Joel Osteen church denies reports it closed its doors to flood victims

Joel Osteen Closes Church After Hurricane Tells Members To Pray

Lakewood Church in Houston is accepting victims of Hurricane Harvey who need a place to shelter, the megachurch tweeted this morning, after it received backlash overnight for not offering its services to residents. She tweeted: 'A message of Christian love to all those without shelter in Houston right now who seek refuge in Joel Osteen's 16,800-seat Lakewood church'.

Don Iloff, a church spokesman and Victoria Osteen's brother, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that floodwaters had rendered the building mostly inaccessible before receding Monday afternoon, but he said the church wasn't closed. By Monday afternoon, an update stated, "Coordinating with the city, Lakewood is a collection site for distributing supplies to the Houston area shelters".

Lakewood Church is defending itself after receiving social media criticism for not opening to residents displaced by flooding.

The Lakewood Church employees were plucked from their homes with the help from another congregant as Tropical Storm Harvey dumped almost 40 inches of rain on the fourth-largest city in the US.

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Joel Osteen, whose giant teeth and vaguely Tim Allen-esque countenance you may have seen asking for money on TV, is Senior Pastor at Lakewood Church, a Houston megachurch that literally used to be a professional sports arena.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need.

However, Osteen insisted in a statement to ABC News that he was not closing the doors to those in need, but was waiting until "shelters reach capacity" to welcome evacuees.

The church is no stranger to helping relief victims.

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Osteen has not directly commented on whether or not the church will re-open to aid in the Harvey disaster.

He posted an image of what appeared to be the inside of the church with "countless air mattresses". Iloff added that at least several hundred people can be housed on the 2nd floor of the church. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm".

Lynne Gabriel, a life and style blogger from Houston, criticized those who have "spread negative news without knowing the situation", tweeting photos showing certain flooded areas inside Lakewood Church.

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