The Church Interpreter Training Institute (CITI) instructs American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, church members and professional church workers in church interpreting and Deaf ministry. Our goal is to train our students to better serve Deaf people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to equip them for continued growth in faith and leadership in the Christian Church.
- An intensive summer institute that welcomes beginners as well as experienced interpreters from Christian churches that confess the Holy Trinity.
- Students receive the unique opportunity to pair classroom training with actual “hands-on” interpreting in the classroom and in daily worship that is suitable to their skill level.
- Participants gain knowledge and skills through courses taught by nationally certified interpreters and instructors with graduate degrees, including:
- ASL linguistics
- Facial and body expression
- Religious vocabulary
- Deaf Culture
- Biblical studies
- Interpreting Scripture, liturgy, sermons, hymns and songs
- Other special interest topics
- Students receive feedback from multiple instructors throughout the program.
CITI was established in 1985 by the Rev. Dr. George Kraus to improve the skills of church interpreters. Dr. Kraus served as chaplain for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf (LFD) in Mill Neck, New York (1951–65), and then instructor of Deaf ministry while serving as associate professor at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS) in Fort Wayne, Indiana (1982–89). As a Christian ministry, provided by the joint partnership of LFD and CTS, CITI has equipped hundreds of church interpreters through the years to serve the Deaf community. In recent years LFD has expanded the CITI program by offering shorter regional seminars held in churches and on the campuses of universities and colleges throughout the United States.
“CITI was a wonderful and valuable experience. The program gave me hands on learning and experience with interpreting in a church setting. Throughout the program, I grew in my ASL ability through classes, immersion and real interpreting opportunities.”
“CITI is the ultimate training opportunity for those who would like to strengthen their ministry while improving their skills. So often in our congregation I speak about how God deepens us through His Word and widens us to be able to see/reach beyond ourselves. CITI accomplishes both of those things by spending not only priceless time in the classroom, but precious time with the Lord.”
“Before CITI I was too fearful to stand up in front of the congregation to interpret; after attending CITI I had the confidence to sign. It is the best learning opportunity I enjoyed. Now I have a solid foundation and the tools to interpret.”