North Carolina Church Wanted “Only White People” as Greeters

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

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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 agenerous 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.”

UPDATE at 2:15pm: 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.

628 comments
endtimebeliver
endtimebeliver

I had a personal experience myself which left me very suspicious of certain members of Christ presumed earthly church. I am of hispanic decent, long dark hair. I had conversed several times with a Christian radio talk show host live on daytime FM radio. I was a regular caller to debate certain issues. He even called me by a username. Anyhow, I have an American surname by marriage. I was so excited to meet him in person, that I drove to a church he was visiting. When I saw recognized him since we arranged a meeting place, I diligently went up to him as a innocent child excited to meet a person who you admire and respect, and proudly shook his hand. To my amazement, he was very cold with me, I could tell, he was not happy to finally meet me in person. Do I think it was my outward appearance that caught him off guard?

Well, yes of course. He knew who I was, I said it's so nice to meet you, it's me.......from.......and he just kept trying to avoid me, trying not to engage with me. Well, anyhow, it led me into a deep deep search for knowledge about scripture, who compiled it, what was there motive, was the translation of the Canon biased?  My conclusion is this: That "all" churches today are not from God, the Christian era ended in the first Century, Christ came and took his Church already in the first century. We are now awaiting his 2nd coming. We are living in the end time, we are part of the end times prophecy, when in Revelation, it states, God will pour out his spirit upon all flesh, only then will people be filled with the holy spirit, not now. This also will explain all the problems with the church today, the hundreds of denominations having differing views that split the church. This is not the way it was during Christs time.

The evil Roman Catholic church sprouts up and assumes the role of God's spokesman. They demand monetary payment in order for God to forgive your sins. How un-biblical is that? This is where our modern churches come from, from this corrupt entity. All mega churches are about money and power. I pray and hope God opens the eyes of the blind so you can understand and know that our future is not what the churches are teaching today, we only have the hope of everlasting life. We are not saved now, salvation ended in the first century and Christ already took Church as he said he would. If anyone is wondering why they do not feel love in the Church the way Christ and his Apostles taught it, now you know why.

We await a future prophecy yet to be fulfilled. We do not have the "Holy Spirit" at this time.

Acts 2:17

King James Bible
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.


Please do some research, don't take my word for it. Be like the Boreans, this applies to all people living. We can still learn from the bible and apply it's use for daily living, but Salvation was given to the 144,000 only as of yet

LisaKraig
LisaKraig

(beachboydave)
"Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church."

"Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence"  

That's from a book that has been interpreted by men for ages. More and more people are becoming aware that the Bible has been misinterpreted to oppress women. Nowhere in any version of it, does it specifically state that women should not be pastors or leaders in a church.  

But, focusing on the topic, racism or favoring a race over others, for a certain position or function is just plain wrong, period.


herculesunique
herculesunique

Maybe they were afraid black greeters would attack white parishioners when they saw them? Seems to be a lot of that going around in NY right  now.

RoyStone
RoyStone

Probably good intentions gone awry, and a misleading headline screwing up even more.  

NoirVie
NoirVie

This is not unusual behavior for someone who desires to be "accepted" by a white majority.  She's going overboard to prove in some way that she's in concert with what she believes the church wants.  It's really very sad... in this day and age... that she suffers from the remnants of  "the good slave mentality."

AprilWhite-wolff
AprilWhite-wolff

I asked Rev Butts of the Abyssynian Baptist Church in Harlem, "is there still segregation in New York City?" A communal intake of breath, unidentifiable. "In Atlanta..." he began. Then a double take: "Yes. Not official, of course. In policing. In employment, in housing... (Four black families in my Central Park West apt building. I had to inform  the NY Time's public editor the new census showed Manhattan as lily white, even Harlem gentrified into being majority white.) "In schools, and in churches." Not to mention synagogues, but probably not mosques. Don't know. I, along with other white southerners from EVERY southern state, was in the civil rights movement.  Has anyone written an article on us? Will they before we die? Most of my friends already have. Cordell Black and myself, April White, linked arms and sang "Black and white together". Charlie Jones left his church in Chapel HIllm which wouldn't integrate,  to start the Community Church, integrated. Though an atheist I went  a few times for the ambience. Basically Christ was a socialist. Yankees love to hold onto racist southerners. Take a look at The Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map. Sign up for alerts. Ask PBS to do a show on white southerners in the movement  before we all die. Guess what? MLK's dream of white and black farmers eating lunch together. They do in Eastern NC in filling stations with menus in Spanish and tables with lunch. Where black and farmers eat lunch and talk, joking and laughing at the same table.  I LOVE it!  More KKK in Northern Michigan than NC. Talk about racism in New York for a change. Or California, with the most sites. The Help was on here in NYC for almost a year, The Central Park Five for less than a month.  

juju554
juju554

This is just my opinion but I think maybe there are less white church members and the pastor was hoping to gain more white members.  The way it was addressed was wrong I agree but in my opinion only now...don't shoot me...I believe more people of color feel a need to draw close to God because of their hardships.  Granted the lighter persuasion feel a need to draw close when they have hardships as well...but as a norm as I have observed...when folks are doing alright...they don't turn to God and this country has been color blind for centuries.  So in my opinion...opportunities are offered to those who resemble the one offering. Very few really take the time to learn scripture and establish a personal relationship with God.

