The heart of the Assembly is volunteer participation. Committees are an integral part of this participation. Anyone can join a committee! You do not need to be asked – you can just show up at a committee meeting or contact the committee chair directly. You do not need to be at the Assembly all season to join a committee or volunteer. You can also sign up for a single project/task or contribute a few hours during the weeks you are here at the CSA. Committees publicize their volunteer opportunities (weekly email, Facebook, Whiteboard and Assembly Building porch) so people can sign up.
The committee chair has no vote at Trustee meetings nor does a committee have the authority to make CSA policies or to change existing policies. A committee reports and makes recommendations. The Board then makes the decisions. The only committee that is not subject to the Board of Trustees is the Trustee Nominating Committee, which annually presents its recommended slate of nominations for new Trustees directly to the membership for vote at the annual meeting.
Responsibilities of the Committee Chair:
- To carry out the service or function for which the committee represents (i.e. their mandate). To encourage participation of the members of the committee.
- To conduct meetings and ensure reports reflect the thinking of the committee, not just that of the chair.
- To present written reports to the Trustees and also to indicate on reports any items which require Board action.
- To attend all Trustee meetings if possible, even if there is no report.
- To cooperate with the President and Managing Director as needed in carrying out Board of Trustee decisions.
- To forward at the end of each season all applicable budget requests to the budget committee so they may be entered in the next year's budget or 5 year budget plan.
- To pass to a new chair all committee records and information necessary to carry forward the committee’s responsibilities.
Below is the name of each committee chair followed by a short summary of our committees in alphabetical order followed by a description of CSA's three funds.
To contact a committee chair please see their contact information in your Assembly News or send an email to
Arts — Barb Perry
Budget — Lou Rollinson
Buildings & Grounds — Joel Buzzell
Bylaws — Marie Smith
Calendar — Linda Schopp
Citations — Wanda Shreiner
Communications — Dean Keiser
Construction Review — Tom Kucera
Crystal View — Hannah Burgener
Education Fund — Jen Daly
Executive — Jenn Swetland
Human Resources — Erin Jones
Legal — Lorry Spitzer
Membership — Megan Carrella and Ann Murphy Burroughs
Nominations — Jonathan Buntain
Pilgrim Fund — Molly Harrison
Preservation Fund — Fred Lauerman
Spiritual Life — Jim Reisner & Renee Fisk
Tennis — Alan Marble and Dennis Nahnsen
Waterfront — Bob Cooper
Youth — Jenn Swetland
The Arts Committee was formed in 2015 at the fall Board of Trustees meeting. Its mandate is to encourage and oversee artistic endeavors and the creative spirit for all ages. The Arts Committee hopes to achieve two things: first, we have many creative ideas and are looking for individuals who will take charge of making them a reality; second, we want to support artistic endeavors at the Assembly. So when a member of our community dreams up something to try out here, we want to encourage and facilitate those dreams. We especially encourage active participation in the arts. In 2018, the arts are alive and well at the CSA in many of the usual ways that our community is used to seeing including Stunt Night, Artist Workshops (with help from the Women’s Association), periodic poetry challenges, and a book discussion group. All these current offerings were created or supported by the Arts Committee.
The budget committee was created by vote of the Trustees at the end of the 1980 season. The committee's responsibility is to review and evaluate all budget requests from CSA money-spending departments and committees and to make its recommendations in an annual proposed budget to the Trustees at the fall meeting. All CSA departments and committees are required by the Board to channel their budget requests through the committee. The fiscal year of the CSA is October 1 through September 30.
Budget Committee mandate:
- To prepare an annual budget
- To plan ahead so that large expenses can be anticipated and staggered from year to year
- To assure that no request, large or small, is overlooked
- To help achieve these objectives with a 5 year budget plan
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS COMMITTEE
The major responsibility of the Buildings and Grounds committee is to ensure the proper maintenance of all CSA buildings and common grounds. The committee continually inspects, evaluates, make decisions and prioritizes the work required to maintain our grounds and infrastructures. The committee would like a cross section of people who have an eye for problems and their solutions. The committee works closely with the Managing Director. Meetings are often in the form of inspection tours of the Assembly grounds. The committee works on the principle that it is more economical to maintain our properties than to neglect them and have to replace them.
The CSA bylaws are essentially our “constitution”. They describe the power of the Board of Trustees to certain delegated activities which mainly concern managing the day-to-day business affairs of the CSA.
The Bylaws Committee serves the trustees as a resource for interpretations of the bylaws and recommends procedures to follow concerning difficult or ambiguous interpretations. The Bylaws Committee is also responsible for reviewing the bylaws and proposing to the Board any amendments the Bylaws Committee deems appropriate. However, bylaw amendment proposals are not required to originate from this committee or from the Board. They may be proposed by anyone. The method prescribed for the submission of proposed amendments is found in Section IX of the Bylaws. For amendments proposed by either the Board of Trustees or the Bylaws Committee, the Bylaws Committee acts in an advisory role to the Board of Trustees and provides the primary conduit through which proposed bylaws amendments pass before reaching the membership at an annual meeting for consideration. The Bylaws Committee will respond to requests from the Board of Trustees to formulate proposed amendments.
