On Tuesday, April 22, Concordia Seminary’s first Deaf Institute of Theology (DIT) student, Alan Rork, along with approximately 150 candidates for the pastoral ministry and five deaconess candidates, received his first call to serve in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS).
The Deaf Institute of Theology (DIT) provides an alternative route to ordination for deaf and hard of hearing members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. The seminary-level program was created in 2004 to provide an opportunity for a deaf person to become a pastor. The curriculum provides the necessary broad foundation for missionary pastoral students. The DIT seminary-level program uses online classes with sign language video clips and mentoring by a local pastor. Annual on-campus seminars are also required. Beginning winter 2008, there will be 10 DIT students.
Alan Rork was the first applicant in 2004 to enter the DIT seminary-level program. He also completed the pre-requisite Deaf PAH program. Deaf PAH, the Deaf Institute of Theology pre-seminary program, was developed in 1998. It is offered by the Deaf Lutheran Mission Society (DLMS), Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Deaf Missions and now has over 180 students in the U.S. and Canada.
“There are profound language barriers in the deaf culture that adversely affects their understanding of religion, faith and the Bible,” commented Kara Simmons, coordinator of the sign language school and assistant to the director of the DIT program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. “A majority of the deaf population use American Sign Language which does not conform to the same language translated in the Bible. With the Deaf PAH and DIT training, Alan Rork will be able to bridge that level of understanding to the deaf and hard of hearing in the deaf ministry. Alan’s graduation is a huge accomplishment for someone who is profoundly deaf and will be a model of successful deaf ministerial work for the LCMS.”
For more information, contact Communications, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7374; Communications@csl.edu .