Eric Liddell's Bible Reading program

As I was considering what Bible reading plan to use in '08 I was reminded that Eric Liddell developed a plan in his book The Disciplines of the Christian Life:

Eric Liddell's Scripture List.

It won't get you through the whole Bible in a year, but it looks like the seedbed for some good devotions.

I'm going to pair it with The Word of Promise.

Happy New Year!

Pure Delight

Joyce and I just enjoyed The Water Horse. The film was highly touted during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. It didn't disappoint as a breathtaking look at Scotland's Highlands, but it was much more than just the beautiful scenery, as one of the characters notes. It's about a young boy learning what's real, and what sort of man he is to become.

I remember a moment in time when I made a very clear decision that I would carry some of what it was to be a child into adulthood. I was sitting in a restaurant with several friends from high school. I had to leave to get back to class and I was tucked into the middle of a circular booth. My first inclination was to crawl under the table. I instantly checked myself, as I was too old for that sort of thing. Then came the moment of clarity: I knew I would grow up and be a responsible member of society, but if I lost all of what was childlike, something in me would die. I saved my own holistic life and dove under the table. It's a decision that's brought me a greater ability to write and act, and most certainly it's allowed me to have a deeper faith.

The Water Horse shows a boy at just such a juncture, but it's much more interesting than a table at Angelo's Pizza.

Cross-Pond pattern

The globes above Regent Street in London, which light up based on the noise rising from the street, are mirrored this Christmas in one of the patterns in Grand Central Station's show.

Candle-light service

Our church ( had a beautiful candle-light service for Christmas Eve. Our own Mike and Maria Hood, founders of Psalm 96 Band ( led us in some beautiful Christmas carols.

The streets of New York

This was taken just before dawn.

What a city!


> Is there not in every human soul, and was there not in the soul of
> Jean Valjean, an essential spark, an element of the divine;
> indestructable in this world and immortal in the next, which
> goodness can preserve, nourish and fan into flame, and which evil
> can never quite extinguish?
> --Victor Hugo
> on the front of the theatre across from my office, just off Times
> Square

Merry Christmas

This artwork was done by Riquelmys, who we sponsor through Compassion. He lives in the Dominican Republic and has been a blessing to us for many years.

This year has been quite full. Between Rich & Joyce we had about 240 performances or teachings in 18 states and 7 foreign nations.

Here are some of the highlights of 2007:

Hong Kong
The Philippines (some posts also in February)

June & July
MasterWorks Festival (

France (no performances)
Scotland (The Edinburgh Fringe Festival)


Stay tuned. There are some very exciting things developing for 2008.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Rich & Joyce

Nativity on Times Square

Last night I dropped by The Nativity on Times Square put on by Project Dance ( I've known the Cutlips who founded Project Dance for years, so Ron threw me into the choir. Before I knew it there was a buzz of flashes. I thought how cool it was that the birth of Jesus was actually getting some press at Christmas. Then I found out the guy playing Joseph was Lindsay Lohan's father.

Evidently he committed his life to the Lord while in prison for drunk driving and assault. He certainly proved his commitment by kneeling in the straw over concrete in subfreezing temps.

United Kingdom

From UK
Just returned from a phenomenal trip to the UK.

I got to perform Beyond the Chariots, Jonah from Big Fish Little Worm and "Harvey Silverstein", written by Mac Nelson, from Views of the Manger, for a church in Birmingham. In London I performed "Lazarus", written by former MasterWorks Theatre Dept head, Sean Gaffney, from Big Fish Little Worm for a Swahili service.

That came about through the daughter of Njeri, the woman who helped raise my mom in Kenya from 1948-1953. I got to meet Njeri on her third visit to the UK since 1999. I met her on her first visit as well, which was on my first trip to England. What are the chances my trips corresponded with hers without either of us knowing of the others' schedule either time? Only the One who set up both visits knows.
From UK

For more photos visit

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're relaxing in Washington, DC, where my nephew made this swell bird.

