Sunday, December 25, 2011

An Unexpected Surprise

Pastor Randy Solomon preaches on Luke 2:1-20.

 Pastoral prayer by Linda Warren

Additional comments by Claude Chew.

 "Harvey Silverstein" by Mac Nelson is performed by Rich Swingle.  Thomas Tornado Tinglehoop (mentioned in this version of the sketch) is the hero of Jim Warren and Rich Swingle's children's book Thomas Tornado Tinglehoop and the Three Christmas Clues.

 

 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.

 Here is Rich's performance of Harvey Silverstein The Innkeeper on the other side of the wall from what is believed to be the actual manger in which Jesus was born. Our guide to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem said it's over 9 out of 10 probability that it's the actual manger because a Byzantine church is built over a little chapel enclosing a stone manger. It is the oldest church on earth that is still being used. It was built within 100 years of Jesus' death, so it was the grandkids of those who were there that identified it as The Spot.

 

 "Harvey Silverstein" © Copyright 2011 by Mac Nelson and Rich Swingle.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Picture of Our King

Pastor Linda with the
painting to which she
refers in her sermon.
Painting: "Father's Prize"
by Pastor Linda's mother,
Edith DeCecca.
Pastor Linda Warren preaches on Isaiah 11:1-10.

 Call to worship by Rich Swingle.

 Scripture reading by Chris L. and Tamara W. (NIV)

 Pastoral and closing prayers by Joyce Swingle.

 Testimonies by Claude Chew and 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.
Edward Hicks (1780-1849)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Kazakhstan connection


As I was getting on a connecting flight in Charlotte I saw a fellow wearing a Beijing Olympics sweatshirt. I found out he competed there for Kazakhstan, so I told him "Salamatzas ba" (hello in Kazakh) and we chatted until they called my boarding zone. As I was on the phone telling Joyce about how cool the encounter was he sat next to me! I told him about my performances in Beijing during those Olympics, and he showed me his photo with Michael Phelps. He's a Christian, and he showed me the cross on his necklace. He explained that it's a bit corroded from the chlorine because he wears it during his practices and competitions! We prayed together on the tarmac, especially that when he competes in March to qualify for the London Olympics that he will succeed. Join us in praying that he will, and that he will carry his witness there to people from around the world. The person who taught me Kazakh phrases runs a theatre in Almaty, Kazakhstan, so I'm praying that my new friend can connect with her during his month home.

I was transferring notes from an old draft of Views of the Manger, so I was able to give him the script to read on his next leg to Kiev. Pray it has a lasting impact.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent of God

Joyce preaches on Matthew 1:18-24, and I continue my piece "What!?" from my play, Views of the Manger. Additional prayers and comments by Bill Huisman and Pastors Linda Warren and Randy Solomon at Westchester Chapel.



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.

Love bade me welcome


This is one of five poems by George Herbert that I performed at The Kennedy Center in 2002.  It was hanging on the wall in the room where I stayed while in Chicago with the father of Melissa Lorraine, who performs the one-woman play, Juliet: A Dialogue About Love.

Wheaton College Church, where I miraculously performed that night, had asked Melissa's parents if they'd host me. Later he realized Joyce and I had hosted Melissa in '07. I had met her at a speed networking session at a Christians in Theatre Arts conference, there in Chicago. We had two minutes to share about our work. She said, "I'm going to perform at the Fringe Festival this summer."

"So am I!" I bellowed. "I'll see you in Edinburgh!" Turns out she was performing at the New York Fringe Festival the same weeks we were performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. So we let her apartment sit.

So her folks returned the favor.  I asked Melissa's father about the significance of the poem, and he shared that after many years of rejecting the love of God and her family she wrote out this poem and framed it for her father's birthday present, to let them know that she had accepted Love...

"Love bade me welcome, but my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin. 
But quick-eyes Love, observing me grow slack 
From my first entrance in
Drew near to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.
"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here."
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah, my dear, 
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, 
"Who made the eyes but I?"
"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
~George Herbert

On the Christmas card Melissa wrote, "Please forgive the five-year-old quality of this gift...I wish it was just a little bit prettier.  But know that the reason this is your gift today is because I finally and fully know Him and I have at long last pulled my chair up to His feast...."

Melissa's dad invited me to read a chapter she wrote in Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis. I was sobbing after Melissa's profound retelling of how she found Jesus in a very secular theatre company commune in Hungary by reading pages from C. S. Lewis' book, Surprised by Joy, which her sister had selected for her.



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Shepherd's Daughter in the Shepherd's Cave of Bethlehem

Joyce performed this piece that she wrote in the Shepherds' Cave of Bethlehem during our trip to Jordan and Israel through CITA to the Nations.

 

 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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Margot Morrell

I ran into Margot Morrell tonight at MasterMedia's Christmas party. She's written books on Ronald Reagan and Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led his crew of 27 through the frigid wasteland of Antarctica. She encouraged me to turn them both into one-man plays. I'm intrigued...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent of the Lord

Rachel Taylor preaches on Mark 1: 1-8 after Rich Swingle's performance of the first half of "What!?", a sketch from his one-man play Views of the Manger.

 

 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.

Interview with Donald James Parker

Here's my interview with Donald James Parker on his show Wielding the Sword of the Spirit:


Listen to internet radio with Donald James Parker on Blog Talk Radio

Here are the links I mention on the show:
Beyond the Chariots: RichDrama.com/BeyondtheChariots
 Plays: RichDrama.com Click on Feature Length Plays in right index
A Christmas Snow: RichDrama.com/AChristmasSnow
MasterWorks Theatre report: RichDrama.com/MWF
 List of former master class instructors at MasterWorks: click here
MasterWorks Theatre Program for 2012: RichDrama.comMWFTheatre2012
Filmography: films.richdrama.com
Writer's Block: RichDrama.com/WritersBlock
Ivy League Congress on Faith and Action: RichDrama.com/IvyLeague
Graceworks: GraceworksInc.com
Itinerary: itinerary.richdrama.com

Christmas Greetings!


