Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise

Joyce and I just got to see an advance screening of Hillsong - Let Hope Rise, a film about the Australian band Hillsong United, that is as much worship service as it is documentary.

It follows the four months before the band's grandest engagement to date, at the Los Angeles Forum. Members push themselves to write a whole new album (Empires), and some of the songs are being finished within an hour of the concert. There's one moment where Joel Houston, son of the lead pastors of Hillsong Church in Sydney, says there's a spark from the Lord, but then He expects us to do some work to finish the assignment. That really resonated with me as a performing artist, currently working on a project. Another point of connection is that the band members rely on their pastors to greenlight their lyrics, making certain that everything is in alignment with the Word of God. I've always submitted my plays to that process as well.

I attended this church service in the Manila stadium featured
in Let Hope Rise
The band was formed when members were still in the Hillsong youth group. They've now toured all over the world. One of the venues was a stadium in Manila, where I was a part of a church service on the heels of the Beijing Olympics. At one point they show clips of people worshiping to one of their songs from all over the planet in various languages, including sign language. They estimate 50 million people worship the Lord to their songs on a weekly basis.

Another moment that struck me was when one of the artists said something about band members wanting to do their best so that people could focus on them just long enough to be directed to the Lord. Beautiful! That's certainly been my heart for the work the Lord's given me for 21 years.

The movie does a great job of showing how life in the Lord allows the pastor and band members to make sense of the rain that falls on the just and the unjust: a baby born with two holes in his heart, a sister committing suicide, a father abusing a friend. These heartbreaking stories are paired with lyrics like:

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Though Hillsong United performs for tens of thousands at each concert, members point out that they're all on ministry salaries and are purposeful about staying connected to the needs of those who come to their concerts.

As a Compassion artist I was overjoyed to see that the band and church have helped 40,000 children find sponsors! Some of their visits with children were reminiscent of trips Joyce and I have taken to see the great work Compassion is doing around the world.

My favorite part of the Hillsong -- Let Hope Rise experience is that the producers included the lyrics to the songs the band is singing, inviting the movie audience into worship.

I was moved on many levels.

The movie experience opens in theatres nationwide September 16. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to invite someone who needs Hope to a theatre.



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

Friday, July 15, 2016

Felicia's Pledge

This year at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp we produced a short film, "Felicia's Pledge," which follows another character from the novel In His Steps. I got to reprise my role of John Gray and Ken Lawrence, the director of Film Camp, reprised his role as Pastor Henry Maxwell from the film In His Steps. The rest of the roles were played by our students.

Sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates to get the release notice.

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

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

George Fox Journal

I've been mentioned again in the George Fox Journal, the alumni magazine for my alma mater. This one mentions my role in Providence.

The last mention was an article on my career: "A Class Act."

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Friday's Screenings on The Dove

I just did an interview on The Dove, a Christian TV/Radio/Internet station serving Southern Oregon and the world.

Here are links to some things I mentioned:
Over 20 films
A Matter of Perspective
Providence
The screening on Friday
Joni and Friends
ChristianCinema.com
PureFlix.com
Other ways to see Christian Films
Sharon and Fred Wilharm
AMC Independent Release
Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp
In His Steps
One Day
Karen Abercrombie
Beyond the Chariots
Shanghai
The Hill Family's Video Production Company



The screening was also mentioned in the Medford Mail Tribune 6/24/16:
Film Screening: Rich Swingle, who graduated from Phoenix High School in 1987, will be in Southern Oregon to screen "Providence," in which he plays one of the leads. The film will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 24, at Medford Friends Church, 525 DeBarr Ave., Medford. Swingle plays the adult version of the male lead in "Providence." He has performed on five continents in 28 nations since 1995, mostly with his own one-man plays. See www.medfordfriendschurch.org for more information.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

Here's a short film by Brett Varvel and his brother Drew Varvel. It won second prize at the Christian Worldview Film Festival for the Fatherhood Award.



The winner was created by the Hill family. They're the ones producing A Matter of Perspective, in which I play the lead. Except for the baby, all the boys are Hills. It's great to see this now that we know each of them!



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

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Faith Flix Interview

I perform in two films featured this Saturday at the GloryReelz Christian Film FestivalSharon Campbell Wilharm interviewed me about the roles:


When did you first discover a love for acting?
I typically tell people in the fourth grade when I played Mr. Beaver in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but I was just having lunch with someone today and told a story from when I was much younger, five or six. I was in a restaurant, and I performed for the table, showing... [read the full interview here]

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

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Fellowship by Worshiping the Word

Here's this morning's service at Westchester Chapel. I open the service, and Joyce preaches on John 1:1-18. Pastor Rachel Taylor shares announcements and leads prayer over me before I leave to perform in A Matter of Perspective, One Day, and teach and coach at the Rocky Mountain Christian  Filmmakers Camp.



Here's the Lee Strobel testimony I mentioned near the end of 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.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Go Out and Glow!

I got to open our service this morning at Westchester Chapel. I make reference to "O Praise Him," which is by the David Crowder Band. Joyce closes the service.

Pastor Rachel glowing
after ordination
Pastor Rachel Taylor preaches on Exodus 34. As a follow-up to Pastor Linda Warren's sermon "Welcome to My Tent," Pastor Rachel illuminates the result of inviting the Lord into our homes and lives.



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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Welcome to My Tent

I estimate that I've heard over 2,000 sermons in my life. This one is among the very best. It's going to transform my devotional life...

Pastor Linda Warren preaches on Exodus 33:7-11. Opening and prayer by Pastor Jim Warren.



