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FINAL - MHBC Reopening Report
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MHBC Reopening Report
Reopening Task Force

Revised April 21, 2021


On April 12, 2021, the Reopening Task Force recommended that Mt. Hebron reopen at 10% capacity (150 people). This period will be referred to as Phase 0. Phase 1 will begin when we reach 25% capacity.

The Joint  Board has the authority to modify these guidelines as necessary.

Reopening FAQ

Q1. What changed to agree to reopen the church on May 9th? I thought it would not open until at least July?

There was never a set month nor day to open the church. The original guidance established by the Reopening Task Force (RTF) in June 2020 was to reopen when there was a decrease in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths for 28 consecutive days. During the April 12th RTF meeting, it was noted that due to the five new strains of the virus, it could be several months if not years before there was a decrease in each of those three categories for nearly a month straight. Caught between keeping the church closed for an unknown amount of time and reopening in some capacity, the RTF recommended that the church reopen at 10% capacity (150 people).

Q2. How often will the capacity be raised to accommodate more attendees?

There is no set time for when or how often the capacity will be raised. The goal is two-fold: 1) to conduct in-person services, and 2) to conduct them safely. The RTF will monitor data collected from each worship service (e.g., attendees, cleanliness of the facilities, seating arrangement, general comfort of the attendees, etc.), and recommend an increase (or decrease) in capacity. Note: The maximum capacity includes those serving during the service and worshippers. Ministry leaders have been asked to reduce the number of people required to serve at the worship services. The number of people required per ministry will be left to the discretion of the leader so that  ministry tasks can be performed with excellence, safety, and competence.

Q3. Will we continue to utilize the current reopening plan?

Yes, the reopening plan is still the guide. It has been updated to include reopening the church at less than 25%, which is where Phase 1 begins.

Q4. Was the church reopened to hold the memorial service for Pastor Leach’s mother?

No. The RTF met on Monday, 4/12, and recommended reopening on Mother’s Day, 5/9. Pastor Leach’s mother, Bernice Porter, transitioned on Friday, 4/16. The original plan was to announce the reopening for Mother’s Day during the quarterly State of the Church meeting on 4/21. Unfortunately, the reopening and the memorial service appear to be connected due to the funeral announcement going out two days prior to the official reopening announcement.

Q5. Will I have to register to attend service?

Yes. For the foreseeable future, registration will be required to attend all worship services. This is to ensure we do not exceed capacity, remain safe, and have attendee information in the event contact tracing is required.

Q6. How do I register? Is it first-come, first-served or some other measure?

Registration will take place online at It will always be first-come, first-served.

Those serving at the service will register on Monday and Tuesday. Registration for those attending the service will open at 8 AM each Wednesday for the upcoming Sunday.

An email with the link will be sent to members registered in the church’s database (Not sure if you’re registered? Contact your shepherd). The link will also be on the front page of the website.

Q7. I don’t have access to a computer or mobile device. Is there another way to register?

The only way to register is via computer. Those without a computer or mobile device will need to have someone register for them.

Q8. Can I attend service without registering?

No. We will not be able to accommodate those who do not register, rather it be members or visitors. Registration is required to ensure we do not exceed capacity, remain safe, and have attendee information in the event contact tracing is required.

Q9: Will temperatures be taken? Will masks and social distancing be required?

Yes to both. Prior to entry for each service, we will require all registered attendees to complete a health screen, which includes a temperature check. While inside the facility, attendees will be required to wear a mask unless they are a communicator, singing, or being attended to for health reasons by medical personnel. Seating will be in accordance with the CDC social distance rules for those serving and attending the service.

Q10. Will I need to sign a waiver to attend service?

Yes. All attendees will be required to complete the Coronavirus waiver prior to registering. This only needs to be done once.

Q11. Is the office open (when will staff return to work)?

According to the Reopening Guidelines, staff will return to work on a staggered basis during Phase 1 of the reopening. This is the same time the office will reopen.

Q12. Will Sunday School and/or Life Groups be in person or virtual?

According to the Reopening Guidelines, Sunday School and Life Groups will meet virtually until Phase 3.

Q13. If I want to attend Sunday School virtually, but am registered for service, will accommodations be made for me to do both?


Q14. Will the Children's & Youth Ministry be in person or virtual?

According to the Reopening Guidelines, the Children’s and Youth Ministry will meet virtually until Phase 3.

Q15. If I volunteer or work for a ministry that’s needed on Sunday, but I am uncomfortable attending, is it okay for me not to participate?

Yes. No one will be required to participate in the in-person services if they feel uncomfortable.

Q16. What type of cleaning will be done to ensure safety?

Please see the Cleaning Protocol.

Q17. Will the choir sing?

According to the Reopening Guidelines, a reduced Choir will begin singing in Phase 3, and the full Choir will sing in Phase 4.

Q18. Will services continue to be broadcast online?

Yes. Services will continue to be broadcast online.

Q19. Will we have multiple services?

At the appropriate time with the appropriate controls, we will have multiple services.

Q20. Is the church open for meetings and other events now?

According to the reopening guidelines, meetings and events will remain virtual until Phase 3. At that point, meetings can be held virtually and/or in-person.