Inside was a chocolate egg. Inside the egg was a plastic yoke. Inside the yoke was a dragon. Who knew a turkey could give birth to such a thing?

Back at Carnegie Hall

I was back at Carnegie Hall for the third time in as many months. This time it was to hear another MasterWorks ( intructor, Dag Eriksen with the Bergen Symphony. They came over from Norway for a US tour.

The NY Times review didn't mention that the audience called the conductor back nine times after the final piece on the program. That included two encores. It was thrilling.

In All Circumstances

56696: The Hiding Place
How can we truly have grateful hearts at Thanksgiving with the bad choices people make all around us?

Join us at 7pm the night before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 21, at Westchester Chapel for "In All Circumstances," a sketch based on portions of The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Corrie, her sister, Betsie, and their father built a false wall into their home in Haarlem, the Netherlands, to hide Jewish people during the Holocaust. The ten Booms were turned in and the sisters joined 1400 women in the quarters of Ravensbruck, a concentration camp built to hold 400. Experience the hope that helped them thank God in all circumstances.

Out of the sketch Joyce Swingle will preach and Dom Crincoli will lead worship.

Join us in giving thanks.

Directions by car:
Public Transportation from NYC:

Amazing Grace on DVD today

Ken Wales joined us at MasterWorks last summer (click here for the post). Ken recently was used as the centerpiece on an article on a very encouraging article, Faith on Film in Charisma. Starting today the DVD of his film Amazing Grace is available on DVD.
444930: Amazing Grace, DVDAmazing Grace, DVD

Amazing Grace, from acclaimed director, Michael Apted, tells the inspiring story of how one man's passion and perseverance changed the world. Based on the true-life story of William Wilberforce (Gruffudd), a leader of the British abolition movement, the film chronicles his epic struggle to pass a law to end the slave trade in the late 18th century. Along the way, Wilberforce meets intense opposition from members of Parliament who feel the slave trade is tied to the stability of the British Empire. Several friends, including Wilberforce's minister, John Newton (Finney), a reformed slave ship captain who penned the beloved hymn Amazing Grace, urge him to see the cause through. Rated PG. Approx. 111 Minutes.

DVD Special Features:
  • Widescreen, Closed Captioned
  • English, Spanish and French Subtitles
  • Audio Commentary with Director Michael Apted and Ioan Gruffudd
  • How Sweet the Sound: The Story of Amazing Grace - Documentary
  • Finding Freedom
  • Interactive Discussion Tools and Study Guides
  • Music video of Grammy Nominee Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace

Waiting for my Fingers

Mac Nelson, who was best man at our wedding, just published a book, Waiting for My Fingers: One Man's Reflection on Sin, Suffering, Healing and Victory. Joyce and I are both mentioned in this amazing story, and some of you were even praying for him through one of my blogs (SwinglePrayer) before, during and after his surgery. What began in the hospital was brought to completion in a very dramatic fashion.

You'll also love Mac's other book, Memoirs of a Hollywood Adventure.

Word of Promise

Last summer at MasterWorks John Kirby spoke about how he coached Jim Caviezel and many other actors on the Word of Promise project. He played an excerpt, which was so compelling. It's now available...

024249: The Word of Promise: NKJV New Testament on CD   With Zipper CaseThe Word of Promise

The Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible uses Dramatic Audio Theater to deliver the entire New Testament in a new and exciting way, complete with music and sound effects. Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) leads this star-studded cast in a compelling presentation of the New King James Version New Testament. This multi-voiced audio drama is directed by actor, writer, producer and president of the award-winning Cerny/American Creative Studios, JoBe Cerny. It features an original music score written by award-winning Italian composer, Stefano Mainetti and state-of-the-art sound effects. 25 Hours on 20 CDs in a zippered case.

