Share the Light

Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on John 9. She challenges us to read the full chapter, and her husband, Rich Swingle, encourages us to read the whole Bible in 2013. Communion by Pastor Randy Solomon, preaching from John 6. "This Little Light of Mine" is in the public domain. Words and music by Harry Dixon Loes.



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WCCC Worship 12/30/12 by RichS on Grooveshark

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I challenge you!

[A note from New Year's Day 2017: By God's grace I've been able to finish the Bible every year since this post, and I find it completely worth the effort.]

When I was in my teens I read through the whole Bible. It was a stupendous experience, but I didn't repeat it until I married Joyce. One of her early disciplers laminated a reading plan that she continues to use to this day. For the first seven years of our marriage I read through the whole Bible year after year. Out of that process I wrote my plays The Revelation and The Acts. My knowledge of scripture was better than ever, and it drew me closer to the Lord.

Then my schedule got busy. My reading plan fell by the wayside. I was reading most days, but I was just dipping in here and there. That was beneficial, but last year I committed to reading through the full Bible again, and the difference is night and day! I highly recommend it.

In fact I challenge you!

I have friends reading my posts who are atheists. I even challenge you to read through the whole Bible in the coming year. There is a long list of atheists that found the Love of the Lord at least in part through scripture reading: C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Franz Mohr (the piano tuner for Horowitz), and personal friends of ours. 

Even if you've been a Christian for years I recommend reading through the whole Bible every year. There's so much false teaching out there some of it can sound great if you're not grounded in the Word of God. 

As you read you may run into things that don't make sense. Though we can draw principles for ourselves from most passages of Scripture they were all written for people who lived when it was written. For instance in John 10:27 Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." I was honored to take an evangelism class from Dr. J. Christy Wilson when I attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He told how, when he was a missionary to Afghanistan, he happened upon a group of shepherds. Their sheep were all mixed together, but when one of them would call to them, his sheep would separate themselves out from the others and follow that shepherd. Thinking it was a certain command that had brought the desired effect, Dr. Wilson approached one of the shepherds and asked if he could try it. The shepherd laughed at him, and said, "They don't know your voice." Grab a good commentary, and it will help these passages come to life and make sense. Reading the Bible for All It's Worth, The Hard Sayings of Jesus, and the IVP Bible Background Commentary for Old and New Testaments are all great resources. 

Also, trust that God is loving and wants the best for his children, even when we who are not omniscient don't understand everything. Joyce shared a teaching in which she shared how a passage troubled her every year until one year it made sense. She also spends some time in the sermon talking about the power of reading scripture through every year.

Now you need a reading plan. I suggest YouVersion. You can read on your computer, smartphone and/or tablet, and it keeps track in the cloud. One of the ways I was able to stay on track... Okay, it's confession time: I didn't actually get all the way through in 2012. I started in October of 2011. There's a "catch up" button that adjusts your start and finish days so that you don't have to find where you are on the calendar if you get off pace. It just sets the next reading at the current day. ...Now, for the way I've been able to stay on track to finish by New Year's: My friend, Max McLean. The NIV version has a button you can click and Max reads the passage to you on your device. So you can stay on top of your reading plan while you're doing dishes, folding laundry, commuting, exercising, etc. 

The last thing you need is to pick your reading plan. YouVersion has 24 different reading plans for reading through the whole Bible in at least a year. They have a number of others that are shorter, if you want to start there. I read through a fabulous Advent plan this Season. I just finished the Chronological plan which allows you to read in the order it was written (as much as is known). So while reading Acts, after Luke tells about Paul in Corinth, it jumps to his letters to the Corinthians. They also have a plan that, like Joyce's laminated plan, mixes Old Testament and New Testament. That would be a great one if you've never read through the Bible before because on genealogy days it will be paired with the stories of their Descendent Jesus. By the way, over the years I've used those long passages of names to remind me of God's faithfulness through family lines, that each individual listed had a unique story, and I've even prayed for their descendants. 