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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

From the largest Off-Broadway to the smallest Broadway theatre

I had a 16 year Broadway run!

On October 17, 1999, I quit my office lease at The Lamb's Theatre, the largest Off-Broadway house at the time, and crossed Times Square (from 130 W 44th to 240 W 44th) to sublet the office of John Forbes at the Helen Hayes Theatre, the smallest Broadway house.

During the three months I was performing in Singapore in Judah Ben Hur, John returned, and I was then able to do an office share with a former stage manager for Les Misérables, who later moved out.

In May of 2012 The Helen Hayes celebrated its centennial. I know what week it was because after the ceremony I was able to tell Mandy Patinkin that one of our pastors used him in a sermon illustration that Sunday! You can hear it here. There's an illusion to his work in The Princess Bride, but Pastor Warren revisits Patinkin's story throughout. The third reference is the most powerful.

I'm sad to leave this very special place behind, but we've creatively redesigned our space so that now Joyce and I are both officing at home. There's great delight in spending our days together. :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fellowship and Worship God's Way

I got to open and close this morning's service at Westchester ChapelPastor Jim Warren preaches on Exodus 32 with illustrations from Acts 7:51-53 and John 15:1-11, and cartoon illustrations pictured here. Pastor Rachel Taylor prays and shares announcements.



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

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

One film now, another on the way

Our poster was miraculously in the main
lobby of AMC Empire. It could have gone
anywhere in the labyrinth of 25 screens.
I played the adult male lead role of Mitchell Little in the modern silent film, Providence, which had a limited nationwide theatrical release through AMC Independent and opened Valentine's Weekend. I tried to stay on top of the reviews at the bottom of www.RichDrama.com/Providence.

One of the venues in February was the historical AMC Empire Theatre on Times SquareClick here to see how that was an answer to an eight-year prayer.

Providence is now beginning to roll out across the land, and you can schedule a screening in your area.

It will be available on DVD and digital download starting May 24, but you can pre-order now.

I helped create a promotional video at
the Christian Worldview Film Festival.
I was cast as the lead in the short film "A Matter of Perspective," which will be filmed in beautiful Southern Oregon, where I was born and raised. I'll get to stay on our family farm while we're filming! 

This is such an answer to prayer, since that was the area where I was inspired to act by seeing plays produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, taking part in workshops with their actors, and performing at our high school and with our church's youth group. 

That church, Medford Friends Church, is hosting Providence while I'm in the area, on June 24 at 6:30pm. 

My connection to the filmmakers of "A Matter of Perspective" is miraculous! We met at the Family Camp for the Southern Oregon chapter of Joni and Friends. To see how that came about visit www.RichDrama.com/Joni. Then we found out that the director, Mike Hill, was a student of Larry Smith, who has been a good friend of my father since they were in the third grade! Larry gave me my only photography lesson just before I went to Hong Kong in 1987. Then he helped me set up the slides that I showed to the many families and organizations that made the trip possible.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Lord does through this short film! 

We're lining up a number of people and resources to make "A Matter of Perspective" happen. Visit AMatterOfPerspective.us and wherever you live please visit our IndieGoGo site and pray about helping. 

If you live in Southern Oregon and didn't get an email with specific requests, please send me a note through the form at the bottom of this page. 


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Oriented Up (Fellowship and Abraham, Part 3)

This morning our church, Westchester Chapel, closed out a three part series-within-a-series on Abraham, so I posted a sketch on the Abraham story I helped developed through sociodrama by at the Grace Brethren Church of Winona Lake, Indiana, in 2014:



Here's today's service...
Pastor Rachel Taylor preaches her last sermon (on Genesis 22) before her ordination Saturday. Pastor Linda Warren opens with a report on how much the Lord has been fulfilling His promises He gave when we went through our last sermon series, Moving into the Holy Spirit's Gifts. Pastor Jim Warren leads worship and reads Psalm 141:1-2. Announcement and prayer over Pastor Rachel's upcoming ordination by Pastor Randy Solomon.



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.

I play a lead in Providence, which could be heading to a city near you. Sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates to get the announcement.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Called a Friend of God (Fellowship & Abraham, Part 2)

Due to an unfortunate recording error I got to summarize the end of a sermon on my favorite passage in the Old Testament, Genesis 15, a passage on which I have a short 1-man play, "The Covenant Keeper." Pastor Jim Warren preaches most of the sermon with supporting illustrations from Isaiah 6:1-7, Hebrews 11:5-8, and James 2:23. He gave me permission to summarize the end of the sermon. Pastor Linda Warren prays and shares announcements.



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.

As promised, we do have information on our upcoming District Assembly and Pastor Rachel Taylor's ordination on our site. You can find it on www.WestchesterChapel.org/DistrictAssembly.

Here's an official music video of Your Great Name, one of the songs we sang this morning:



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

I play a lead in Providence, which could be heading to a city near you. Sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates to get the announcement.

Registration is now open for the 2016 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Screenwriters at Patrick Henry College

I had a great time at the screening of The Screenwriters at the alma mater of our director, Peter Forbes, and screenwriter, Elizabeth Stinnette. I was honored to join them and producer David Cook in a Q/A after the show, and we all had a blast at the afterparty. I had to leave early though. The screening just "happened" to have been scheduled the night before I performed and taught in a nearby school.

I play a lead in Providence, which could be heading to a city near you. Sign up at www.RichDrama.com/Updates to get the announcement.

Registration is now open for the 2016 Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.