Q21. Why didn't we open up when the other churches in the area opened at 10%?

The RTF made a decision to follow the science, and the Joint Board agreed. Given the demographics of our body and the environment, which did not include vaccines, we did not feel it was wise to reopen just because other churches reopened.

On May 4, 2020, the Reopening Task Force was commissioned to:

  1. Recommend a date for reopening the church for services, meetings, and events, and
  2. Create a plan for the church to execute when it reopens.

The task force met nearly every week to discuss the complexities surrounding reopening the church building in the absence of a vaccine. Our conversations were informed by CDC guidelines, church-centered articles and webinars, medical data, law enforcement reports, legal advice, data from ECFA, conversations with churches that have or will reopen in the next t two weeks, prayer, God’s word, and a commitment to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

As has been the case nationally, the idea of reopening is a polarity, i.e., a problem that can only be managed, not solved. One polarity is staying closed to preserve the health and well-being of our members and visitors. The second polarity is reopening to maximize ministry opportunities via the facility.

Our team members brought a combination of spiritual maturity, pragmatism, and expertise and debated both polarities in light of what we felt was best for Mt. Hebron and its unique environment.

Our recommendation is that we do not reopen the church building for worship services, funerals, life groups, meetings, nor events (internal or external) any earlier than January 1, 2021. We expand on this recommendation in Section B.

The recommendations in this document have been agreed upon unanimously by the Task Force, and are submitted respectfully.


Jamila Blount, Kevin Bullard, Sabrina Butler, Ruth James, Camille Stearns Miller, Kim Mills, Chaelle Norman, Kent Pearson, Steven Pruitt, Jesse Smutherman, and Kim Vallair.

A. Preparing the Church for Reopening

  1. Deep clean the entire church. Shampoo carpets, sanitizing pews, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, and microphones.
  2. Use chemicals and disinfectants as directed and allow for proper dry times.
  3. Pay attention to the preschool and children’s areas. Consider removing everything nonessential from the room to limit surfaces for potential contamination. Perform a thorough cleaning in between uses per Section P. Please see the preschool/children section for additional information.
  4. Remove Bibles, pens, information cards, envelopes, etc., from the backs of chairs/pews.
  5. Post reminders regarding social distancing, i.e., not shaking hands and physical contact greetings.
  6. Create barriers in the sanctuary and classrooms to ensure social distancing.
  7. Notification to the congregation via posted flyers on doors, email, and social media regarding how the church has prepared for their arrival and include the new protocols for attendance. Be sure to use the words “clean, safe, and mindful of health needs and issues in preparation for a non-touch experience” or something similar. Advise members of the congregation that if they are sick, they should stay home and join the service online.

B. Metrics Determining Reopening

  1. We recommend at a minimum that there be a significant decline in new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations over a consecutive 28-day period, which will be reviewed by the Task Force for further recommendation.
  2. We recommend not reopening the church building for worship services, bible studies, funerals, life groups, meetings, nor events (internal or external) any earlier than January 1, 2021. Prior to reopening, the number of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths should be considered nationally, statewide and specifically Dallas County.  We must also consider the same factors in the following municipalities: Garland, Wylie, Sachse, Rowlett, Rockwall and Murphy, which comprise the areas where the bulk of our members live.

C. Phased Reopening

Phase 0

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4


 Worship Services (Sunday)



 Children & Youth Ministry meet online

 Children & Youth Ministry meet in building

 Sunday School and Life Groups meet online

 Sunday School and Life Groups meet throughout the church

 Praise Team Only sings

 Praise Team and/or reduced Choir sings

 Praise Team and full Choir sings

 Ministry meetings held online

 Ministry meetings held in the sanctuary, Kids Cave or choir room

 Staff works on-site on staggered basis

 Staff works on-site on regular basis

D. Events

Worship Services

Sunday School


Ministry Meetings

Events (Internalt & External)


Phase 0

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4


Offer two services  with at least two (2) hours in between for proper cleaning & disinfecting.



Keep service times to a maximum of 60 minutes to allow for exiting and proper cleaning.


Keep viewing and service time to a maximum of 150 minutes to allow for exiting and proper cleaning.


Require attendees to sign a waiver before attending services.



Require masks for entry into and continued access within the building.


Attendees must pre-register for the service they’re attending (limit the number of online registrations to make room for guests).



Check-in attendees.




Perform temperature checks (not to exceed 99.6° F).

a. Deny entry to attendees with a temperature exceeding the temperature target.




After successful screening, attendees should go directly to the sanctuary.



Limit seating to the main floor until the building capacity number is raised.



Limit seating to the main floor only.



Practice social distancing.



Sit in family units, and must practice social distance.





Avoid distributing envelopes, fliers, or any other type of handout.



Utilize the Praise Team only (based on the phase).


Refrain from having members come to the altar for prayer.


Strongly encourage use of online giving to minimize handling of monies.


Have attendees place their offering in a drop-off bo•   on their way out the door (have a deacon or designee near the boxes for security purposes).


Make communion available to parishioners as they leave.





Clean the podium(s) after each speaker.


