Church Interpreter Training Institute (CITI)

CITI is an extensive program that provides its students with an immersion into the world and language of the Deaf as it pertains to worship, spiritual growth and Christian fellowship. The institute is comprised of daily chapel, intensive classes, special interest lectures and presentations, group activities, as well as interpreting worship and devotions.

CITI Objectives:

That our students will....

  • grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • learn basic vocabulary and communication skills while gaining confidence in using ASL.
  • cultivate their understanding of the Bible and how it is translated into ASL.
  • expand their appreciation of the history and theology of worship.
  • gain an understanding of the Lutheran liturgical worship.
  • improve their skills in ASL while learning signs for religious terminology.
  • develop an enjoyment of the Deaf Culture and Community.
  • experience interpreting within a worship setting.
  • be equipped to serve in a team ministry of bringing Christ to the Deaf.
  • become supportive of the Deaf as they grow spiritually within the church.
  • develop an awareness to the need for outreach to the Deaf through mission efforts around the world.

The Curriculum:

Classes are designed and scheduled to meet the needs of the students that they may return to their home congregations equipped and eager to serve. Our curriculum includes:

  • Beginning ASL Instruction
  • Religious Signs
  • ASL Structure Review
  • Old and New Testament Studies
  • Deaf Culture
  • History and Theology of Worship
  • Interpreting Scripture and Sermons
  • Understanding the Liturgy
  • Interpreting Hymns and Songs
  • Preventing Burnout
  • Interpreting for other services in the church
  • Establishing an Interpreted Ministry
  • Technology and Resources

* Please note: Class modifications may be made dependent upon the needs of the students


Activities are implemented into the program to help the student gain confidence, develop fellowship and communicative skills in ASL. Some of our activities include the interpreting of worship services, joining in a Sign Choir and group engaging exercises.

CITI Staff:

The CITI Staff is composed of experienced pastors, seminary professors, university professors, professional interpreters, as well as other experienced church interpreters.  Depending upon availability, the staff may change from year to year, however CITI will always provide qualified instructors for the benefit of our students.

The Rev. S. R. Schumacher, Director of CITI, is also a Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Missionary to Ghana, West Africa.  In addition, he serves as Adjunct Professor of Deaf Ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary.  Prior to serving in these positions, he served as Director of Deaf Ministry for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf (LFD), The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as a parish pastor for 22 years; including both Deaf and Hearing congregations and as a District Missionary to the Deaf. He received a Bachelor of Science from Central Missouri State University, a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, and is presently working on a Doctor of Ministry. While attending Concordia Theological Seminary he studied Deaf Ministry under The Rev. Dr. George Kraus, founder of the CITI program. He has been an ASL instructor and presenter for workshops on Deaf Ministry in the United States and abroad.



Our graduates serve in a variety of settings depending upon their abilities and opportunities.  These include:

  • Interpreting worship services
  • Interpreting Bible studies
  • Interpreting Sunday School and Vacation Bible School
  • Teaching Sign Language classes
  • Advocate for the Deaf

Some of our graduates have continued their studies and serve as a professional interpreter within their communities, while others have gone into full-time ministry and mission work with the Deaf.


Students, other than those who commute, will stay in the dormitories on the campus of Concordia Theological Seminary with one or two students per room, depending upon availability.  Meals are provided through the campus dining hall for the institute, although you may choose to bring your own food as a refrigerator and microwave oven are available in the dorms.  There are also many fine restaurants in the Fort Wayne area.

Continuing Education Units:

If you desire to receive CEUs (Continuing Education Units), for your particular certification level, please check with your state or national agency or organization, prior to attending CITI, for any requirements.  We will work with you in providing necessary documentation for you to receive proper credit.


A limited number of scholarships are available to Lutheran participants.  These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of the Mill Neck Foundation for Deaf Ministry. Click here for a Scholarship Form.

CITI Funding:

Funding for this program has been made through a partnership between Concordia Theological Seminary and Lutheran Friends for the Deaf, the mission outreach arm and member of The Mill Neck Family of Organizations.  Additional funding is also provided by supporting organizations and individuals.