I was commissioned long ago to write a one-man play that covers the whole of Scripture in the course of an hour or so. When I was looking up YouVersion's reading plans I noticed one that covers the whole Bible in 90 days. That's the one I'm going to tackle. Pray for me.  [A note from New Year's Day 2016: Thanks for your prayers! I finished that plan, and it was a great experience.]

How about you? Go for it!


This post can be found at www.RichDrama.com/BibleReading.

Joyce's sermon at MasterWorks

Joyce preached the opening sermon at the MasterWorks Festival on June 17, 2012.

Greetings and prayers by Dr. Patrick Kavanaugh, director of the Festival. I read Deuteronomy 30:1-10, and Barbara Kavanaugh reads 1 Corinthians 13.



I'm so impressed with Compassion!

Joyce and I have sponsored four children through Compassion: Carolos and Riquelmys in the Dominican Republic, Roxanita in Bolivia, and Wendy Yoselin in Honduras, who is pictured here.

The sponsorship process has been delightful! We know we're impacting their lives in a significant way by the letters, drawings and pictures we receive from them. And those letters, drawings and pictures (not to mention their prayers!) impact our lives as well. 

I've travelled with Compassion to Bolivia, Honduras, and Guatemala so I've seen first hand that sponsorship money is being used wisely. In fact they made the The American Institute of Philanthropy's list of Top Rated Charities. Most of the folks we met who work with the children were sponsored as children themselves, so they really have a heart for this work.

Compassion is the world's largest holistic child development organization. They have received the highest honor for 11 consecutive years that is bestowed on nonprofits by the watchdog group Charity Navigators. Compassion was also named the number one Christian charity by Worth Magazine in terms of fiscal responsibility. Compassion continues to pride itself on being completely transparent in nature and has one mission only, to release children from poverty in the name of Jesus.

You can read my Honduran Journal with pictures, and watch a video of my last trip: 


I hope you'll choose to sponsor a child today. It will change the world for both of you: Sponsor a child Now!


The Song of Thanksgiving

Pastor Linda Warren continues the sermon series O Come Let Us Adore Him, preaching on Revelation 4 and 5, passages that are considered to have been songs about Jesus in the original Greek. Rich Swingle shares excerpts from his one-man play, The Revelation. The reference to the woman in the plaid skirt is referring to Fran Warren, who expressed the Lord's desire for The Revelation to be written, and who is now dancing at the Throne of God. You can hear the Celebration of her Life at www.WestchesterChapel.org/FranWarren.

Opening prayers and lighting of the Angels' Candle of Advent by Pastor Joyce Swingle.

Short excerpts are included from Samhill Road and Westchester Chapel singing from "The Revelation Song", "Nothing but the Blood" and "Jesus Loves the Little Children".


Visit power.watchgmctv.com to vote for Samhill Road in the "Most Powerful Voices Contest.


John and Adrienne C. and Vinnie and Meg N. made a presentation to thank Westchester Chapel for taking part in Operation Christmas Child by gifting Pastor Linda with a unique gift.



Rich Swingle performs The Revelation.
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The Revelation © Copyright 1998 and 2012 by Rich Swingle. All rights reserved. For booking information visit RichDrama.com/Revelation.



Celebrating a well-lived life


When Joyce and I were courting there was a certain point that Joyce confided in her friend and mentor, Fran Warren, that it appeared that  Joyce and I would only be friends. Fran, who had as close of a walk with the Lord as anyone I know, said, "Don't you dare get in the way of what God wants to do." I have Fran to thank for one of the best marriages in history. Fran became a friend and mentor to me as well, so we were deeply grieved for us, but excited for her, that she is now dancing with the Lord.

On December 21 we celebrated her life and home-going. The service was so moving that we wanted to share it here. Whether you knew Fran or not I know you'll be blessed by this celebration of a life well-lived.


Opening and closing prayers by Pastor Joyce Swingle.

