Celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s church in Houston, Texas, is closed due to the severe weather brought to the area by Hurricane Harvey over the weekend. The announcement was made on the church’s website, confirming that all of Sunday’s services were cancelled. Over the past 12-24 hours, some people have been tweeting about the church closing due to flooding at the actual church. However, it’s fairly clear from the photo above that the church was not underwater this weekend.
It seems more likely that flash flood warnings in the area may have caused the church to close in an effort to keep people safe.
“Due to the weather impact of Hurricane Harvey and concern for the safety of our members, all Lakewood Church worship services for this weekend, Saturday, August 26th and Sunday, August 27th have been cancelled,” read the church’s announcement.
Over the past 24 hours, Osteen has been posting tweets about praying and believing that God will see people through tough times. His tweets caused a storm of negative feedback, with tons of Twitter users wondering why he didn’t open his church to those in need or why he didn’t donate money to aid in the hurricane relief efforts. Since Osteen’s “megachurch” is big enough to fit tens of thousands of people, many feel that he should have offered it as a shelter for people who may have been displaced by the storm.
A few hours after Twitter lit up with these negative feedback, Osteen posted a link to a hurricane relief update. You can see that tweet below.
In addition, a blog post on the church’s website discussed the relief fund in greater detail.
“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. Samaritan’s Purse has been, since it’s inception, organized to respond to situations just like Hurricane Harvey, and we are grateful to be able to partner with them to provide assistance to the Houston area,” read a portion of the post.