Moses is coming!


We got a sneak peek of a filmed performance of the Sight & Sound production of Moses, which is heading to movie theaters on September 13 and 15. I'll post my review on September 12, but don't wait to reserve your tickets: www.MosesEvent.com.



I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.

Courage to Walk in the Impossible

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Matthew 14:22-33. Pastor Rachel Taylor shares announcements, including information on the Swingles' upcoming missions trip to Scandinavia.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

We showed this video just before the sermon:



If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.


Help us take I Dreamed I Was Free to the Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo, Norway: www.RichDrama.com/Scandinavia

Scandinavia

This outdoor performance was steps
away from what used to be
John Woolman's orchard.
My one-man play I Dreamed I Was Free  (formerly A Clear Leading) has been accepted for the fall lineup at the Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo, Norway!

The theatre focuses on stories about people of color, and I Dreamed I Was Free tells the true story of how John Woolman spoke out against slavery a full century before the Civil War in America. 

In addition to renting the theatre in Oslo, Rich is hoping to offer workshops which will help local Christian actors develop and perform their own dramas.

The Nordic Black Theatre is holding the date of September 1, and they've given us until the end of June to secure funding. 

Please pray about partnering in ministry to the most secular nation in Western Europe. It is estimated that 45% of Norwegians are atheists, as compared with 5% in the US. 

Funds will go toward 
*Theatre rental
*Travel, board and lodging for Rich and Joyce Swingle. Joyce will serve as stage manager and production manager.
*Travel, board and lodging beyond Oslo. Our goal is to perform in every Scandinavian country as opportunities unfold. 

Visit www.RichDrama.com/Scandinavia to give.

We are not a non-profit organization, so donations are not tax deductible. 








I Dreamed I Was Free tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

Jehoshaphat: The Word of the Lord Overcomes Fear

This morning at Westchester Chapel I read from Acts 2:1-12, 41 as a part of the celebration of Pentecost. Dr. Linda Warren explained the connection between the Christian celebration and the Jewish Feast of Weeks (Shavuot). Tamara W. read from Ruth 4Adrianne Garcia danced with banners to "Holy Spirit (You Are Welcome Here)."

Pastor Jim Warren preaches on 2 Kings 3.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.




I Dreamed I Was Free has been accepted for performance at the Nordic Black Theatre in Oslo, Norway, but we need your help to make it happen: www.RichDrama.com/Scandinavia

"Prophet of Fear" this Sunday

Performing "The Prophet
of Fear" atop Mt. Carmel
in Israel.
I'll be performing my one-man, one-act play "Prophet of Fear" this Sunday at The Crowne Plaza in White Plains, NY. It tells the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on top of Mt. Carmel and the fear that struck his heart when he came down from that mountaintop. Afterward, Joyce will be teaching on that passage. If you're in the area, we hope you can join us!

We'll post her teaching, but not the drama. Feel free to book it for your community!

There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, but we need to close registrations on May 6.

Elizabeth Becka will answer our questions

Elizabeth Becka will be answering our questions at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp this year. She served as acting coach on War RoomLike Arrows (which won Best Feature and Best Audience Choice at the Christian Worldview Film Festival this year), and Unbroken: Path to Redemption. She will do a video conference while she’s on location during rehearsals for a yet-to-be-announced film. She runs Insight Actors Studio in Atlanta (www.InsightActorsStudio.com). For more on her acting and 30-year teaching career visit www.IMDb.me/ElizabethBecka.

We'll continue to register students through May 6 or until we run out of spots.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Fear from Comparison

Joyce teaches on 1 Samuel 18:1-30 at Westchester Chapel, showing the source of King Saul's jealousy over David as he rises toward the throne. Opening and announcements by Pastor Randy Solomon. Melanie S. leads in worship.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.


There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Treasure Seekers Shine THE Light

Tomorrow I'll be teaching our young Treasure Seekers at Westchester Chapel about Matthew 5:14-16. Bring your little ones if you're in the area! Details at www.WestchesterChapel.org.

