Osteen ripped on social media for not opening megachurch to flooding victims

30 August 2017, 01:30 | Kristine Mills

Joel Osteen’s 16,800 seat Lakewood Church in Houston

Joel Osteen's 16,800 seat Lakewood Church in Houston

The pastor, who shared comforting words on Twitter as the hurricane hit, is now facing criticism for failing to open up the 16,800-seat Lakewood Church building, with some claiming that the structure was not inundated by floods.

A post on the church's official Facebook page said that Lakewood was " inaccessible due to severe flooding".

In a statement to ABC News, the 54-year-old said that his 16,000-person church will be able to accommodate those displaced "once shelters reach capacity". Donald Iloff, the ministry spokesperson and Osteen's father-in-law, said that although the church appears to be free from flooding, the property itself can not be accessed due to flooding of the surrounding areas. "Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm".

Houston's @indivisible_usa is acquainted with @JoelOsteen's Lakewood Church.

Among the listing of shelters included a number of other local churches. A short time after that, it was announced that the church would open its doors in the near future to help those in need.

It didn't take long for Osteen to pop back on social media and tweet a link to a relief fund that was set up through Lakewood Church.

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As of Tuesday morning, however, he was the face of a church that had not opened its doors to victims who have been flooded out from their homes in Houston, according to multiple reports.

But social media sleuths who visited the grounds on Monday questioned that assessment and posted photos showing a relatively dry exterior and surrounding area.

"Over the last couple of days, as the enormity of this storm was being realized, we have been working to organize relief efforts for the Houston area with our friend Franklin Graham and the disaster relief organization that he oversees, Samaritan's Purse".

The church will open at noon today to collect donations of supplies and good old-fashioned American currency, the Chronicle adds.

Lakewood Church was under fire after apparently not opening up the church to flood victims.

The church should be welcoming people inside and housing them on the second floor, which reportedly hasn't been affected by the flooding. Photos posted to CNN and CBN show what appears to be flooding inside the facility's parking garage that could make its way into the church.



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