There have been numerous rumors surrounding Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, where Joel Osteen serves as the pastor. As Hurricane Harvey dumped several inches of rain on the Houston area, some people found themselves wondering if Osteen’s church — which was once the home of the Houston Rockets — would open its doors to the public. However, the church ended up closing over the weekend, canceling Sunday services due to the storm.
On August 27, Lakewood Church posted an update on Facebook.
“Dear Houstonians! Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding! We want to help make sure you are safe. Please see the list below for safe shelters around our city, and please share this with those in need,” the update read in part.
Since that time, several photos and videos of the church has been posted on social media. Some people claim that the church did not suffer any flooding and that the areas around the outside of the church prove that the water levels didn’t get very high and that the church managed to stay dry inside despite the severe weather.
You can see a couple of these photos and a video below.
It didn’t take long for other photos to surface, showing the complete opposite. People have been posting pictures of severe flooding and water damage that they claim were taken inside the church. However, it seems as though those photos were actually taken in Virginia.
The Houston Chronicle also posted the flood photos from “inside the church,” but a spokesperson for the church said that the floodgate was “almost” compromised in the storm — which means the church was not flooded.
“‘It’s not our unwillingness, it’s just practicality. It’s been a safety issue for us,’ [Lakewood spokesperson Don Iloff] said, adding that Harvey’s heavy rainfall almost spilled over Lakewood’s floodgate this past weekend,” reports the Houston Chronicle.
Take a look at the flooding photos that are being circulated below.
Around of 11 a.m. Eastern, the church announced that it was “receiving people who need shelter.”