In this episode of our online Treasure Seekers Trevor the Treasure Seeker illuminates the passage to give children something to think about as they get ready.

Click the arrow below to play this episode of Treasure Seekers, or if you got this in an email visit www.Blog.RichDrama.com (4/14).



See more episodes at www.WestchesterChapel.org/TreasureSeekers.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

I Was in Prison


A friend asked if I was scared to perform on Rikers Island, so I wrote this:

...the closest I came to being scared was when I offered to play basketball with them because they had an odd number of guys who wanted to play. I didn't want them to have to rotate into the game. I told the fellow who was leading that I'd be happy to play, but he told me it was our first time with this group, so it might be dangerous to jump in there. It gave me a reminder that they are all there because they committed a crime, and many of them were convicted of violent crimes. Other than that I can't remember feeling afraid. I've been visiting prisoners since I was in junior high (www.RichDrama.com/HildaMiller), so knowing what to expect was part of that, but 1 John 4:18 in the New Testament says, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." Because I've given my life to the Lord his love for people flows through me in a supernatural way. I wanted to perform for those young men because of the great love the Lord has for them, but I feel that love for people too as I obey the things I know He's called me to do. Everyone on our team was there to express love to them, and I know they sensed that.

He pointed out that "Amazing Grace" says, "'twas grace that taught my heart to fear" to which I replied:

Yes! Grace taught my heart to fear God.
Fear of God liberates us from fear of man.
What can man do to my immortal soul? (Psalm 56:8)
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed that Jesus Christ has saved my soul.
To live is Christ; to die is to gain eternity in his presence. (Philippians 1:12)

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Hallelujah! I just heard back from Rex, who runs Prison in the Wild and hosted my performance yesterday (my earlier report follows) in the gang unit on Riker's Island. He said all ten of the guys who saw my play attended the Bible study that night. "UNHEARD OF!" he shouted! He shared his testimony (you can catch a sense of it in the video at the bottom of this page), and afterward he invited them to close their eyes, bow their heads, and if they wanted to give their lives to the Lord to raise their heads. EVERY ONE OF THEM DID!!! So they all prayed aloud with passion to dedicate their lives to the Lord! Rex circled back to the guards who encountered them on the way back to the dorm and heard reports that they were gentlemen! Other groups typically start trash talking and causing trouble as soon as they leave the Bible study and are out of Rex's sight, but this time was different!

We started a Christian community in that dorm! Pray with us that they will turn negativity into a focus on the Lord! They all have access to Bibles, so pray they start a daily reading plan. Rex is excited about starting them on The Bible Project's reading program that includes their amazing videos: www.TheBibleProject.com.

The DVD player wasn't working, so they'll show "A Matter of Perspective" later. I'll share a report through the more frequent updates list. Be sure you're subscribed at www.RichDrama.com/Updates.

Here's my report from yesterday...

I got to perform again in a gang unit on Riker's Island through Prison in the Wild (www.PrisonInTheWild.org). They're doing some great work! Please consider giving to their amazing ministry! I met their founder in Cuba, and I've posted a video of their work below.

My grandmother took me to visit inmates when I was in junior high. You can hear her telling the story here. I know that gave me confidence that I can talk to anyone and that eternity is more important than fear. This year I've been reading through her Bible, and in yesterday's reading she had underlined Psalm 81:10: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

So I prayed that He would when I opened my mouth to perform my 1-man piece on Jonah. Afterward I told them that, just like Jonah, God has a special calling on each of their lives. I urged them to use their time in prison (their belly of the big fish) to grow in their understanding of that calling. They all came up to pray with team members afterward. I left them with a copy of "A Matter of Perspective." We've developed small group discussion questions, and we adapted them for their community. I'm really excited to hear how it goes, especially since it follows the themes of Jonah quite well!

Here's my report from my first visit in July 2017...

