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Joel Osteen changes his mind about his closed megachurch Twitter/@cmclymer

After initially refusing to open the doors of his Houston megachurch to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, televangelist Joel Osteen has announced that Lakewood Church, with a capacity of over 16,000, is open and “receiving anyone who needs shelter.”

Last night, as public pressure mounted to open the church, Osteen solicited donations for relief.

RELATED: Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch will stay closed, even as people look for shelter

The church initially cited “severe flooding” that made it inaccessible. Photos circulating on social media, however, appeared to show that the church itself was not in danger (though the church provided ABC News with pictures they said proved otherwise).

Before opening to the public, Lakewood Church spokesperson Donald Iloff told the New York Post that people seeking shelter should head to the Brown Convention Center, which is now 20% over capacity, according to The Hill.

Patrick is a content editor for Rare.
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