In an email, Pastor Makeda Pennycooke of Freedom House in Charlotte said "first impressions matter," and the church wants "the best of the best on the front doors."
"We anticipate having an increase in the number of people visiting and attending Freedom House over the next few weeks," she wrote. "We are continuing to work to bring our racial demographic pendulum back to mid-line, so we would like to ask that only white people be on the front doors."
Carmen Thomas, a member at Freedom House for two years, was appalled.
"I was floored," she recalled. "Like it was a jaw dropper. 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."
The church said the pastor apologized, and released a full statement that said Pennycooke was writing because "the greeting team was no longer reflecting the racial diversity of our entire congregation."
"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," the statement continued. "She admits this was a grave lapse in judgment and is sincerely sorry for her actions."