I got to perform for gang members incarcerated at Riker's Island. Upon arrival there was some kind of a fight which required a lockdown: No one was able to move from place to place anywhere in the facility. So we started late. The half-hour I'd prepared to fill was reduced to about 10 minutes, so instead of the 20-minute Jonah followed by a message I did Lazarus and just followed it with an altar call. 

There were about 30 guys, and after telling them that the same power that raised Lazarus and Jesus from the dead could empower them to overcome any darkness in their lives. Then I invited them to give their lives to the Lord. I told them that if they already knew the Lord to pray aloud so people would know. One guy on our team said though he didn't look around during that prayer his sense was that some may have come in as Christians but they all left as new creations in Christ! Pray the Lord speaks into the new commitments and that they all attend the Bible studies that are offered!

Another prison connection happened last month when I got to accept the award for Best Animated Film at the International Christian Film Festival. I accepted it for a teenager: Garrison Hill. His family produced A Matter of Perspective for which I won Best Actor in a Short Film. You'll have to watch this four-minute film to see its connection to prison.




Video Highlight: REX from HillsongNYC on Vimeo.

--


A Clear Leading tells the story of Quaker abolitionist John Woolman, who spoke against slavery a century before our Civil War.

It's a Life Worth Living

I had a great experience playing the role of Charles, who--throughout the film--interviews the main character about his life, which is very much worth living.

What I've seen so far has been stupendous! Sign up for the announcement of its release at www.RichDrama.com/Updates.

I performed in Keith Perna's first feature film, Christmas Grace, and this has been our fourth collaboration.

This will be my fourth project with four others, Adam TerrellJoseph OuelletteGary Bosek, and Jared Withrow, who is one of Joyce and my 22 screen children. It's my seventh film with both Timothy Jones and Ryan-Iver Klann, and it's my tenth with Tim Kaiser. This will be my 13th film with Rebekah Cook! I worked with Heather Peterson, who I worked with Heather Peterson on "Living Word." Her sister Rebecca has also been helping with pre-production, and she will be a student of the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. William and Morgan Willer, will serve on crew, and they are also alumni.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Resurrection = Restoration

I got to open our Resurrection Day service at Westchester Chapel by greeting our congregants in their native languages: French Creole, Malayalam, Ukrainian, Spanish, Slovakian, Polish and English. I also mention two scenes from God's Not Dead 3, in theaters now.

Pastor Jim Warren preaches on Luke 24:1-35, and he opens with his personal testimony of going from an atheist to an agnostic to a pastor! Pastor Linda Warren prays over the sermon and closes the service.

Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service:



This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

RoboDad now available

Light Symphony Productions' "RoboDad" won the Grand Prize for the Fatherhood CoMission contest! I play the lead inventor and voice for RoboDad:www.RichDrama.com/RoboDad . 

You can watch it by clicking the arrow below, or if you got this in an email, you can view it at www.RichDrama.com/RoboDad:



The last time I worked with this amazing team I was blessed to win "Best Actor in a Short Film" at the International Christian Film Festival.




I play a lead in Providence, which you can bring to your area.


Paul, Apostle of Christ

Joyce and I got to see an advanced screening of Paul: Apostle of Christ followed by a panel including Andrew Hyatt (writer/director), Eric Groth (executive director), T.J. Berden (producer), and James Faulkner (Paul) moderated by David DiCerto at the Sheen Center.

The story takes place during the Apostle Paul's final days. After his season of house arrest, described in Acts 28, he has been put into the Mamertine Prison in Rome. There his traveling companion and author of the third Gospel, Luke finds him and asks him questions about his journeys in order to write the Book of Acts. It was inspired by 2 Timothy 4:11, which is believed to have been written from the Mamertine Prison: "Luke alone is with me."

The plot revolves around their relationships with each other, those who guard them, and Priscilla and Aquila (played by Joanne Whalley and John Lynch) who are guarding Christians from persecution by the Romans.

The film is a rich banquet of excellence. The writing, acting and cinematography are all top shelf, pulled together by Affirm Films, the Sony company that produced films like Risen, The Grace Card, Heaven is for Real, and War Room.

