A black pastor at a multi-racial church in Charlotte, North Carolina is facing scrutiny for an email she sent in which she requested that all the greeters at Sunday services be white.
In the email obtained by WBTV, the executive pastor of operations, Makeda Pennycooke, wrote “we are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line … [s]o we would like to ask that only white people be on the front doors. We would rather have less greeters on the front door if it means that the few that we have will represent us the best.”
White people, Pastor Pennycooke’s orders implied, represented “the best of the best” of the congregation.
Upon receiving this email, one congregant, Carmen Thomas, contacted local news outlets. “I was floored,” she said. “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.”
A church spokeswoman confirmed that Pastor Pennycooke sent the email, but emphasized that an apology was sent out almost immediately:
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 pastors have been meeting with staff and church members to confirm their commitment to diversity and to ensure nothing like this happens again.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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