The principal function of the Calendar Committee is to anticipate all main events to be scheduled for the coming year and to arrange them into a workable proposed calendar for presentation to the Board of Trustees at its fall meeting. The final approved calendar is published annually in the Congregational Summer Assembly News. Committee members usually represent an activity to be scheduled, e.g. operettas, sports, Board of Trustees, Women's Association. The Managing Director is also a committee member. An effective basic scheduling process has been refined through the years.
The Citation Committee is dedicated to providing appreciation of, and recognition for, the efforts of CSA persons (over the age of 65) who have provided long and valued service. We choose a single recipient (or a couple) to present to the membership as an example of what we all know of as the Assembly Way. The committee researches the recipient(s) and prepares a detailed summary of their achievements. The Distinguished Service Citation award shall be presented by a member of the Citation Committee at a Sunday morning church service and shall be recorded by a brass nameplate on a plaque in the Meeting House. The citation is not intended to be posthumous.
The Communications Committee started in 2006. Its mandate is to provide timely and informative digital communications to our community. There is a lot of demand from the community for engagement with stories, photos, videos, news about what the committees and Board of Trustees are doing, and learning about our history. No matter where people are looking, they are finding the most important information. We are coordinating across all our digital platforms - website, Facebook and Instagram pages, YouTube channel, and weekly “What’s Happening” email during the season to maximize reach.
CONSTRUCTION REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Construction Review Committee was started in 2003. It’s mandate is to make a preliminary assessment of plans to build or remodel structures located on private property within the boundaries of the Congregational Summer Assembly plat; To make suggestions or comments to the owners on such plans as they deem are in the best interest of the Assembly and consistent with Committee understanding of the current Rules for Construction; To assist in clarifying the requirement for submission of a formal application to the Managing Director; To assist in reviewing the formal application for completeness; To make recommendation of approval or disapproval to the President, or to the Trustees or Executive Committee if Trustee approval is required; To expedite this process whenever possible.
CRYSTAL VIEW COMMITTEE
The function of this committee is to ensure the Crystal View meets the needs of the community in regards to food choices, atmosphere, sanitary place to eat, and a smooth and efficient operation. The committee works closely with the Managing Director and operators of the Crystal View in providing input / feedback from our community on requested changes/proposals/capital improvements.
The Ecology Committee was formed in 1990 to monitor the efforts of various organizations concerned with Crystal Lake water quality and erosion of the Lake Michigan shoreline, to keep the CSA Trustees apprised of these efforts, and to recommend appropriate responses by the CSA. The mission of the Ecology Committee has evolved as follows:
The Ecology Committee works with numerous outside organizations, including the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network, Benzie Conservation District, the Crystal Lake Watershed Association, Benzie Audubon Club, and Plant It Wild in Frankfort. Encourages ongoing recycling at the CSA and works with the Benzie County Recycling and Solid Waste Department. Sponsors information events, organizes volunteers, and procures funding for the eradication of non-native plants and animals. Plants and maintains a wildflower demonstration garden on the east side of the Meeting House. Undertakes and maintains small forest restoration projects on the CSA grounds. Established and maintains the butterfly garden on the east side of the Assembly Building. Offers Ecology Intern Programs during the summer to take on special projects, including restoration efforts on CSA grounds and Crystal Lake Beach. To provide environmental education classes for children - Ecology Fun & Ecology Explorers has become part of the CSA recreational summer program.
HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
The purpose of the Human Resources Committee is to support, counsel, and assist the Board and the Managing Director on personnel issues when needed. This support includes: establishing Human Resources policies; writing and maintaining staff job descriptions (subject to Board approval); maintaining the CSA Employee Handbook; staff recruiting; establishing and maintaining succession plans for management positions; establishing timetables for both returning staff and new applicants; and for the offering and acceptance of employment contracts. In addition, the committee assists the Managing Director with departmental budget needs, the establishment and review of salary ranges. and employee training and development activities, including the annual staff dinner.
The legal committee has no set duties or responsibilities in its role as advisor to the Board of Trustees. The committee consists of four (4) or five (5) attorneys, preferably including one from the State of Michigan, who are knowledgeable about the legal background of the Assembly and who are able and willing to counsel and guide the Trustees when required.
A Trustee does not ask this committee for guidance. All requests are made through the President to the chair of the committee, who in turn may research the problem, assign it to one of the committee members, consult with all members, or at times draw on the specialized resources of outside law firms after receiving approval from the Board to engage the law firm on the CSA’s behalf. Attorneys on the legal committee do not represent the Assembly or its Board. However, because of their knowledge of the Assembly, they are in a position to spot potential legal issues and to be helpful to attorneys retained by the CSA.
The major function of the Membership Committee is to interpret the qualifications for the purchase of Assembly Tickets. The committee makes decisions on applications to purchase CSA Assembly Tickets and applications for Associate Membership. All Guidelines for the purchase of Assembly Tickets are outlined in the Bylaws and Assembly News Policies and Rules.
