CEDAR PARK, Texas — The Ranch at Cedar Park, a retirement community, told residents they have to take their church services somewhere else in a February newsletter. The residents are not allowed to gather for worship in the community's movie theater but are allowed to have service in their own apartments.
"I’ve never been denied and told, 'You can’t worship here,'" said Jean Hinkle, a Ranch at Cedar Park resident. "That’s my faith and whenever I’m denied that fellowship with others gathering together, my heart broke."
The movie theater room in the retirement had church services every Sunday. The retirement community also held Catholic church service – and Hinkle said that's been canceled too.
"I fell apart. My heart was broken. It still is," said Hinkle.
Hinkle said she's been living there for 14 years and she said this is unfair. She hosted Sunday service in her apartment this week and said it's a safety hazard because they packed a lot of guests with wheelchairs in her apartment.
"It's not very big, but I had, I believe, 16 here Sunday. I believe the Sunday before there was 15," said Hinkle. "I was kind of anxious about that. Simply for safety issues."
Before the new rule, she said she didn't have to drive and didn't have to worry about finding a ride to another church.
"We were told that we could get a friend or relative to take us to church. I'm sorry. There is many here, including me, that's not feasible," said Hinkle. "It bothers me to ask somebody to get me and my walker and take me to church. I would imagine that that church would have volunteers and they would’ve come and got me, but I had a church here."
KVUE asked the firm who owns the community, Capstone Real Estate Services, if they had a reason for the change or if they had a message for residents. They never responded.
"That was one of the things that was a great amenity that I saw here when I was choosing where I was going to relocate," said Hinkle. "I’ve signed a lease to stay here another year, but when I signed my lease, they knew they weren’t going to let us worship there. They weren’t going to tell me they were going to take that amenity away.”
Hinkle said if she knew this was going to happen, she would've considered finding a different place to live. She just hopes management has a change of heart sometime soon.
"Please give us back those facilities that they had so graciously provided for us," said Hinkle.
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