rebeccapistiner
rebeccapistiner

Stop throwing stones at her. Or don't you live in a glass house? LOL (Hypocrites!)

ahandout
ahandout

This article is BS.  This Time writer should be fired along with the editor that ran that headline.

granni56
granni56

First of all the church is still the most segregated part of our Country on Sunday for a reason, to keep us separated, and also to keep Blacks from identifying who we are, and as far as Apostle Paul he is a big contradiction about the race and the gender thing he talks about in Galations , when he clearly stated in Romans 12:16 that he himself was Crafty and full of Guile ( Trickery), to make the Israelite Slaves believe they were the unrighteous and he and the other Gentiles were the righteous, that is why he changed the law of Moses, so before we put stock into what this gospel (according) to Paul says , we need to make sure we are not brainwashed before we read that Bible, so we can read it with clarity, and this lady who is a product of the brainwashing technique that the Churches has being doing to Blacks during Slavery and long after Slavery, she haven't realized yet that we're separated on Sundays because Whites refuse to be taught by Blacks ,but Blacks need to be taught by Whites to keep them believing in the pie in the sky theory, while the White churches are kept fully endowed with the riches of this world, starting with the Roman Catholic Church, it's not that the Bible is not relevant, it's just that it isn't taught with relevancy to the Black people!

Flareman2020
Flareman2020

Not such a shocker to me. I work with many black businesspeople who prefer to put a "white face" on their marketing materials for the same reason. I disagree with that practice, and when I try to encourage them to be more inclusive, I often get stiff resistance. Never-ending cycle of fear: We are afraid that whites are afraid to do business (or participate in church) with us.

justamick49
justamick49

I'm looking forward to joining in with the greeters who I'm sure are a large group of diverse white people or diversely white people or white people of diversity. Not sure really.

nfoengineer
nfoengineer

The message of today's christian church is so polluted. Over the years, it has been transformed into something that has lost its original intent. The Bible has been translated over the years and those translators applied their own cultural perspective/bias to the original meaning of scripture. What we end up with today falls so short of the original message. I can go on and on but I will stop here. CHECK YOUR CHURCH HISTORY PEOPLE and you will understand what I am saying.

GEORGE56
GEORGE56

White is a color so just say we'll have "Colored Folk" at the door. 

lakeshore427
lakeshore427

I thought affirmative action was a good thing?

beachboydave
beachboydave

First of all, the bible forbids females to be pastors, sorry it does read it.

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.


Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.1



jimmyharpoon
jimmyharpoon

The pastor is more interested in marketing than she is in lost souls.

whotheF_i_is
whotheF_i_is

Sometimes I read things like this and I just sit here somber,  thinking about how bleak it all is, knowing that there is always going to be people like this creating situations like this. I'd like to hope and think that there is a whole world of people like me out there- that could care less about what color is on anyone.

response_my
response_my

I am a black resident of North Carolina.  Unfortunately, I am not surprised at this story.  Since I have moved here, I have noticed that the balck church here has bred insecurity into the black community.  Actions like this are further evidence of this.

ariyanford
ariyanford

ok all i have to say is who in the world does this...if i recall during the biblical days the bible said "come as you are" not come to a church fool of white greeters i mean im not racist but their's a whole lot of racism going on in the world and a church where your suppose to welcome everyone of all races no matter what there age,shape or size is...I tell you in today's world we  really don't need this type of animosity the world is bad enough without adding the extra negativism...its a shame that pastors act the way they do or say the things they say we all are not perfect but only god can judge her -case close-

art.palmer
art.palmer

White greeters only ??? Black members,white members,Native American members,even Green people with pink spots,who in hell cares...Sounds like a simple takeover...I have seen it many times,when I was a regular church member...Now I am a non believer,and the fights between members,made me come to my decision, not to attend any religious services...If I want to fight,my wife is the best to fight with...She can kick my ass any day of the week,and seven times on sunday...art

RobPatton
RobPatton

Just put a white and a black greeter at the door and be done with it. Show the diversity if that's what  you want to people to see. 


jadiree
jadiree

The first problem is that they have a woman pastor.  Evangelist, I can see...pastor? No wonder.

GinaPogol
GinaPogol

Wow. This is bizarre. Maybe they should just put the African American greeters in "white face."

hazziesbaby
hazziesbaby

I dont understand why anyone lets hate run through their veins, over a difference in skin color. Just because one race learned  how to be greedy selfish bullies before the rest  does not make them intelligent.

