Monday, July 27, 2015

Junior High Friend Leads Northwest Quakers

My best friend from seventh grade through college was Ken Redford. During the awkward years of junior high I introduced him to Jesus and the Evangelical Quakers, my denomination at the time. Last week Ken was the main speaker and clerk for the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Evangelical Quakers.

The theme of the Yearly Meeting was "Holding God's Hand," based on Isaiah 30:18, 41:13: "The Lord longs to be gracious to you... For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'"

Here are his talks:
Relax, Would Ya? (Ken's introduction is at 48 minutes, and his mention of my witness is at 54 minutes). Notes

God is Generous...And It's Not So Fair! (Let my friend from college and Twin Rocks Friends Camp, Melissa Bullock, lead you in worship starting at 17:30. Ken's talk begins at 53:40). Notes 
Burned Lips and Bended Knees (The opening has no sound, but that comes in at 12:50, and Ken's talk begins at 1:03:00). Notes

His closing sermon is the best I've heard on the Holiness and wrath of God.

I've never been more proud of a friend, a Friend or my younger self! It really spoke to me of the importance of our decisions at every stage of life. Ken's been pastoring a church in Meridian Idaho since graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary (since I chose Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary--because I didn't think I could stand living in a city--we've been watching each other's ministries from afar), so this wasn't a new revelation to me, but the fact that the Yearly Meeting (the Quaker regional division and authority) chose him for such key posts really made me wonder how the world might be different if I'd been too timid to share my faith as a junior high schooler.

We'll be partnering in ministry on August 16, when I perform The Revelation in his church. I'm really looking forward to that!


Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Choose to Be Faithful

Joyce Swingle
My bride boldly taught against adultery in our series on the Ten Commandments: God's Own Choices for his Beloved, from Exodus 20:14, using the illustration of Joseph, who fled from the advances of Potiphar's wife, from Genesis 37 and 39. Opening prayer by Sandy R. I shared a spiritual insight into overcoming addiction.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options


Photo courtesy of Peter Berberian.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Choose the Path of Grace

This morning Joyce taught on Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21-22a, Matthew 26:57-68, the second sermon on "Do not murder." Pastor Randy Solomon did part one: "Don't Destroy God's Masterpiece." This week, Pastor Randy shared the announcements and prayed over the sermon. I opened with a quote from an interview with one of my seminary professors, Dr. Richard Lovelace: "Christians may currently be partially disarmed or unarmed for Christian warfare, but if they tensed up the society would feel the brunt of this.” Here's a link to the Rich's post about the interview and there you'll find a link to the whole interview: An Interview with Author Richard F. Lovelace on Revival.



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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work  for the Lord.

Other Options

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Last week Rich spoke about the 60,000 gathered for the Louis Palau event praying over NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, led by Gabriel Salguiero, a pastor on our District.



Today's #TBT. We're still rejoicing over the many victories we've seen in Central Park. One of those victories was the...

Posted by NY CityServe & CityFest on Thursday, July 16, 2015


Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Performed in Northern Ireland

I got to celebrate Independence Day in Northern Ireland with high school friends, David N Tricia Howell. It was significantly cheaper for me to fly into Dublin than London for The Dragon and the Raven, so I planned an extra night in Ireland, hoping to connect with the Howells, who minister an hour south of Dublin. They told me they'd be at Summer Madness, 2.5 hours north of Dublin. I asked if they might like to use one of my dramas. They weren't a part of leadership but encouraged me to contact them. I sent an email to info@WhateverTheWebsiteSaid.UK.Co, and I was shocked when the founding director of the 28-year-old festival sent a note the very next day asking me to pitch ideas. I went ahead and booked a rental car in case it worked out. I praise the Lord that it didn't since I arrived after that program began! I was waiting to let the Howells know I'd be there until I knew for sure whether or not I'd be performing. They didn't get internet access, and Facebook was the only point of contact I had for them. So after hearing a phenomenal teaching and worshipping the Lord with 2,000 young people I started looking for my friends in the dark tent. Just when I gave up and was walking to the stage to ask about using their mic there was Dave! What a happy reunion! I was actually quite astonished at how many there celebrated with us independence from their rule! Great fun! They have friends who use American terms like trash instead of rubbish on the Fourth. smile emoticon
I also got to perform Sean Gaffney's "Lazarus" for the 30+ youth the Howells had helped bring up from Ireland. That was significant since this month marks 20 years in which I've made my income exclusively from the performing arts and applied theatre, and that was kicked off when Sean asked if I'd drive with him from NYC to Seattle for him to start work as managing director of Traproot Theatre. Sean and his wife, Catherine Pleis Gaffney were in London while I was, so it was a bummer our schedules couldn't coincide, but it was delightful when one of my colleagues in The Dragon and the Raven asked if my last name was Swingle. He was on his way to tea with Sean and Cath!