Special Features and Cast List:
  • Jim Caviezel as Jesus
  • Terence Stamp as the voice of God
  • Micheal York as the Narrator
  • Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss as Moses
  • Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei as Mary Magdalene
  • Golden Globe winner Stacy Keach as Paul
  • Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Lou Gossett, Jr. as John
  • Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Mary, Mother of Jesus
  • Golden Globe and Tony Award nominee Lou Diamond Phillips as Mark
  • Luke Perry As Judas and Steven
  • John Heard as Matthew
  • Chris McDonald as Luke
  • John Schneider as James
  • Ernie Hudson as Peter
  • Stefano Mainetti as Composer & Orchestral
  • Contributions by Dove Award winners Michael W. Smith and Rebecca St. James, are also featured
  • Coproduced by Jim Caviezel and New York Times best-selling author and broadcast journalist, Raymond Arroyo
  • Directed by actor, writer, producer and president of the award-winning Cerny/American Creative Studios, JoBe Cerny
  • Bonus DVD showing scenes from the actors' recording sessions

Welch Revival

I just rediscovered an article on the Welch Revival. It broke out on October 31, 1904. Christianit Today reported that "crime levels plummeted and courts were closed because there were no cases to hear; families were reunited and marriages were restored; epidemic levels of drunkenness and violence in towns were dramatically reduced; prayer meetings broke out on street corners, in mines, in police stations and on rugby pitches; and more than 100,000 people became Christians within a year."

Lord, bring more of that!

Here's the whole article:

Heart for the Nations

Eastbrook Church ( hosted my plays over the last two weekends. They have teams either on or prepping for trips to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Mexico.

Rachels' Beetles

I got to borrow the Beetle on the left from a gal named Rachel. The Beetle on the right is owned by a gal on the drama team here named...Rachel.

Winging into Milwaukee...

...for weekend #2.

MasterWorks reunion

We used the Harrell's trip to NYC to have a MasterWorks gathering. Jessica (center, Abby in The Crucible last summer) was in town with her father (right of Jessica) to see musicals. Sarah (second from left, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible) and her mother (taking the picture: Thanks!) joined us, as did Bobby (center in picture below).

Jessica is rehearsing to play Kate in Taming of the Shrew. Congrats! Congratulations, Jessica!

Back at Carnegie Hall

We got to see MasterWorks ( faculty Alan & Karin Harrell when they were in town. Alan plays cello for the Cleveland Symphony, which was performing in Carnegie Hall. Now they're off on an extensive tour of Europe.

Baby Charlotte

An encouraging report about an enacted prayer we did recently...

Begin forwarded message:

Hello Rich,

The baby Charlotte, a 6 month old that you brought before the Lord this weekend who had a rare form of bone cancer, has been diagnosed as cancer free. She had a fourth rib removed and had a spot on her kidney that the doctors were concerned about. The spot was radiation damage only and she is expected to recover completely.


Beating the clock again

The bell tower chimes of the Great Court of Trinity College, made famous in Chariots of Fire, have been beaten again in record time: Modern-day hero runs away with Chariots of Fire challenge.

Feast of Tabernacles

Our church, Westchester Chapel, is gearing up for another transformation for a dramatic event on Saturday, November 10th, at 7pm.

The Biblical Feast of Tabernacles

Join us to experience the sights and sounds of Jerusalem some 2000 years ago...authentic food, costumed servants, drama, dance, worship, and a celebration of God's abundant provision! A free event. A free-will offering will be taken.

Directions from NYC

A Mountaintop Experience

In all the dozens of times I've been to Camp Taconic, I've never climbed to the top of the mountain. This morning my room mate invited me along, so here I am. This picture hardly does it justice.

Lakeside performances

I get to perform for the next three days beside the lake, where Joyce and I took a boat ride after meeting here.

MasterWorks Festival East (Side)

Joyce and I hosted MasterWorks Festival alum from NYC. We had a screening of two alum films: David Edward Kavinaugh's 42 minute The Wrath of Black Bow (4:24 minute trailer) and Cody Mahan's The Unforgettable Battle of Epic Proportions. Both had interesting takes on screen violence.

