Hurricane Harvey: Texas' biggest church 'closes doors' during Hurricane Harvey

Marie Harrington
August 30, 2017

Lakewood Church in Houston had escaped the majority of the storm but had no intention of opening its doors before the online shaming began.

- Reaffirms support and commitment to community.

Lakewood Church, which was founded by Osteen's father in the late 1950s, posted on social media on Monday that the venue was "inaccessible due to severe flooding" following Hurricane Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm on the same day.

Osteen later tweeted that he and his wife Victoria "care deeply about our fellow Houstonians", and that the church's doors were open to "anyone who needs shelter". "Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends and family".

Osteen tweeted a number of times Tuesday, informing people the massive structure, formerly the Compaq Center where the Houston Rockets played their professional basketball games, is stocked with air mattresses and other supplies to rescue Houstonians who've been displaced by rising flood waters. The church seats 16,800 people with stadium seating.

"We were never closed", Iloff told The Washington Post. "We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need", he added. "We want to help make sure you are safe", the post read. Back in 2005, Lakewood Church provided shelter to Hurricane Katrina victims. The church said it doesn't have showers or a kitchen, according to ABC.

More news: Tropical Storm Watch issued for Dare County

Osteen's response came after his church received wide criticism for apparently refusing to provide shelter for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, USA Today reported.

"We want to let you know that our hearts are with each of you and your families during this hard time", a post on the church's website said. Eastern, the church announced that it was "receiving people who need shelter".

On Monday (29 August), Lakewood Church finally opened its doors. In addition, we are working with Samaritan's Purse on major relief efforts.

The rep also sent us photos of "initial flooding" within the church, and says this is "why we couldn't open initially". It was clear from the photos that the church remained unscathed by flooding.

"Our hearts break as we see the damage and destruction in our city".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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