Worship was led by Joe Santucci. Joe has graciously allowed us to insert a studio recording of his song "Bethlehem's Child" in the place where he performed it in the service. You can find links to Joe's music at JoeSantucci.com.

Eulogy written by Jim and Linda Warren, read by Rich Swingle. Testimonies by Rich Swingle, Tamara W., John and Paula M., and Pastor Randy Solomon. Scripture reading from Song of Songs, chapter 2 by Rich and Pastor Joyce Swingle.

Sermon by Pastor Linda Warren.



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Please post your memories and thoughts about this amazing woman of God along with prayers and condolences to the family in the comments below. Upload photos to your favorite photo storage page (Flikr, Shutterfly and Google+ are all easy and free) and paste a link below.

Here is Pastor Joyce Swingle's announcement:
It is with mixed feelings that I tell you that our beloved Fran Warren went home Wednesday to be with Jesus.

She became ill with what looked like pneumonia and was being treated at Cabrini when -- in her frailty -- she succumbed in the early evening.
Please praise the Lord for her amazing life, given over to the glory and honor of the Lord, and please pray for Jim, his sisters Debbie and Dona, Linda, Rebekah and all Fran's grandchildren. Pray for peace and comfort.
--Pastor Joyce Swingle 
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
John 14: 1-3

Step into Christmas



On the first Christmas God stepped into our story. This Christmas Eve you have a chance to step into God's story. 

Westchester Chapel Church of the Nazarene (www.WestchesterChapel.org) is hosting a bibliodrama of scriptures that tell of the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Rich Swingle (www.RichDrama.com), who has performed and/or taught bibliodrama (among other forms of drama) in 25 nations will take participants to Bethlehem via The Crowne Plaza in White Plains, NY, where the church meets.

No one will be forced into the enactment, but all will be invited to walk in the sandals of those who were there and explore what it must have been like for humans to encounter God as He joined us as a baby in a feeding trough for animals. No memorization is required. Those who take part will read scripture and talk from the heart as they explore the subtext for those whose lives were so profoundly changed that night. 

Photo by Kevin Hanse, staff
photographer for MasterWorks
where Swingle has taught bibliodrama.
Bibliodrama was developed in Germany shortly after World War II, and separately in America in the late '80's by Peter Pitzele, Ph.D.: www.Bibliodrama.com. Its form is inspired by sociodrama, developed by Jacob Moreno in Vienna in the '20's. Swingle's thesis for his masters degree from Hunter College, NYC, was focused on sociodrama. Swingle has taught at more than 30 colleges and universities including an annual presentation skills workshop he leads with Graceworks (www.GraceworksInc.com) at Princeton University. He also spoke on a panel at the Congress on Faith and Action for students of all Ivy League Schools, hosted by the Christian Union at Harvard University: www.RichDrama.com/IvyLeague.

Several members of Westchester Chapel did a bibliodrama atop Mt. Nebo in Jordan as a part of a Christians in Theatre Arts (www.CITA.org) trip to Jordan and Israel. Tom Michael played Moses, and Swingle interviewed him as he looked down one side of the mountain to see the rock that he struck in anger, an action that kept him out of Israel, which can be seen from the other side of the mountain top. A gentleman approached the group afterward to say, "That man (Tom) really knows God. How is that possible?"

Before the bibliodrama Swingle will perform “Thomas Tornado Tinglehoop and the Three Christmas Clues” (www.RichDrama.com/Tinglehoop), a children’s book he co-wrote with the illustrator, Jim Warren, who was the founding pastor of the Westchester Chapel.

Join Westchester Chapel Monday, December 24, at 6pm at The Crowne Plaza, 66 Hale Ave, White Plains, NY, to experience the Christmas story in a whole new way. Christmas carols will be a part of the event.

Song of Adoration


NicolettiPhoto.com
Pastor Joyce Swingle preaches on Hebrews 1:7-12 as a part of the series O Come Let Us Adore Him: Songs About Jesus from the New Testament.

