Joel Osteen’s Houston Megachurch Blasted For Closing As Thousands Are Displaced
Hurricane Harvey has dumped over 30 inches of rain throughout parts of Southeast Texas since it made landfall on Friday evening. The storm and ensuing flooding have left at least 300,000 people without power and roughly 30,000 displaced to temporary shelters.
Thousands of people were still awaiting rescue as of Monday morning.
Dozens of Houston-area churches, schools and community centres opened their doors to offer temporary shelter to survivors, while other local houses of worship organized volunteer teams to help with relief efforts.
One church, however, drew criticism online for remaining shut. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, a 16,800-seat indoor arena, announced on Facebook that it was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.”
The post included a long list of resources for those impacted by the storm, including the street addresses for nine temporary shelters in Houston and surrounding counties.
Osteen also posted prayers on social media over the weekend for those affected by the disaster.
Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family.
Osteen and his wife live in a $10.5 million mansion in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood in central Houston. The neighborhood was hit with intense flooding over the weekend, with rescue teams coming to evacuate residents and their dogs. The preacher did not say whether his home was impacted.
Lakewood Church has previously helped with relief efforts in the city, most recently hosting a benefit concert in 2016 after heavy flooding. In 2001, the church sheltered roughly 5,000 Texans displaced by a tropical storm.