In preparation for a sociodrama workshop I'm going to lead next month ( I took a drama therapy workshop through Creative Alternatives of New York (  It was a phenomenal day!  They had fresh perspectives on the work, and I was re-inspired by the power it can have. 

We got to hear from two participants in a CANY group for Asbergers clients, and the video below includes them and their colleagues as they talk about a play they developed together: To Be Seen.

Opening Weekend for The Grace Card

LOVED THE GRACE CARD! I've seen it twice already because it was that good and to support it opening weekend.  It has a powerful script, great acting, and great production values. We saw it with a fellow who said he grew up around so many atheists he thought there were no intelligent people of faith. He echoed all the positives I just said about the film, and said it confirmed things he's observed over the years: that people with the same values he's grown up with--vis a vis making the world a better place--approach it from a place of genuine faith.  And then we got on the elevator with him the next morning...

Christianity Today just posted an interview with Oscar and multi-Emmy winner, Lou Gossett, Jr.: A Healing Journey, in which he speaks about his role in his upcoming film The Grace Card. I got to hear an interview with makers of the film, and I can't wait to see it. It was created by a church in Memphis that is a part of our denomination: Church of the Nazarene.

Variety, a magazine for decision-makers in Hollywood, led the film review section of its website's home page, saying The Grace Card has "...breakout potential...", and the reaction of The New York Times was one of "...pleasant surprise at it's competence."

The Grace Card was 16th overall at the box office on its opening weekend, and its per screen take was higher than Drive Angry with Nicolas Cage. 

The themes of grace, reconciliation, forgiveness and racial harmony are woven throughout the film about an African-American Nazarene pastor who moonlights as a police officer. He's paired with a white officer who's son was killed by a black drug dealer. Tension runs high in the partnership.  The white officer, played seriously well by Christian comedian Michael Joiner, finds his family unraveling, and as he's begging them, "When will it end?!" tragedy strikes.  The choices made lead to reconciliation and, well, grace.

The film is already bringing racial reconciliation, as some churches are choosing to attend the film with churches of a different ethnicity.  

This weekend will determine how well it will do.  Vote for more films like this by planning to attend with friends.

For more information visit

WARNING: Bring lots of tissues. Seriously. I was in a bad way without them.

A Samaritan Woman

Patricia Mauceri performed "A Samaritan Woman" at Westchester Chapel this morning. She developed this a one-woman piece with international and Off-Broadway producer John Forbes and myself.

Here's my introduction...

Patricia's performance is not online because of copyright restrictions, but she is available for performances, coaching and speaking engagements:

Joyce taught between Patricia's performance and testimony which you can hear below...

Closing observations are by Pastor Randy Solomon.

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

Patricia Mauceri performing at our church this Sunday

Patricia Mauceri will perform "A Samaritan Woman", a one-woman piece that she developed with international and Off-Broadway producer John Forbes and Rich Swingle this Sunday during our 11am service. 

Patricia trained at The Julliard School, and has been blessed to work as a performer for over 30 years. She appeared on Broadway in The National Health replacing Rita Moreno, in Othello with James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer, and Death And The Maiden performing the role of Paulina with Richard Dreyfuss and Gene Hackman; and in films such as Die Hard With A Vengance, Don Juan De Marco, Don’t Say A Word, Boss Of Bosses and Freedomland. She has enjoyed performing in numerous Off-Broadway productions and television episodics such as Royal Pains, Law & Order, Sopranos, 100 Centre Street, Now & Again and Rescue Me. She is most known for her current role as Carlotta Vega, which she created 15 years ago on ABC's One Life To Live. Many thanks to the Lord and her colleagues for the opportunity to direct The Crucible at Masterworks 2007. She was delighted to have served on the Board of Directors of Intermission NY. Patricia attends Times Square Church in New York where she has participated in short term missions to Cuba & Columbia and is part of the Counseling Ministry, Friday Night Ensemble and Military Ministry. She lives in New York with her son, Alexander, and continues to seek the Lord to lead her as He desires so that He may glorify Himself.
Patricia teaches each summer for two weeks at The MasterWorks Festival.