Ban food & drink in the sanctuary.





Dismiss in an orderly fashion that promotes social distancing.


Continue to offer Sunday School virtually.


The lessee is responsible for providing PPE for the attendees.

E. Restrooms

  1. Use the lobby bathrooms only for Phases 0-3.
  2. Post signs with CDC faith community guidelines for safety.
  3. Block off all other restrooms.

F. Entrances & Exits

  1. Attendees enter through the portico and main entrance doors.
  1. Portico doors: allows us to set up a queue and keep as many people as possible under shelter (blocking sun and rain).
  2. Main Entrance: Form Two lines on either side of the door to keep as many people as possible under shelter.
  1. Alternative to #1: All attendees enter through main entrances, and a tent structure is erected each weekend to shield attendees from sun and rain.
  2. Those who enter via the portico doors will enter through the side sanctuary doors.
  3. Those who enter through the main doors will enter through the lobby doors.
  4. Exit the sanctuary through the side and lobby doors.
  5. Exit the building through the main and portico doors.
  6. Once people have left the building, greeters will prohibit re-entry.

G. Building Restrictions

  1. The only accessible spaces will be the:
  1. Lobby
  2. Lobby restrooms
  3. Side hallways (for entrance & exit)
  4. Sanctuary
  5. Finance Room
  6. Choir Room
  7. Kids Cave (when meetings resume)
  1. Restrict access to the:
  1. Balcony
  2. Conference room
  3. Administration suite
  4. Back hallway (Except for those heading to the finance room)
  5. Education wing (Until Phase 3)
  6. Hallway bathrooms (near porticos)
  7. Bridal room
  8. Water fountains

H. Lobby Area

  1. Setup check-in and temperature tables at the portico doors and front entrance.
  2. Provide masks to those who need one.
  3. Do not set up the coffee bar.
  4. Do not set up ministry tables to collect money, register for events, etc.
  5. Disconnect water fountains.

I. Ushers and Greeters

  1. Welcome attendees and encourage them to wait patiently for their temperature check.
  2. After the temperature check, lead them to the nearest entry to the sanctuary.
  3. Remind members to keep their masks on during the entire service.
  4. Politely remind attendees to social distance and carry conversations outside the building.
  5. Greeters and Volunteers should be able to answer questions on procedures and policies.

J. Sunday School, Youth Ministry, and Life Groups

  1. Continue Sunday School classes and life groups online to provide an alternative way to meet.
  2. Consider dividing your groups to maintain the social distancing standards. You can also allow small groups to use the church on different days/nights if you choose to meet in person.

K. Nursery & Children’s Ministry

  1. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 2 years of age and under do not wear masks or face coverings. Children over 3 years of age are required to wear a mask.
  2. Pre-register children to limit how many are in any room at a time. Some churches are starting with a five-child limit in each room at first.
  3. Limit leaders in the preschool and children’s areas to those who do not have pre-Existing conditions. Also limit leaders to those under 65 years old.
  4. Have extra volunteers to help in the preschool ministry where some children may suffer from separation anxiety after only being with parents for a long time.
  5. Have only one-person handle child check in stations and do not pass the check-in device.
  6. Setup check-in outside the double doors for check-in and drop-off.
  7. Have a checklist of what’s been cleaned and when in each room.

L. Worship & Fine Arts

  1. Praise Teams: Do not use the full team. Consider rotations for multiple services. Assign microphones and use the same one every time.
  2. Choir: Consider suspending choir practices as forceful breathing and exhaling can expel the virus further if someone is infected. However, you could consider using smaller numbers as you reintroduce the choir to the service. Also space members out appropriately (consider using a diamond pattern with six feet of spacing between members.
  3. Dance Ministry: Utilize no more than two dancers until the full choir returns.
  4. Consider not using choir robes as space for robe changing may be limited. Just as healthcare workers change or wash their coats after each use, so should the robes be washed.
  5. Dismiss the choir in a fashion to allow social distancing.

M. Shock & Awe

  1. Clean microphones, headphones, computers, laptops, etc. after every use. Keep a record of when each item was cleaned. DO NOT use water. Rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based cleaners are best.
  2. Rotate the AV team, if possible.
  3. Continue online services.

N. Count Team

  1. Reduce the number of counters to maintain social distancing in the finance room.
  2. Wear masks while handling money.

O. Intake & Prayer

  1. Ask members interested in joining or need prayer to do so online.
  1. Show information on screen during church.

P. See Cleaning Protocol Sheet

Administrative Suite

Choir Stand and Pulpit

Empty trash


• Podium
• All wood
• Cloth chairs

• Handrails

• Instruments

Disinfect doors and knobs

Clean all restrooms

•   Disinfect sinks, counters, toilet seats, and urinals

•  Sweep and mop floors

Clean all glass

Vacuum floor

Wipe doors (inside and outside)

Wipe doors (inside and outside)

Choir Room

Empty trash


• Instruments
• Cloth chairs

Disinfect doors and knobs

Clean glass

Wipe doors (inside and outside)

Vacuum floor

T. Training

  1. The Task Force will work with ministry leaders to create training documentation:

U. Waiver

  1. Click here

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