5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.
We pray all God’s best as we enter into this season of celebrating our Savior’s incarnation and birth as the Baby Jesus.  May all His Love flow over and in you this holy time.
The Swingles had another eventful year:
  • Joyce completed her first year as lead/senior pastor of Westchester Chapel Community Church of the Nazarene aka WCCC (WestchesterChapel.org).  She has had the blessing of celebrating Christ in this beloved community for almost 15 years and has seen the Lord bring people to Himself, grow them into steadfast, faithful and Spirit-filled believers and mature them to continue to witness to His Love and Presence.  God has blessed this little group of the faithful through a time of reconstruction and return to the core of the faith:  Christ Alone.  It has been an eventful and rewarding journey.
  • This was Rich's busiest year. He was in front of groups teaching, speaking, preaching or performing over 275 times on three continents, four nations and 17 states. He broke another personal record by performing nine of his 11 productions (only A Clear Leading and The Revelation were left out of the lineup: RichDrama.com), including two new offerings: Paradise Lost (which you can watch in its entirety) and Shepherds Reflect on Psalm 23 (which you can hear in its entirety). 
  • Rich and Joyce performed, taught and or preached in four nations this year:  Jordan and Israel in May as Rich co-led a Christians in Theatre Arts (CITA.org) tour: CITAToTheNationsJordanAndIsrael.Shutterfly.com.  Taiwan and Singapore (Rich only) in the fall as both Swingles taught at a Spiritual Life Week at Morrison Academy and Rich went on to Singapore to perform Beyond the Chariots for a packed-out event for Singapore Youth Day. Joyce went back to the US to preach in Pittsburgh. There was a twelve hour period where the Swingles were performing for 12 hours straight in both hemispheres!
  • The Swingles also had the incredible experience of appearing as husband/wife, father/mother of nine (pictured in the photo card above) in the lovely film Indescribable (RichDrama.com/Indescribable), which tells the story of God’s love.  The film is expected to be released next summer.
  • Rich enjoyed unusually joyous camaraderie on the set of Writers' Block (RichDrama.com/WritersBlock), a comedy about two screen writers forced to hole up overnight and turn out a blockbuster script.  The Presence of the Lord was so strong on the set that the participants still share the wonder with each other.
  • We too want to share the wonder of the surrendered life with you.  We’ve been preaching for some time at WCCC on the freedom that is in Christ and have walked with Him through the shedding of sins and idolatries of all sorts.  (You'll find some messages on WestchesterChapel.org at the bottom of the center column, including recordings of Views of the Manger as Rich shares it week by week this Advent.) The result for those who have allowed God to work has been an increasing freedom in the Spirit -- freedom to enjoy God’s Presence and to serve as He calls in joyous, fruitful measure.  We pray just such blessings for you this season and in the year to come. 
In Christ Alone,  
Rich and Joyce Swingle

P.S. If you're still looking for some gift-giving ideas consider some of Rich's projects: 
A Christmas Snow (also check out your local listings) 
God of Hope
Sponsor a child as a gift to someone you know and to a child in a developing nation: RichDrama.com/Compassion
 P.P.S. Here's Joyce's performance of her one-woman piece The Shepherd's Daughter, performed in the Shepherds' Cave of Bethlehem.




Here is Rich's performance of Harvey Silverstein The Innkeeper on the other side of the wall from what is believed to be the actual manger in which Jesus was born. Our guide to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem said it's over 9 out of 10 probability that it's the actual manger because a Byzantine church is built over a little chapel enclosing a stone manger. It is the oldest church on earth that is still being used. It was built within 100 years of Jesus' death, so it was the grandkids of those who were there that identified it as The Spot.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Freud's Last Session...again


Joyce and I saw Freud's Last Session tonight. I loved it for the second time! The difference was that in Atlanta C.S. Lewis had more fans, and here in New York Freud seemed to hold sway. Still, Truth was spoken, and hopefully there will many that turn up the music, as Freud does in the end, and wonder.

Have you registered for the Secondary Festival yet?

I'll be adjudicating and leading a workshop at this event...

When the New Year begins, registration for the CITA Secondary School Theatre Festival CLOSES. Don't miss the deadline! Registration closes on January 3, 2012.

We are happy to announce that several college representatives are on board to interview and recruit students at the festival. We will also be presenting two $1,000 scholarships to the best male and best female senior performers.

If you would like to bring students or if you are a college representative and would like to meet prospective students, be sure to check out our website for information on festival registration, hotel information, and more! Also, "like" us on Facebook to receive helpful tips on how to prepare for the festival! You DO NOT want to miss this wonderful event!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Advent of the Light

Pastor Linda Warren preaches on John 1:1-18 after Rich Swingle performs Part 2 of Views of the Manger, "Guess What", the story of Gabriel's announcement to Mary. In this recording Pastor Joyce Swingle lends her voice to Mary's reaction to the news.

Pastoral prayer by Joyce Swingle.

 

 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.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Butterfly Circus

I have a friend who performed a minor role in Butterfly Circus, which won $100,000 for first place at The Doorpost Film Project Competition. It was also recently featured the Searching for Sanctuary Film Festival at Biola University. It's a profound look at hope despite unfortunate circumstances.

It's now being made into a feature film: "The Butterfly Circus" To Get Full-Length Treatment