'Soul Surfer' heading our way

Ken Wales told me that he saw a preview of Soul Surfer, coming to theatres April 8, and he thinks it's great.  Retta Blaney sent me the following article, which is quite intriguing: Producer Tried to Edit Bible Out of Sony's 'Soul Surfer'

Applied Theatre Conference

I was just quoted in an advertisement for the upcoming Applied Theatre Conference where I'll be teaching next month...

 atc_header 3

Take time to register today for the Applied Theatre Conference! Don't miss the chance to expand your view of how theatre can be used!  CITA Member and Applied Theatre Conference track leader Rich Swingle said, "Jacob Moreno believed that sociodrama could solve all the world's problems. I've used sociodrama with homeless and/or recovering drug addicts in Orlando, New York City and Sydney, Australia, and I've been blown away by the insights that it brings. I have seen the world's problems dealt with through sociodrama in those lives that it touched. They made decisions that transformed their lives and the lives of those they influence. I can't wait to share it at the Applied Theatre Conference!"

For more information, please visit the Applied Theatre Center's website or visit us onFacebook!

Jordan and Israel trip still accepting registrants

CITA to the Nations: Jordan and Israel

rich 2

Join leaders Rich Swingle and Kim Messer on this exciting trip May 16-24, 2011! Harmony International is extending payment time for anyone interested. Whether you are a student, a drama ministry group, or a professional actor, we hope that you consider coming! For more information, please visit the CITA website or visit us on Facebook!

The Ultimate Love Note

Fox rejected a Superbowl ad encouraging viewers to look up John 3:16. Pastor Linda Warren explains that ultimate Love Note in this first sermon in a new series on the Book of John. Today's sermon is based on John 3.

Opening prayer by Pastor Joyce Swingle.

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


After our first prayer meeting in our new sanctuary ( we had the most amazing ending! Our pastor asked if anyone had a song they wanted to close with, and a friend talked about a song in Zulu that she learned when she was in Hong Kong with us: Siyahamba. Joyce and I missed it because we needed to prep our translation slides before crossing the border the next day. She sang a bit of it, and another friend said she sang it it French while growing up in Gabon! I pulled out my laptop and played the Zulu and Swahili translations of it from a CD that had been given to me in Oregon! 

An article about a mentor by a mentor

I was looking up Jonathan Kalb, who taught me theatre criticism while I was working on my masters at Hunter College. I found an article that he wrote about Eric Bentley, who was another of my professors at Hunter: A Critic Has Praise for a Playwright (Himself).

I sent Mr. Bentley a link to the article, and he quickly shot back the poster below:

Curt Cloninger coming to MasterWorks

Curt Cloninger will be teaching and performing his play Witnesses at MasterWorks this summer. He's the first person I ever saw perform a one-man play, so it will be great to have one of my heroes on campus. I saw him perform last summer at the Salvation Army's TAM Conservatory, and he mentioned in an interview that he was hoping to make a foray into television work, so I was delighted to discover that he's now performing in a Korean sitcom called Chin Chens.

The Door of Hope, Part 2

Rev. Joyce Swingle preached on Exodus 15. This was the first sermon in our new sanctuary at 10 County Center Road.

Opening and closing prayers by Rev. Linda Warren.

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

God of Hope excerpts posted

They've posted excerpts from the DVD and audio book of God of Hope: God's Story. And the audio book, with me as The Apostle Paul, is now for sale: God of Hope Audio CD

A Christmas Snow wins four awards

A Christmas Snow, in which I play Claud, won four awards, including Best of Festival at the Trail Dance Film Festival: A Christmas Snow Wins Four Golden Drovers.

The Door of Hope, Part 1

Rev. Joyce Swingle preached on Exodus 12.  This was the last sermon at 214 Central Avenue. Next week we'll meet at 10 County Center.

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

The devil's Candle

Rich Swingle opened worship alluding to Exodus 13:21.  This is the last service in 214 Central Ave. Next week we'll meet at 10 County Center.

After the service, we carried out our Ark of the Covenant.