Opening scripture reading by Bill H., John 1. Prayer for Newtown, CT, by Pastor Linda Warren.



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Minor Revisions

Joyce and I were at the Faith Film Festival in Brooklyn last week with our friend Jenn Gotzon, who was in two films with me (Alone Yet Not Alone and The Screenwriters). 

While we were there we heard a producer talk about a show she was doing on a woman who was an atheist that is now a committed Catholic. It's just phenomenal. I wish it was airing on one of the networks at prime time.

Thanks to a technical glitch brought on by more viewers than expected for the premiere's simultaneous web stream, the producers of the show have put it on YouTube in its entirety: http://brandonvogt.com/revisions-youtube/

Also, here's the schedule for the upcoming episodes and rebroadcasts: http://netny.net/minorrevisions/episode_schedule.pdf

Here are the other ways to watch: http://www.conversiondiary.com/my-tv-show

The Song of Humility

Pastor Randy Solomon, former engineer for NASA, tells behind the scenes stories from Skylab as he explains the immensity of God, who humbled himself to visit us as a baby while preaching on Philippians 2:6-11. This is a part of the sermon series O Come Let Us Adore Him: Songs About Jesus from the New Testament, based on scriptures that are songs in the original Greek.

Pastor Joyce Swingle leads the lighting of the Bethlehem Candle for Advent. Bill H. opens and closes the service.



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Our annual Christmas
party  followed the
service.


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Merry Christmas

We wish you and yours the very best for this Christmas Season, and have a blessed New Year!

Four of our MasterWorks theatre
students on Times Square after opening
Off-Broadway.
For the first time we brought the MasterWorks theatre program to New York for performances Off-Broadway. You can find a full report at RichDrama.com/MWF.


This year I performed in two films (Christmas Grace and Beyond the Mask), performed, spoke and/or taught in 14 states, plus Toronto, Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London for a total of about 225 appearances. Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support through all of that!


Rich with Ian Sadler, organist for
Chariots of Fire.
My performance of Beyond the Chariots in Toronto was bookended by Ian Sadler playing the same pieces on the organ as he did in the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire. To hear "Jerusalem" played as it had in the film, just before I walked out to perform my play about Eric Liddell, one of the main subjects of the film, was a very special moment indeed.  Two of the daughters of Eric Liddell also spoke that evening, marking the fourth such performance, starting with Heather Ingham, Eric's middle daughter, speaking after an Off-Broadway performance in 2006. Heather found out I was performing the play at Trafalgar Castle School for girls the following Monday, and she was kind enough to speak there, as well.

Rich with Eric Liddell's daughters
and their husbands.
The highlight of my time in Toronto was when Heather told me upon my arrival about the story told about her in Our Daily Bread, about how her faith had been "rekindled" through a prayer for her aunt which was instantly answered while they were in China preceding the 2008 Olympics, visiting the key places Eric and Flo Liddell had lived.

Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London were all during the two weeks of the Summer Olympics.

In Puerto Rico I taught with fellow board members of Christians in Theatre Arts at a conference for applied theatre practitioners. In London we had four performances in various parts of the city, and three were within five miles of the Olympic Pavillion. We were surprised that Transylvania was the highlight of the trip. We found ourselves laughing at everything, and it occurred to us that, in a land scarred by persecution, we were bringing healing through our laughter.

By the end of the second week of the Olympics we had reached people from 30 nations and every inhabited continent.

We're finalizing a documentary on how drama ministered to people across cultures and languages during the Olympics. Once that's finished, we'll post the announcement through our emailing: RichDrama.com/Updates.

Catch a sneak preview at CITA.org/PR12.


Indescribable, the film in which Joyce and I play husband and wife was chosen as a semi-finalist for the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF), where it will be screened in February. Alone Yet Not Alone, in which I play a land speculator, will open in theatres April 5, and For the Glory, in which I play a soccer coach to a future Olympian, seems on the verge of a release date announcement on Facebook.

