“Only White People” As Church Greeters

By: Allie Herald - September 3, 2013

Many churches pride themselves in being an open door to people of all races, backgrounds, ages and color. However, a church in North Carolina has suddenly caused a lot of stir.

Executive pastor Makeda Pennycooke, an African-American, sent out an email to a list of her church’s volunteers, asking that “only white people” greet those attending the church services at Freedom House Church. She said that “the best of the best” should be at the front doors and that “first impressions matter”. We learned this when the email that Pennycooke sent out was showed to local news station WBTV by a woman who received the email .

The email also said ”We would rather have less greeters on the front door if it means that the few that we have will represent us the best.”

It was reported that executive pastor Makeda Pennycooke sent out the email saying “white greeters only” because she was in the mindset that her church needed to attract more white people to worship at Freedom House Church.

When news leaked that this incident had taken place, the church sent out a sincere apology. Pennycooke has also apologized for her actions. A member of the church told WBTV, “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. 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.”

The church also told WBTV, “The pastors have been meeting with staff and church members to confirm their commitment to diversity and to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

In this day and age you would think that racist comments would become obsolete but unfortunately, this may be sign we take two steps forward and one step back in the fight against racism.

[Image via Youtube]
Allie Herald

About the Author

Allie HeraldAllie Herald is a full time student and loves to write. There is no place she would rather be than at the beach or spending time with her labradoodle.

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  • Reality

    People are under some illusion that there is a “best” or that some people are better than others. The reality of the world is that the good people of this world are not that good and the bad are not that bad.

    We like to point our fingers at other people and say we are better than others, but in reality, if you put yourself in an other person’s shoes you quickly realize that you could become exactly like that person under the right circumstances.

    I know in my life I have seen so called awful, criminal people do amazingly good things and conversely, I have seen so called law biding, upstanding people do the most horrible things.

    In the end, most people are hypocrites and greatly over estimate their goodness. Funny thing is Christ knew all of this long ago.

    • http://Yahoo HJII

      This is so stupid! The pastor should be removed immediately! It would make more sense if the greeters were “pickpockets”. That’s all
      a lot of churches what anyway, Money!

    • Larry

      Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

  • George

    They will all be greeted by a black when they get to heaven. Probably they would would choose hell! Who knows!!

  • Gail

    Carolina has more than its share of racists. Just last week, 25 black people were told to leave a restaurant because one white diner was “uncomfortable” with their presence. And this is 2013, for God’s sake. It doesn’t matter who’s talking trash; this pastor is as racist as anyone else, and it is just pitiful.

  • http://apple/yahoo jabberwocky1

    what?! let me get this right–an african american church executive wants white only greeters?! this sounds like a saturday night live skit! has she looked in the mirror lately? or maybe this is a chapelle skit with a blind black person who thinks he’s white and joins the kkk!! no wonder people are not buying into this type of religion much anymore.

    • Lauen

      It’s not the religion, this is a specific person. Its not fair to stereotype the faith because of the actions of a few. God is the God of many nations. In the bible, when Moses married an Ethiopian woman and his sister complained about it, she was chastised by God Himself. I’m black and go to a predominantly white church yet on some Sundays all the greeters end up being black lol. It just works out that way with the volunteers sometimes and we’ve got nothing but love in our church family.

      • James

        There is something very wrong with religion. With this one especially. I have spent (wasted) 6 years of my life being a member of a church whose specific goal was to generate Republican voters. I am not nor ever will be a member of the party of lies and deception. And I did not enjoy going to church on Sunday to hear the same thing I could have tuned into Fox News for. The whole thing about truth escaped our little community church who was trying to scare people into religion by threatening hell and damnation. They soiled themselves and pissed themselves and drooled while shaking all the while proclaiming the Holy Spirit was taking over their bodies. They also lied on a daily basis about the age of the world and insisted on alienating the intellectuals amongst us. What they really catered to was rich AND stupid. They stopped helping the poor because they were conservatives. I could go on and on but it would do no good. Religion in short is what Jesus stood against.

        • cathy

          There is something very wrong with all religions. They are all cults to bend and extort the people into their will and to make money. No matter WHAT the race.

          Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, as I have had my own experiences. Religion is something that I just don’t buy into though.

          • Larry

            Cathy I really have to agree with you. I feel organized religion has become apostate. I to, believe in God, but having seen what religions expect, I would rather take my chances outside of church.

      • Ree

        I was born into a christian family. It’s the religion. I grew up with a lot of friends of different races, religions, and nationalities. We could be friends and hang out and do everything together. But not on Sundays.

  • cindyd

    Sounds like she was trying to have her largely African American congregation look diverse to the white community..she should have had a greeter of each race that attends if she wanted that…OR Just not put it in those terms…asking a few white people to be greeters in private. BUT if you REALLY ARE diverse…It shouldn’t matter:) Diversity isn’t a population thing…it is part of you…

  • FlipQ

    This is just too funny.

  • http://WebProNews jeezwiz

    This pastor is a racist. She only wanted white greeters. And she calls this Freedom House Church. I don’t see how it’s freedom if she is being a racist and only wants white greeters. She ought to be a shame of herself.