Touchdown LGA

Those three lights in the sky are followed by a host of other planes, yet invisible to my camera.

2hrs, 7min east of PDX

Cannon Beach

We're glad the wedding was yesterday. It's been quite blustery today.

Sunset over Swingle Farms

Dad took this shot.

Our brand

Dad just found the branding iron my grandpa and great uncle used on the Black Angus we raised until my great uncle retired. The R is for Great Uncle Ralph and the C is for Grandpa Charles.

I was in junior high when the property turned from a ranch to a farm, so I have fond memories of cow pie fights. The best were dry enough to fling like a frisby and soft enough to make a good splat on impact.

Touchdown: Medford, Oregon

Wendy & Bob

I'm on the Oregon Coast for my cousin Wendy's wedding.

For photos click here.

If you've uploaded photos ( or are a couple of good free options) post a URL in a comment below.

My friend summited Everest

I just learned that my friend, Brian Smith, reached the highest point on the planet! He's the son of Larry & Linda Smith. Larry and his twin, Lloyd have been friends of my dad since they were in third grade. Larry taught me just about everything I know about photography, so if you like the photos on this blog, thank Larry.

Brian nearly lost his life before reaching the top. The following link has an article with links to others detailing the journey: South Medford grad scales Mount Everest summit.

Congratulations, Brian!

Salvo Leaders

I just got to work with a great bunch of leaders of the Salvation Army at a camp outside of Jacksonville, FL.

Besides teaching them acting skills and giving them a run-down on various forms, I helped them develop a script on Saturday that we performed on Sunday!

Great job, guys!

In the land of the Terrible Towel

On September 10 and 11 I performed Five Bells for 9/11 here.

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette drew some people, including one fellow who had friends that had performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. Of the 2000 shows there I'm afraid their's wasn't one that crossed our radar screen.

Ann Van Hine, whose husband is portrayed in Five Bells spoke after the play, as she's done in the past. Every time it moves me to hear how she chose to turn to God in those devestating hours. It made a huge difference. She has total peace about it all.

In the past Ann mentioned that the play will have more significance as time goes by, and this year I really saw that. There was a six year-old scampering about that was almost born on 9/11/01 because her mother was so emotional that day she thought she was going into labor. The doctors sent her home, and the wonderful girl I met last night was born 10 days later.

Every year our nation finds more healing. I can tell because each year people laugh a little more at the jokes in the play..


Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp

Act One: Writing for Hollywood

Territorial Arts Ministries (Eastern Territory)

Territorial Music Institute (Southern Territory)

Christians in Theatre Arts
National Conferences and Regional Networking

Lillenas Music and Drama Resources

Local Workshops
Rich performs and teaches all over the world
You can also sign up for Rich's itinerary updates to see when he'll be near you:

Handbook for Multi-Sensory Worship--Book and CD-ROM
(Features "The Move" by Rich Swingle)

Lillenas Publishers:

Bringing Scripture Alive! by Carol Jaudes

Drama Ministry Magazine:
CrossPoint Script Service:
SelectScripts by Paul Johnson and Nicole Johnson

Chuck Neighbors:

Caught in the Act...of Worship edited by Martyn Scott Thomas.

Enacted Prayer


Recommended Reading

Savidge, Dale and Johnson, Todd (2009).  Performing the Sacred: Theology and Theatre in Dialogue. Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic.

Harbinson, Colin (ed.) (2005). Redeeming the Arts. Occasional Paper by the Lausanne Issue Group on The Arts. Published as a special edition of The Creative Arts: A Journal of the Arts and Faith. Jackson, MS: Belhaven.

L’Engle, Madeline (1980). Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art. Wheaton, IL: H. Shaw.

Recommended Videos

Back in NYC

I was disappointed to leave Paris too early to follow the sunset the whole way, but we caught it just before touching down.