'It means the world to me': Greenspoint locals grateful after pastor opens church as warming center

Briana Conner Image
Friday, December 23, 2022
Greenspoint pastor opens the church as a warming center, recalling deadly 2021 freeze
The pastor who provided more than three funerals following the deadly 2021 freeze didn't hesitate to open his doors this time around.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Warming shelters are critical when it's this cold outside. The city of Houston is operating four of them, but some churches have also stepped up to help.

A pastor in Greenspoint said he provided more than three funerals following the freeze in 2021. So, when Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee asked if he would open up the church, he did not hesitate.

"Whenever there's a need in this community, those doors are going to be open to meet those needs," Pastor E.A. Deckard told ABC13.

People coming inside Green House International Church found more than a warm and safe place to sleep Thursday night.

"It's been home-like. I like it here," John Labode said.

Kyson Graham was also staying at the warming center.

"It means the world to me, because no one out there wants to help us," Graham said. "From the day we came in here yesterday, the pastor said we are family and he treats us more than family."

The church had never operated as a shelter before, but it now has the capacity to feed and house 500 people. There are designated areas for women and children, people with handicaps, and anyone else who may not have some place to go.

"I was sleeping on the streets the last few days. So, to know this place was here is a big weight off my shoulders," Daryl Morris said.

Pastor Deckard teamed up with the National Association of Christian Churches to run the warming center through Friday afternoon, or longer, depending on the weather.

"We're not going to turn anyone away. If we need to get more cots tonight, or order more food... whatever needs to be done, we are going to make it happen," He said. "The goal is: No one is going to risk their life in the winter freeze."

That is why volunteers said the work was worth it. Dongni Alcantara works with the National Association of Christian Churches as a volunteer.

"Today is a day we are preaching the gospel. Come. We are going to feed you, and we are going to be looking for you," he said.

People staying at the church said it was a blessing.

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