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Pastor tries to explain why megachurch didn't open sooner for Harvey victims 

01:20 EDT 31 Aug 2017 | Yahoo News

Pastor tries to explain why megachurch didn't open sooner for Harvey victims Pastor Joel Osteen has defended not opening his megachurch sooner to help Hurricane Harvey victims, claiming the city “didn't ask” for his help. Osteen, a senior pastor at the 16,000-capacity Christian Lakewood Church in Houston, was heavily criticised over accusations he initially failed to offer shelter to flooding victims. The Lakewood megachurch  Credit: Reuters  Joel Osteen has a HUGE church in Houston that would make a great shelter. pic.twitter.com/byqHxXrHQn— Brasilmagic (@Brasilmagic) August 28, 2017 The 54-year-old televangelist, who appeared to backtrack by later opening his doors to those left homeless, has now shifted the blame onto Houston city officials. “We were just being precautious, but the main thing is the city didn’t ask us to become a shelter then,” he told NBC’s Today Show. WATCH: “We were just being precautious, but the main thing is the city didn’t ask us to become a shelter then.” -Pastor @JoelOsteenpic.twitter.com/Qdn5vgm09H— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 30, 2017 He added that opening the church was unsafe at the height of the flooding, explaining: “We’re all about helping people, this is what the church, and our church, is all about. “I don’t know if (the criticism) is unfounded, but if people were here they would realise there was safety issues, this building had flooded before.” Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 29, 2017 Thank you Houston. Your response has been overwhelming. We cannot thank enough the hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers who came out today! pic.twitter.com/hI1jl5Sry8— Lakewood Church (@lakewoodch) August 29, 2017 New statement from @JoelOsteen and Lakewood Church in regards to Hurricane Harvey backlash pic.twitter.com/KLMNYysc6s— Anastasia (@AnastasiaElyseW) August 29, 2017 Osteen continued: “It’s easy to say, ‘Wow, there’s that building. They’re not using it.’ But we don’t have volunteers. “We don’t have staff that could get here. We’re all about helping the city whenever we could - if they would have asked us to become a shelter early on, we would have prepared for it.” Houston's @indivisible_usa is acquainted with @JoelOsteen's Lakewood Church. They took these pics about an hour ago w/ commentary. pic.twitter.com/YTWrD9UG1z— Charles Clymer��️‍�� (@cmclymer) August 28, 2017 The church initially said it was “inaccessible due to severe flooding”, however photos shared on social media showed no flood damage and suggested it could be reached. One critic tweeted the pastor: “If you were a real Christian, you'd be opening your doors to your displaced neighbours.” The church later opened its doors  Credit: AP Pastor Osteen responded to the criticism, insisting: “We have never closed our doors.” The church later opened its doors to flood victims following the barrage of online criticism. Meanwhile, many inspiring acts of heroism and kindness have emerged from the devastation of Harvey. Hurricane Harvey hits Texas, in pictures


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