Outrage After Black Pastor Wants "Only White" Greeters at Church

A church pastor said she wanted "the best of the best to be on front."

Posted: 09/04/2013 09:12 AM EDT

Church should be the last place where skin color matters, but a recent email sent to Freedom House Church volunteers asking for "only white" greeters at their front doors has placed the religious institution in the middle of controversy. 

Pastor Makeda Pennycooke, who is African-American, sent the message to a group of volunteers who serve as greeters. The senior pastors of Freedom House, Troy and Penny Maxwell, are white. "We anticipate having an increase in the number of people visiting and attending Freedom House over the next few weeks," Pastor Pennycooke said in the email, according to WBTV.

Pennycooke went on to write that "first impressions matter" and says the church wants "the best of the best on the front doors," according to the email. "We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line."

"Like it was a jaw dropper," said Carmen Thomas, a church volunteer for the past two years who sent the email to the station. "You can put a white face all over the front door. But when you come through those doors, you're going to see African-Americans, you're gonna see Asians. You're going to see people of color."

Since the incident, the church sent out a statement saying, "It was a mistake to over-emphasize any specific group" and sent an apology email.

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(Photo: Courtesy WBTV News)

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