  • Mcflyer54

    You just gotta love some of these Christians. Jesus was not a fair skinned blond with blue eyes. Would Pennycooke have allowed him to be a greeter? If I was a member who found out that I wasn’t the “best” and couldn’t be a greeter because of my race I’d soon be looking for a new church.

    • Chris C

      You don’t know anything about Jesus’ skin complexion or anything really. There are no hard facts. The belief in faith alone is a belief that is not represented and proven by fact; however, faith by definition is the belief in something without any evidence to back it up. I don’t have faith because I am not an idiot. Apparently, you seem to have some sort of false information about a person who was supposedly the son of god a very long time ago. Either way, have a nice day.

  • Mimi

    Having greeters of both races would make a deeper impact.

  • Obama

    this is offensive to BET and the NAACP !

  • Bird

    Maybe her intent was good, but her actions were misguided. She should have prayed and thought about this before sending out an email message. Churches want to draw membership from the community, but alienating current members is not the way to achieve that goal.

  • dwight

    I don’t get it. What’s the problem??

  • Faye King

    Churchs depend on tithe to survive.
    Tithe equals ten percent of your annual income.
    The pastor was attempting to attract new members who actually had income, as opposed to just more welfare people. She’s not racist, she’s just trying to do what’s best for the church.
    You would think that the freeloaders would applaud her effort, but as usual, they don’t appreciate anything that anyone does for them, and they just keep demanding more, as they take, take, take.
    GOD knows the Heart people, and what the freeloaders haven’t learned is that, “it is better to give than to receive”.
    They should try giving sometime; they just might receive a blessing from GOD, and learn that receiving from GOD, is better than taking from the church.

  • nunya

    The typical “racism” story featured by good old race baiting yahoo. Next up…the obligatory “gay” story.

  • mac

    It’s just good business. A little black church full of welfare recipients will go under. Whites bring money into the church, but won’t even look in the door if all they see is black faces on the front steps. Get over it! The races are not equal, and won’t be equal, no matter how PC a few people try to act.

  • Bridget

    I’m white and attended a black church for a time-turned out I wasn’t “good” enough-don’t have $$$ either. Black people are the most racist of all.

  • kenny

    It seems to be more of a ‘Marketing Thing’ than a ‘Racial Thing’. That pastor was trying to bring a specific demographic into her church, so she was trying to market to that demographic. Was it cheesy? Yeah, probably. Was it racist? I see no racist intent whatsoever. But, we live in a world where every single word or action is under microscopic scrutiny for racist intent. Totally ridiculous.

  • Steven

    I don’t beleive in organized religion and after reading some of the comments, it doesn’t make want to join any. Some of you claim to be Christian, non christian, Muslims or Buddhaism fate, however, you are the first to “sin” by talking bad about your fellow man.

    If you go to church and think like that, you are simply an hypocrite.

    As for the “white” greeters, the church’s pastor doesn’t deserve to be a pastor.

    • http://yahoo Abe Lincoln

      You believe anything, don’t you CHUMP!

    • Disciple of Christ

      All of us are sinners that is why we need Jesus in the first place. Are their hypocrites in the church, yes? My challenge to you is to read the Gospel of John and Paul’s letter to the Romans.

    • Ree

      HONESTLY!!! I hear you, man! I was born and raised Christian, and I’ve seen more morality and equality and Christ-like attitudes from pagans than ANY christian I’ve met, even those in my family. Christians will hate foreigners, gays, women, people of different colors and then point a finger at pagans and call them “wrong” and sinners. The only ‘sin’ they committed was accepting all the people the christian church hates.

  • http://yahoo Abe Lincoln

    I gotta believe a “DIM”ocrat with a full pack of race cards wrote this bogus article.

  • Ree

    And seriously, with the attitudes and hatred of christians, they’d probably be better accepting members willing to be associated with them at all, because most of us hear “christian” and are automatically turned off. So…. if anyone is still willing to BE a christian, you might not want to tell them their inferior members to other members. Just saying.

    • http://facebook Rhonda

      Ree, you propose to know her thoughts, motives, and heart. Jesus says before you look at the splinter in another’s eye you look at the log in yours and deal with it using love and compassion. Only she knows her thoughts and her motives. Now, look at your true motive behind your words. Humans often speak “in forked tongue”!

  • http://Yhaoo J.W. Michelle

    This is a problem with all churches or religions or with the human race in genral. We are just that, Human. It is a lot easier to hate than to forgive. The strongest among us will be those that can forgive.

  • http://DON'TCARE SAM


    • http://facebook Rhonda

      She is trying to keep people out of hell. Unfortunately, our country fails to recognize nor care that evil is rampant. Look at her viewpoint. She wants whites as well as blacks to feel comfortable in her congregation. Racism is a two-way street.Maybe, is we disregard terms like “African American” and refer to all Americans as a unit then we can begin to relax together even though there are cultural differences. I do not call her actions racist! We are “Americans” first and foremost!

      • Negrete

        You, Rhonda, are a moron. Now, have a nice day.

  • http://DON'TCARE SAM


  • Corinthian Washington

    Black people and White people should have separate churches. Racial integration has been a failure wherever it has been tried. All the wishing and praying isn’t going to change that fact. Blacks and Whites have different cultures, different styles of worship,etc. Wanting to be with your own kind isn’t evil, forcing people who don’t want to be together is. I call for respect at a distance.