The nominations committee has the duty of annually preparing a slate of five (5) persons to serve three (3) year terms as elected Trustees of the CSA Board of Trustees and of submitting the slate directly to the membership at the annual meeting for appropriate action. The committee prepares a list of suggested nominees and then reviews their eligibility and qualifications. The committee (or individual members) may find it helpful to interview possible candidates to determine their qualifications, interests and availability prior to asking them to serve. After thorough review, the committee agrees upon a slate plus several alternates in case nominees do not accept. The nominees are then contacted.
SPIRITUAL LIFE COMMITTEE
The purpose of the spiritual life committee is to oversee the spiritual program and worship of the Congregational Summer Assembly. The responsibilities are as follows: To establish worship services on Sundays during the season including the selection of ministers to preach; to secure an educator in residence to present the Gibson Series Lectures; to examine and establish other programs that may enhance the spiritual life of the Assembly.
The CSA Tennis Committee is responsible for the administration of all tennis activities that take place in the CSA. Its duties include: Creating and implementing the rules and requirements for all tennis activities and court usage on the grounds of the CSA; Working with the Managing Director of the CSA to hire and support highly qualified Tennis Director and staff; Keeping the CSA Board informed of tennis activities and seeking their support; Overseeing quality lesson programs for children and adults conducted by our tennis staff; Helping organize and oversee two week-long tennis tournaments in July and August; Ensuring that the tennis courts and facilities are maintained in excellent condition.
The waterfront committee is responsible for the administration of all waterfront activities that take place at the CSA. The responsibilities of the committee are as follows: Consulting with the Managing Director on the necessary selection and qualifications for the waterfront staff; Inspecting the beaches regularly see if anything needs repair/cleanup; To establish a recommended 5 year waterfront plan for the budget committee and forward any applicable budget requests to be entered in the CSA 5 year budget plan; To direct the teaching program – swimming and life guard training; To select committee members who will cover all of the following interests: waterfront safety, hoist dock, power boats, sailboats, all beach areas, children in lessons, and others that may arise; To assist the waterfront staff in controlling annoyances including radios, loud groups, powerboats, jet skis, swimmers and volleyball in the wrong areas.
"The purpose of this organization shall be to promote the social welfare and intellectual growth, contribute services and share in the financial support of women and children within the CSA and its greater community." The Women’s Association was founded in 1926. It has its own Board of Trustees and bank account and is an ex-officio member of the CSA Board of Trustees. The Women’s Association, under the leadership of the Finance Committee and approval of its Board, will consider funding requests proposed by Association members, the CSA Board of Trustees and/or Committees, and other members of the CSA community at large. Funding Criteria:
- Enhances the education and training needs of women and children
- Enhances the recreational and creative needs of women and children
- Enhances the health and safety of women and children
- Enhances the greater appreciation for nature and the environment
- Promotes the spiritual and religious welfare of women and children
In the past, the Women’s Association has approved funding for speakers, for supplies for Art Classes and Workshops, for the Children’s Library, Ecology Projects, Tennis Program, Lemonade Sunday, Youth Programs and Equipment for the Assembly.
- Youth dances and chaperones
- Youth Citizenship Award write-up for Assembly News
- Youth committee write-up for Assembly News
- Youth activities- communicate with the Youth Director to provide volunteers and support for activities.
The CSA has 3 funds that accept donations of money for the purpose of providing scholarships, supporting our religious and educational aspects and programs, and fund long-term capital requirements.
EDUCATION FUND TRUSTEES
The CSA Education Fund was established by Chartered Declaration of Trust on October 24, 1992. It is to provide scholarships to CSA and Benzie County students to support their educational studies deemed worthy by the CSA Education Fund Trustees. The Trustees are composed of a group of 7 CSA member adults, including a chairperson, Treasurer and banker appointed by the CSA Education Fund Trustees and confirmed by the CSA Board of Trustees for not more than 2 consecutive terms of 5 years. Trustees solicit and select applications for scholarship awards from post HS students from the CSA, Benzie Central HS and Frankfort-Elberta HS with total awards to 4-15 students per year. Total monetary awards each year are subsidized and determined by donations from solicitation of CSA members along with any foundation and related association donations.
PILGRIM FUND TRUSTEES
The Pilgrim Fund’s mandate is to support of all Religious (Spiritual) and educational aspects of the Congregational Summer Assembly. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following: Worship Services, Choir and Sunday school; The Gibson Educator-In-Residence Series; Annual Musical Concerts - The Armstrong, Burroughs-Getz and Dutton Family; Charitable contributions to Benzie County organizations helping local residents in need; Educational arts and ecology programs within the Assembly; Adult and Children’s Operettas; Meeting House operations, maintenance, and insurance.
PRESERVATION FUND COMMITTEE
The Preservation Fund (originally the Endowment Fund) was created to receive gifts, bequests and any other monies (none of which are tax-deductible) which from time to time may be given to the CSA, or be designated to be transferred to it by the Trustees or the Assembly. It exists to preserve the physical character of the Assembly by supporting the medium and long term capital needs of the Assembly, and to supplement insurance payments should a major building burn down. Secondarily, the Preservation Fund may be called upon to fund new undertakings, or support programs unable to be funded by current operating cash flow in a fiscal year.