Help Wanted: White Greeters Only

A North Carolina pastor has caused outrage by asking in an email that “only white people” serve as greeters before services. Sent to church volunteers, the email indicated that Freedom House Church was expecting more visitors in the near future and suggested that, because “first impressions matter,” only “the best of the best” receive visitors at its front doors. What makes the revelation so startling is that its author, lead pastor Makeda Pennycooke, is a black woman.

The email cited the church’s desire to “bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line.” Carmen Thomas, a church member who received the email, quickly fired it off along with a note expressing her displeasure to local television station WBTV. Thomas said it was clear to her that church leaders feel the congregation is “too black.”

While the church issued an immediate apology, the pastor’s intent seemed clear. Ms. Thomas believes the church’s crass behavior was a thinly veiled attempt to recruit more white members whom it apparently believes are more likely to fill church coiffeurs. “Perhaps you believe that with a certain congregation that eventually your finances are going to run out because maybe we aren’t the moneymakers,” she said.

She has stopped attending church services and removed her daughter from all church activities.