Corpus Christi Parish in Council Bluffs, Iowa is a multi-cultural community which was formed in 2011 by a merger of three parishes. Each site retained its church. The merger created the largest parish in Council Bluffs but the expense of maintaining all three sites became more challenging each year. The parish had difficulty finding a consulting firm which had the expertise to address all their concerns. Meitler was retained in July of 2019 to help the parish develop strategies for the closure of one of the sites and the unification of the parish into one community as well as a future growth plan. After a process which included data study, interviews, meetings with parish leaders and the diocesan bishops, and a town hall session, a parish unification team was formed to shepherd the closure and to lead listening sessions and community building events. Four priority teams were identified to strengthen the parish ministries in the areas of worship, evangelization and outreach, small groups and faith formation, and stewardship and community building. These priority teams have focused on increasing the involvement of existing parishioners and reaching out to the growing Hispanic, senior citizen, and young adult populations in the Council Bluffs area.
Future plans also include increasing parish membership, improving the financial status of the parish, incorporating liturgical elements from the site to be closed into a renovated worship space, and greater outreach to the people in need throughout Council Bluffs. The entire process was completed within the parish’s four-month timeline. With the help of Meitler, the parish now has a vision for the future and a structure to make it happen.
My special thanks to Mark Kemmeter for his expertise and experience in guiding us to make smarter decisions to create a stronger parish community in advancing the mission of Christ. His compassionate and insightful leadership is deeply admired.”Fr. Tom