was floored by the email. She claimed that you can put a white face all over the front door, but when you enter Freedom House church, you are going to see African Americans, Asians, and other people of color.
The pastor has apologized and released a statement which says the greeters were no longer reflecting the racial diversity of our entire congregation. She admitted to making an error and is sorry for her actions.
While Pennycooke is a black woman, the senior pastors at the church – Tray and Penny Maxwell – are white. Freedom House is said to be a diverse church in the northern portion of Charlotte.
Here is the statement of explanation and apology from Freedom House:
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.