As Hurricane Harvey continues to devastate Southeast Texas, Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church has announced it is partnering with Samaritan's Purse CEO Franklin Graham to help those in need and will continue to be a "distribution center" for those affected.
Reads a statement posted Monday night on the Lakewood Church website: "We want to let you know that our hearts are with each of you and your families during this difficult time. We are praying for you and we are praying for our city, and for all of those affected by the devastating flooding and rains caused by Hurricane Harvey. We love you and we love this city. And we want to help."
"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."
The church also provided a link for people to donate to those affected by the flood.
"We know the need is great. That much is clear. We do not yet know all the ways we can help," the statement added. "In the meantime, know that our prayers for strength and comfort for each of you will continue, as well as our prayers for God's help as we navigate the upcoming days and months together. We love you. And we are praying. Together, we will make it through this difficult time."
Earlier, Joel Osteen responded to controversy sparked after a social media posting from the megachurch saying, "Lakewood Church is inaccessible due to severe flooding!"
"We have never closed our doors," he said in a statement quoted by ABC and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We will continue to be a distribution center to those in need. We are prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm."
Osteen also issued a call to prayer on Twitter:
"Victoria & I are praying for everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please join us as we pray for the safety of our Texas friends & family," he tweeted.
He later added, "Our hearts break as we see the damage and destruction in our city. Please join us in helping Houston recover. Visit http://LakewoodChurch.com/Relief."