Often, when films are produced, actors come from far and wide, and day players are only on set for literally one day. Faulkner was overjoyed that they flew all of the key actors to set in Malta for a table reading of the script before film production began. They also utilized acting coach John Kirby, who helped me direct several plays. Those investments paid off in the tight ensemble work.

The acting of Faulkner and Caviezel is fully fleshed out, despite the fact that Faulkner said he was pulled in without a lot of prep time. After four decades of experience, he said, "The conduit of imagination is readily available." Still, his favorite scene was one in which all of his lines were a voiceover he didn't have to memorize! The voiceover comes from one of Paul's epistles, but to say which would be a spoiler!

This is Caviezel's first biblical epic since playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, and he has said that he chose to do this one because he saw the humanity of the characters portrayed honestly. Hyatt said while directing Caviezel he often thought he was watching him playing Jesus playing Luke. Certainly the immersive work Caviezel put into playing the Lord has brought depth to his role as the writing doctor, an element of Luke's background which is utilized in a powerful subplot.

Faulkner's first performances were in the choir of the Royal College of Church Music at Addington Palace, but he passed the mic when a question of faith was asked. It seems that playing Paul has stirred up his early beliefs. He said he has a deep respect for Christianity and he hoped that by taking part he could re-engender respect for it. He said, "I'm tired of Christianity being denounced and other faiths being touted, and that's why I did the film." There are brief images of immolation, Christians being burned to light the streets at night, something Faulkner said is still being done to Christians today.

Paul: Apostle of Christ is saturated with Scripture, something that is nicely highlighted by the recurring phrase, "Write that down," which Paul often says to Luke. That phrase was added through improvisation during the filming process.

Unfortunately I went in thinking that the film would include lots of flashbacks from The Acts (which I perform as a one-man play), so I kept waiting for the film to get to those. It does include a few flashbacks, but they're artfully chosen snapshots of Saul's persecution of followers of Christ, leading up to his Damascus Road experience.

When they opened up the mics I was the first one up, asking why they didn't include more miracles. The producers said that they chose to cover a tight timeline, and also, because they had a modest budget, they didn't want them to come across as cheesy. In one case, in order to ratchet up the drama, there was a choice not to show a miraculous healing, and it was quite an effective sequence.

I'm looking forward to seeing it a second time so I can better appreciate it for what it is, rather than waiting for it to become what it is not. Also, we saw an unfinished version before color correction, the final score, and some additional dialogue, which we read as subtitles. So I'm looking forward to the final cut.

There is a subplot in which Priscilla and Aquila are pulled in different directions and imply that the Lord may be calling the married couple to part ways. Thankfully this is only a plot device that is resolved, without implying that the Lord would ever call a couple to divorce.

There is also quite a lot of Roman idol worship depicted, and in one scene a man pours blood over himself. It's a powerful reminder that God has planted eternity in the hearts of all, and that even pagan Roman pantheism had a concept of our need to be covered by the blood of a sacrifice. Still, it could be a disturbing image for some.

It's rated PG-13 for some violent content and disturbing images. For more details (which reveal some spoilers) visit PluggedIn's review.

To watch the trailer and short documentaries about the film's faithfulness to Scripture, click the arrows below, or if you've received this as an email, visit www.RichDrama.com/PaulApostleOfChrist.













There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Two Men Who Would Be King

Joyce teaches on Gideon from Judges 6-8 and the life of King Saul from I Samuel 8-15. Opening by Pastor Jim Warren, who also reads lyrics from Chris Tomlin's "Whom Shall I Fear?" Prayer and announcements by Dr. Linda Warren, who mentions the trailer for I Can Only Imagine, which you can watch below. I perform Jerry Carroll's poem, which you can see below. You can read my review of I Can Only Imagine here.

Click the arrows below to play the audio and videos, or if you're reading this in an email you can visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Gideon, to play this service:







This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store.

If you want to more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/Salvation.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.



There are still openings for the 2018 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.