Hear my report on these stories and more here


Three of our five short films from the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp are now online. Sign up to receive notification when we're ready to take registrations for 2016. Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Don't Destroy God's Masterpiece

During this service, Joyce gave a report on Luis Palau events, and I gave a report on my trip to London to record The Dragon and the RavenPastor Randy Solomon preaches on Exodus 20:13Matthew 5:21-24 and Psalm 139:13-16Opening by Pastor Jim Warren. Pastor Randy mentions Appointments with Heaven by Reggie Anderson.



Russia-Moscow-Cathedral of Christ the Saviour-6
Pastor Randy mentions the story of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The team of performing artists we took to Sochi during the 2014 Olympics toured that cathedral!

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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Website for Providence

Providence, an upcoming film in which I play the adult version of the lead male, just launched their website: www.ProvidenceMovie.com.

You can read about my involvement at www.RichDrama.com/Providence.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Touching the Soul


I attended the Swahili service here this morning with Alice Wamboi Maina, whose mother helped raise my mom and aunt in Kenya. It was such an incredible, exuberant expression of love, joy and faith! At one point the pastor prayed that a tsunami of the Lord's love would flood the hearts of terrorists. I thanked him after the service, and he said love is the strategy that will triumph over all that is wrong in the world.
Another pastor recognized me from my performance of Lazarus there in 2007. He gave me a couple of minutes to speak, and I was so deeply moved by the worship I told them that people go after all sorts of things so their souls will be touched, but many of those things damage their souls, but worshipping the Lord can touch our souls at the deepest levels and there are no bad side effects, only eternal blessings.

Then I asked them to pray for The Dragon and the Raven as we record it this coming week.
One of the pastors mentioned my tribute to Alice's mum, which can be found here: www.RichDrama.com/Njeri.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Headshots from The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp

One of the great blessings of The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp this year was that Paul Leavitt was on hand to do headshots for everyone at no additional charge! I had a beard at the beginning of the camp, and then I shaved it off strategically. Not all of the stages are finished, but here are couple.

I highly recommend Paul for any of your photography needs. He does more than just headshots, as you can see from his site: PaulLeavittPhotography.com.

Here are some of the other headshots he did...


I had an amazing time being the official photographer for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp in Colorado. The...
Posted by Paul Leavitt Photography on Saturday, June 20, 2015



Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Dragon and the Raven


Rich with John Rhys-Davies
of The Lord of the Rings and
Beyond the Mask

I played Theodore the Monk, three other featured roles and numerous Danes and Saxons on Group Day in the "audio movie" The Dragon and the Raven, based on G.A. Henty's book of the same title. We recorded it in London, England!

Heirloom Audio produces world-class radio dramas, recording in London and LA. Their flagship program is The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty.

I got to work with John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings). I brought him a poster from Beyond the Mask, in which he plays the villain, Charles Kemp. I played Dr. Bonneville in the film, which has is still in theaters after five weeks. I told JRD (as he was affectionately known in the studio) that I apologized for patching up that infamous scoundrel William Reynolds (the hero of the film). JRD scowled at me for a full beat before bellowing, "I should have had him poisoned!" It was great fun to play with him in that moment, and he brought great fun and creativity into the booth as well, playing the father of Helen George's character.

On Group Day there were five to ten of us portraying massive armies on both sides of the battle. At one point Helen came into the booth and we ceased our grunting and bellowing to welcome her. She was gracious and kind and told me behind the scenes stories from Call the Midwife in which she plays Trixie. She said the opening episode of season one--in which a baby comes back from the dead--is based on a true story.

Rich with John Bell of The Hobbit
John Bell, who slew the dragon in The Hobbit, helped The Dragon set sail in this adventure. The dragon, in this story, is a ship and a symbol of a nation which has lost its faith, like a dragon with no fire. I wasn't the only foreigner performing an English accent amongst Englishmen. John came down from Scotland.

Brian Deacon (Jesus of The Jesus Film) and I played brothers. I was able to tell him that our denomination, The Church of the Nazarene, has tripled in size since we started partnering with The Jesus Film in the mid-90s. I also mentioned that I went to seminary with people who were there because of The Jesus Film. He was curious about my seminary training, so I was able to tell him how the Lord clarified my calling while I was at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary: I was to minister through the performing arts, not as a pastor. "And now here I am playing a monk." 

We were directed by John Fornof, who recently taught at The Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp with me. He also wrote the script, and he's won two Emmy Awards for that skill.



