Houston Church Denies Rumors Regarding Closing Doors on Storm Victims

Anita Tucker
August 31, 2017

The mega-ist of American megachurches is Lakewood Church in Houston, led by senior pastor Joel Osteen.

Osteen's megachurch can seat around 17,000 people - three times the capacity of George R. Brown Convention Center, where more than 9,000 people stayed the night (the convention center's official capacity is 5,000).

As you may've heard, the famed Texas pastor was met with backlash this week after allegations accused the Lakewood Church of closing its doors to Hurricane Harvey evacuees. Osteen denied that his church turned away anyone seeking shelter, though the church tweeted throughout the weekend that it was "inaccessible" and not conducting services.

In an interview with the Today show Wednesday morning, Osteen said that his church has worked with the city in the past, but that the city didn't reach out to use them as a shelter before Hurricane Harvey hit.

On Tuesday, the church announced it would begin receiving people who need shelter. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives". Right before we took it there was six to eight feet of water in the main auditorium.

After reiterating that the church is a distribution center for flood relief, Osteen said his Sunday sermon will focus on the positive.

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Osteen said that the church had also flooded, noting that there were safety issues.

The church itself sent photos to ABC showing what it said was flooding in and around its complex.

"Social media is powerful these days...so much of it is just people who don't like me or people of faith", he said, but admitting "If you're not in this situation, it's easy to make judgements". Then, people started posting photos and videos of the church, which appeared to be dry.

The church finally opened its doors to those needing assistance on Tuesday.

Lakewood is a nondenominational church that hosts about 52,000 attendees weekly and is one of the largest congregations in America. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity.

Other reports by My Hot News

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