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

Things to do in NYC

I have a friend who's heading to NYC and asked for suggestions of things to do. I'm asked that so many times I decided to create a page dedicated to it. So here are my suggestions, but please post your own below.

Staten Island Ferry: You can ride it for free and come close to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You can pay for the ferry which will take you there. The tour is quite interesting.

Tram to Roosevelt Island: You could take the subway there, but the tram gives you quite a great view before your arrival. Joyce and I took a walk around the island when we were first falling in love, so we're quite partial to it. It has a phenomenal view of Manhattan.

TKTS: Half price Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets on Times Square. Rush tickets and electronic lotteries. Get discounts before you arrive. It's an app for phones and tablets. They claim to offer the cheapest tickets anywhere, and the only exception to that might be rush or lottery tickets. (See the next line for info.) If you buy a ticket on TodayTix and use our code (BVGVW) you'll get $10 off and we'll receive a $10 credit once you've seen your show. Be sure to enter our referral code BVGVW at checkout. If you go to the box office, you can often get standing room, rush, lottery and/or obstructed view seats for less than the half-price tickets for good seats. Our friend Fritz told us that is a way to find what's offered in those categories.

Museums: The Met, Natural History Museum, Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, etc., etc. Most have a suggested donation, and they really don't give you a hard time if you pay less than the recommendation. And they will be happy for you to pay more. Bank of America card-holders can get in free on certain weekends.

The Empire State Building: Go near sunset so you can see the day and night views.

Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Plaza): There is an expensive restaurant up there, where you can watch The Empire State Building as the sun sets.

Bryant Park: Ice skating in the winter, free movies Monday nights in the summer.

The New York Public Research Library: Right next to Bryant Park, the building is worth touring even if you don't want to do research. There's often a museum-quality exhibit on the first floor, and the Reading Room on the top floor should not be missed.

Central Park: Skating in the winter, beautiful walks in the spring and summer, leaf peeping in the fall, and carriage rides all year round. The Boat House (this is where I proposed) closed in October of 22, another casualty of the lockdowns, but our gondolier had high hopes that someone would buy it, so it's definitely worth checking out.  

Gracie Mansion: The mayor's abode. 
The bike path: It circumnavigates most of Manhattan, but the west side is the most continuous. You can rent bikes where 43rd Street meets the Hudson. There's a great little restaurant there, where you can watch dancing fountains in front of the Hudson.

Chelsea Piers: Go rock climbing, play basketball or tennis, or practice your golf swing.

Rock climbing: We have a climbing gym right in our building:

9/11 Memorial and Museum, Freedom Tower Observatory

The Financial District: See the bull, watch the market open and/or close, and visit Fraunces Tavern, a working restaurant where our founding fathers gathered.

Macy's: It's the largest department store in the US, and they still have a couple of wooden escalators running. It was the largest in the world until it was surpassed in 2009 by a Korean store, Shinsegae.

Little Italy: Have a canoli or a full meal.

China Town: Real Chinese food and shopping.

Korea Town: Superb Korean BBQ.

The UN: You can arrange for tours.

Sports: US Open, Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Red Bulls, NY Liberty, NY Football Club (Soccer), Sky Blue Football Club (soccer), Lizards, Rattlers, Cosmos.

The Brooklyn Bridge: Walk it from the Brooklyn side at sunset, or from Manhattan into "DUMBO" (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), or after a service at...

Brooklyn Tabernacle: Hear their world-famous choir.

Times Square Church, which meets in a Broadway theatre: Pastor David Wilkerson's story The Cross and the Switchblade was one of the inspirations for my move to NYC in 1993. There's a service almost every night of the week.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church: Pastor Tim Keller is a coveted speaker around the world and author of books such as The Reason for God

Hillsong NYC: The Australian worshippers have landed in Manhattan.

Liberty Church: We've heard good things.

Calvary Baptist: The brother of Kathy Lee Gifford preaches at this beautiful, historic church.

Westchester Chapel: It's north of the city, but it's where my beloved bride, Joyce is lead pastor:

That's just top of mind. Post something else now, or if you think of something later, come back to