Synopsis for The Dragon and The Raven
It's the 9th century. The Danes have invaded--and are taking over England. One by one, each kingdom falls. The Danes destroy entire villages, level monasteries and churches, and massacre men, women and children. 

Only one kingdom is left—a small sliver of southwestern England known as Wessex. And only one king stands against them.  His name is King Alfred.  And he’s 22 years old.  

It's all about making the story come alive in the imagination with the best actors, movie-quality sound design, and a custom music score.  

The final product is a retail CD, with future plans to launch as a radio drama.

Past cast members include Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Mom's Night Out), Kirk Cameron (Fireproof), Skandar Keyens (Narnia), Billy Boyd (The Lord of the Rings), and Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey).

Here's a video from their most recent production:


This month marks 20 years of working full-time in the performing arts and applied theatre. This recording adventure was an amazing way to celebrate!

Here's a recording of our church praying over me before the journey:




Hear about many of the Divine Appointments the Lord set up while I was in London here.


You can direct people to this page via www.RichDrama.com/TheDragonAndTheRaven.


Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The War Within Trumps Inside Out

We just got back from a pre-release screening of Inside Out, Pixar's look inside our minds. We enjoyed it very much, just not as much as Brett Varvel's The War Within, which took numerous awards last year, looking instead into our souls.

My preference lies mainly in the fact that, according to Inside Out our emotions are running the show. In The War Within, Emotion is just one of the six main characters that govern our thought-life. He's joined by Mind, Memory, Will, Conscience, and Heart. These elements all come into play in Inside Out, but they're not the decision makers.

Also, The War Within has a fantastic faith component, which is completely missing from Inside Out.

That being said, Inside Out does have a wonderful Christ moment, and the whole film is certainly enjoyable. It also has some deep insights into who we are. It was interesting to look into various people's minds and see who was running the show: Eleven-year-old Riley, whose mind is the set for most of the main plot, is run by Joy from birth. For her mother it's Sadness. For her Father it's Anger.  I'm glad we're not run by our emotions since "The heart is deceitful above all things..." But I do like the picture of choosing which emotion takes the lead.

If you like Inside Out, I highly recommend that you order the one that came first: The War Within.

Christians should know:
* Cartoon violence
* Anger wants to use a curse word, but, thankfully, never gets to do that



Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Antidote to Anxiety

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Exodus 20:8-11 and Genesis 1:26-2:3. Opening, prayer, and announcements by Pastor Jim Warren. Prayer by Sandy R. I introduced the song "Beautiful."



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

If you've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options



During Bible Study Sandy R. introduced "Deeper Still" by Kimberly and Alberta Rivera.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Rocky Mountain Christian

I got to reprise my role of the Slave Trader from Polycarp for this intro
to Zack Lawrence's review of the film.
I just got back from a great two weeks at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp, where we produced five short films, got an IMDb credit for all of our students when they performed in an opening sequence for film instructor Zack Lawrence's Indy Christian Review, and coached them all in auditions for an upcoming feature film. To make the most of our time together we uploaded teaching modules the students watched in advance so they could hit the ground running. Once on site we made the whole process as close to professional production as possibly, while teaching principles along the way.

We also had Emmy Award-winning writer John Fornof with us for a few days. He's directed actors for his radio dramas who have performed in Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and Downton Abbey, and he directed our students on voice-over pieces. 

Before Film Camp began we had a conference call with Bev Holloway. She fielded questions and shared from her wealth of experience casting nearly 60 feature films.

During both weeks of Film Camp actor/filmmaker/casting director Rebekah Cook gave an over-the-phone workshop on creating an actor website. She shared some outstanding insights, and then Zack and Ken Lawrence gave a student-only offer to create their sites for an incredibly reasonable rate.

You can hear my report on the Film Camp for our church, Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene by clicking here.

Pray about joining us next year: www.ChristianFilmmakersCamp.com.

Now taking applications sign-ups for Engage Rio.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Jesus Is Your Sabbath Rest

Pastor Randy Solomon preaches on Exodus 20:8-11. Pastor Jim Warren opens with a sketch with Rich Swingle, who later reported on his performance as Jesus in The Messenger's Box and his work as teacher and coach at the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. Pastor Jim also led the congregation in creative worship. Pastor Joyce Swingle shared announcements and prayer.



The following week Rich introduced the song "Beautiful," one of the songs they sang at the Christian Filmmakers Camp.





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've been blessed by the ministry of Westchester Chapel we'd be blessed by any contribution, which could help us continue our work for the Lord.

Other Options

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

Now taking sign-ups for Rio Ready.