NoirVie
NoirVie

@AprilWhite-wolff 

I know what's in your heart and have seen many white southerners who participated in the fight for Civil Rights back in the 60's.  No question about the vivid documentaries I recently viewed on PBS. You are not forgotten by this "freedom fighter."  My grandmother was a "kitchen girl" at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC when was only 14 years old.....so I know a little about that area too.  

wsci
wsci

@granni56  You do not have the correct passage and you are not taking the Bible in context.  First, Romans 12:16 states, "LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ONE ANOTHER.  DO NOT BE PROUD, BUT BE WILLING TO ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE OF LOW POSITION.  DO NOT BE CONCEITED.".....   The verse you were trying to twist is actually from 2 Corinthians 12:16-18 which is Paul quoting from the lips of his enemies to prove those people wrong about....Paul says " Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! 17 Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you? 18 I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?"..              If you read the WHOLE CHAPTERS and reference the historical and literary context within the Bible, and NOT take tiny pieces to construe, then you can find God's message which can be summed up with "For God so LOVED the WORLD, that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him WILL NEVER DIE, BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!"  John 3:16...... That, my friend is the GOOD NEWS FOR ALL PEOPLE!  May God bless you!

Gmaof4
Gmaof4

If you're gonna quote scripture, then you need to get it right!! GOD DID NOT SAY THAT PAUL DID...if you would READ THE WHOLE BBLE you would see that GOD USED WOMEN AS WELL AS MEN to speak his word...stop taking scriptures out of context and get an understanding. GOD WILL USE WHOMEVER HE CHOOSES...regardless of what sex they are.

FairnessForAll1
FairnessForAll1

@beachboydave You are so correct.  The bible is so bigoted, racist, sexist---you name it (as are other religious tomes).  And, it is no wonder since it was written by male chauvinist pigs.  They were right--an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  This is why I have renounced all religion.  A mighty, loving God would not associate with these types.

nfoengineer
nfoengineer

@beachboydave The Bible may state this but "who" made the statement? Jesus who is God in the flesh did not forbid women. This is the result of a cultural bias against women in the Hebrew tradition which has carried over to western man and other cultures. Both man and woman are made in the image of God. Therefore, men and women are equal in the eyes of God because he made them both of his own Divine will and essence. I am a male and have come to realize this.

response_my
response_my

@beachboydave  The problem is not that the pastor is a woman!  The problem is that the pastor's statements enable a racial group to be discriminated against.  We do not need for religious institutions to encourage discrimination whether that is on the basis of race or on sex.  It does not matter to me whether a pastor is male or female as long as that pastor is not encouraging discrimination.

whotheF_i_is
whotheF_i_is

@response_my Im sorry you have to see things like this in your area, I hope that if anything, this article brings awareness to other congregations and churches that may have a pastor doing this without realizing it. Its very unfortunate and I hope some good comes from this either way.

Gmaof4
Gmaof4

Smh.... The woman who sent the email wasn't the senior pastor of the church and amuse me with your ignorance....what's wrong with a woman pastor? GOD WILL USE WHOMEVER HE WANTS

Openminded1
Openminded1

@GinaPogol I have noticed in my 63 years of life most girls,ladies named Gina all seem  to be attractive , Including you, must be the Italian and sometimes spanish thing. Have to do research on that how that seems to be the case at least for me where i have met and know at least 17 Ginas over my life time. happy to get off this other bs subject.

UnkleRuckus
UnkleRuckus

@hazziesbaby Actually, it does. Because ALL other races were building stone structures, even the South American Indians who were last to settle after the Great Migration, while the negro sat around scratching its butt for tens of thousands of years. IQ tests demonstrate that the negro has the "least efficient" cognitive abilities. If not for foreigners every single African would still be half naked in mud huts. Humans would be colonizing mars and the negro would still be carrying water in jugs over their heads.

jeffsmccabe
jeffsmccabe

@hazziesbaby you dont know many people do you.  One race before the rest?  Expand your mind to take in a world view.  

BillLandis
BillLandis

@wsci @granni56 - I believe part of the point of @granni56 is that many people use the Bible (whether taken in or out of context) to help them 'divide & conquer' and 'keep people in their place'.  

Thanks to @wsci for helping to clarify and emphasize that point while simultaneously offering a little Bible lesson.

nfoengineer
nfoengineer

@ahandout @beachboydave Thanks so much ahandout for making this clear. I hope beachboydave has a beter understading and his narrow mind has been broadened. He needs to take this to his church and enlighten its leadership and members.

ronajrny
ronajrny

@response_my @beachboydave The problem is not women pastors or racial discrimination. The problem with the Bible is the Bible thumpers, precisely as beachboydave demonstrated above. Jesus taught love and tolerance for all. Religions have corrupted His teachings with their aberrated interpretations of the Bible. For a person of color to have not only said this, but put it in writing goes to show how brainwashed these fanatics are. Then, as if that isn't bad enough, she and the leadership go even further in trying to actually JUSTIFY it. Astounding.

response_my
response_my

@whotheF_i_is @response_my  Thanks for your comments.  It is really good to see that there are people who realize that this type of situation is a problem.  Had this information not made it to the national news media, the leaders in this particular church would probably have never acknowledged that there was a problem in this church.

NoirVie
NoirVie

@UnkleRuckus @hazziesbaby 

You have got to be kidding!  Do you know anything about African American history and the inventions that were stolen from us?