Church Interpreter Training Institute – Summer 2017

The Church Interpreter Training Institute exists to equip church members, professional church workers, and ASL interpreters through specialized instruction to assist and serve the Christian Church in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who are Deaf.


Sunday, June 25 – July 3, 2017

Concordia Theological Seminary
6600 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825-4996
(Click for Map)

Program Overview:
  • A focus on Biblical studies, American Sign Language (ASL) instruction, religious vocabulary, understanding worship and liturgy, interpreting Scripture and liturgy, Deaf culture, interpreting religious hymnody and songs and special interest topics
  • Provides opportunities for participants to gain knowledge and skills by learning through the experiences of other students and instructors, insights from seminary and university professors, daily worship services and devotions
  • An intensive summer institute for beginners as well as for interpreters in Christian churches
  • Shorter regional seminars throughout the year at a variety of locations
  • Prepares participants to meet the demands of bringing the Gospel of Jesus to people who are Deaf



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
  • Gain an understanding of the Lutheran liturgical worship
  • Improve their skills in ASL while learning signs for religious terminology
  • Develop an enjoyment and understanding 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


Potential Classes:

(Dependent on student needs and skill level as well as staff availability.)

  • Avoiding Burn-out
  • Bible Studies, including Old & New Testament studies
  • Deaf Culture
  • Deaf Missions
  • History of Deaf Ministry Models
  • Interpreting Scripture
  • Interpreting Sermons
  • Interpreting Special Services
  • ASL Linguistics
  • Mime
  • Religious Signs
  • Signing Hymns
  • Signing the Liturgy
  • Video Relay & Technology
  • What is Deafness?: A Scientific Approach
  • Working with the Pastor
  • Starting a Deaf Ministry in Your Congregation



Students, other than those who commute, will stay in the dormitories on the beautiful campus of Concordia Theological Seminary with one or two students per room, depending upon availability. Meals are provided for the institute through the campus dining hall, 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. The campus also has a workout room and outdoor track that are available for use by students.



A limited number of $350 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


Application & Tuition Payment: 

Tuition fee: $1,500 for resident students / $1,000 for commuter students
Application fee: $50

All fees must be paid in full prior to or on registration day. Questions regarding fees should be submitted to the CITI Director.

Click here to apply online and either pay by credit card or check/money order.


Deadline for Application: June 1

If you are unable to register online, please contact us at or 260-452-2283.


Partner & Participate in CITI:
  • Attend a CITI annual summer event or a weekend seminar in a regional location
  • Provide financial support for this important work by sponsoring a scholarship or through a donation
  • Pray for church interpreters and Deaf missions



More than 30 years ago, CITI was established to improve the skills of interpreters in church settings in signing the Word of God to people who are Deaf in Christian congregations. As a Christian ministry, provided by the joint partnership of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, founder of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, CITI has equipped hundreds of church interpreters to serve the Christian Church. In recent years, Lutheran Friends of the Deaf has expanded the CITI program by offering shorter seminars held in churches and on the campuses of universities and colleges throughout the United States.


About CITI Staff:
  • The Rev. Thomas W. Dunseth is the Director of Deaf Ministry Programs for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf (LFD) with the Mill Neck Family of Organizations based on Long Island, N.Y. There, he works to produce Christian materials in ASL for Lutheran Deaf congregations and interpreted ministries and guides church interpreter programs at the nine Lutheran universities and two seminaries. After graduating with a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary in 1993, he served as a missionary pastor in the Portuguese colony of Macau, near Hong Kong on the south China coast from 1993-2001. In Macau, he worked with the local Chinese Lutheran Church and St. Paul Lutheran School for the Deaf. He speaks Chinese, and knows both Chinese and American Sign Language. In 2001, Pastor Dunseth returned to Michigan and began work in the Michigan District as missionary to the Deaf, which included work as pastor of the historic Our Savior Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Birmingham, Mich. He has attended all levels of CITI, and he has co-directed and taught at the Church Interpreter Training Institute in Fort Wayne, Ind., since 2000. He also directs LFD’s international programs in Ethiopia, Hong Kong and Macau.
  • Mrs. Peggy Krueger is a nationally certified sign language interpreter with 30 years of experience. Peggy is a graduate of the interpreter program at Harper College in Palatine, Ill. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., where she teaches Deaf Ministry courses. Peggy is the former interpreter trainer and director of a video relay center in Fort Wayne, and currently works as a video relay and freelance interpreter. She taught American Sign Language at Concordia University Chicago and for many years to various homeschool and community groups. This is her sixth year teaching with CITI.
  • Mrs. Heidi D. Sias is a deaconess for Lutheran Friends of the Deaf (LFD) with the Mill Neck Family of Organizations based on Long Island, N.Y. Deaconess Sias is currently working on a sign language translation liturgy gloss in consultation with a Deaf translation team in Michigan. She also teaches church interpreting at regional workshops for Mill Neck and represents Mill Neck at congregations, conferences and conventions to inform others about Deaf ministry. Heidi has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a Master of Arts in Religion from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. She received her deaconess certification at Concordia University Chicago. After graduating with her B.A., Heidi attended an ASL class at Harper Community College in Palatine, Ill. She subsequently attended CITI in Fort Wayne as a student for two summers. She has co-directed, organized and taught on-and-off at the Church Interpreter Training Institute in Fort Wayne, Ind., since 1998. Deaconess Sias lives in Missouri with her husband, the Rev. Dr. John Sias, who serves as the LCMS Secretary of Synod.
  • Mrs. Staceyjay Wyant has 32 years of interpreting experience. She currently works as a Video Relay Interpreter for Sorenson Communications in Atlanta, Ga., where she resides. Prior to her relocation to Atlanta, she worked extensively in Connecticut. She has worked for Family Services Woodfield and various educational systems serving elementary through college levels. In addition, Staceyjay served as an interpreter for the State of Connecticut interpreting in acute-care hospitals and mental health facilities. She served as a church interpreter for 10 years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bristol, Conn. Staceyjay was a member of the “Cridders,” a sign language performance troupe dedicated to bringing music to both Deaf and hearing audiences. She has worked on staff at CITI for the last six years. Staceyjay earned an associate degree in sign language interpreting from Northwestern Connecticut Technical College. She holds national certification through RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf) and NAD IV (National Association of the Deaf).


Contact us

For questions or concerns about Church Interpreter Training Institute 2017, please contact us at



40 Frost Mill Road
Mill Neck, NY 11765


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Established in 1947 by 
Lutheran Friends of the Deaf



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