HOUSTON (CBS/AP) — Televangelist Joel Osteen says his Houston megachurch has “never” closed its doors to people seeking shelter as Harvey swamps the city.
Osteen had faced criticism for not opening his massive Lakewood Church as a storm shelter. In a statement to CBS News, Osteen said “we have never closed our doors” and that the church will “continue to be a distribution center for those in need.”
Osteen added that his church will be prepared to shelter people once other shelters in the city reach capacity.
Later on Tuesday morning, Osteen said his church is now “receiving anyone who needs shelter.”
The 16,000-seat former arena served as the home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets from 1975 to 2003.
Osteen’s comment stands in contrast to a church Facebook post and a since-deleted Instagram remark by Lakewood associate pastor John Gray, who said flooded highways had made the church inaccessible. A spokeswoman for Osteen didn’t immediately return a request for comment Tuesday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)