Have a blessed 2013. Wherever you are in the world, I'd love to bring one of my one-man plays and/or workshops to your community: RichDrama.com.

At the Eric Liddell Legacy Breakfast with world-record breaking Olympic gold
medalist Madeleine Manning Mimms, with whom I performed during the
Beijing Olympics, and Ashley Null, who served as a chaplain during
previous Olympics.

The Candle of Prophecy

Joyce opens the Advent Season at our church, Westchester Chapel, this morning by lighting the first candle of the Advent Wreath, for prophecy.

Afterward Rev. Jim Warren preaches on 1 Timothy 3:3-16, opening our Advent preaching series, "O Come Let Us Adore Him: Songs About Jesus from the New Testament." I made the comment on singing carols in the Shepherds' Cave of Bethlehem.



Here are the commentaries Rev. Jim mentioned:



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MWF Off-Broadway


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Fifteen MasterWorks Festival students now have their first Off-Broadway credit!

Performing Off-Broadway in
Theatre 315
Our play was The Jeweler’s Shop, written by a young man named Karol Wojtyla, who would eventually become Pope John Paul II. The profound insights into marriage that a celibate man brought to the world are mind-blowing. I watched as couples in our audiences poked each other when the truths of the play hit them. Many told our actors how specifically the play spoke into their relationships.

We were encouraged in our choice of the play, which--as the title suggests--revolves around a jeweler’s shop. Being Polish, the pope set that shop on Krakow’s market square. One of the orchestral faculty at the Festival connected with one of our theatre faculty and one of our students at the South Bend Airport as they were all arriving. The French horn instructor told them how she had just picked out wedding rings for her fiancĂ© and herself at a jeweler’s shop on Krakow’s market square. You can see a readers’ theatre performance that tells the story here:



Because the play called for about half of the number of students we usually have in the theatre program, we cast two students for each of the main roles. We used the setup for a very unique exercise: All the students were on stage for each performance, and a number of times they had no idea whether they would perform the role for which they’d prepared or remain a part of the “wall of humanity” watching the drama unfold and leaping into smaller roles as required. The instant before the play was about to begin I would walk up to the two gentleman who had prepared to play the role of Adam, the narrator of the story, and I would hand one of them a note telling him who was playing all of the roles. He would give the others their assignments during the context of the play, so that they, too, wouldn’t know which part they’d play until the audience saw them cast in that role by Adam. Some of the students were terrified by this approach, but all of them overcame their fears and gave professional-level performances. Because they performed with different actors throughout the month they really had to listen to each other in each moment, and it brought a new level of awareness, concentration, flexibility and connection to their fellow actors.


The MasterWorks students
were so talented! I wish I
wouldn't have come alone.
Next year I'll invite lots of
people!

--Rachel Prozeller
New York City
The exercise paid off, and many, including Dr. Patrick Kavanaugh, the director of the Festival felt they gave the best performances yet for the theatre program. People came up to our actors with tears in their eyes, thanking them for their great work. Jan Fields, a counselor that works with couples, called the production a “jewel.” Elizabeth Pepper said that watching both performances gave her additional insight into the Pope’s words. She spoke to the cast the morning after their second performance in a suburb of Pittsburgh and told them how each cast was totally unique and totally professional in the level of their work.

In all we had a dozen performances: four in Winona Lake, where the main Festival takes place, two near Pittsburgh and six in and near New York City. It was remarkable for the students to get so many performance opportunities because in theatre one of the best teachers is the audience.

One of our students gave me permission to share a very special story: During the first week of the Festival she asked me if she could be the one to share after our performances and invite the audience to give to the Festival. After hearing her story I heartily agreed! She didn’t have any money to attend the program, but received a half-scholarship. Then, when it looked like she’d have to walk away from that scholarship, her university provided a scholarship for the other half! After our final performance she went on to share how we had done an enacted prayer for her friend. She had shared earlier in the Festival how this friend was in a coma. My wife Joyce, the Festival’s Director of Spiritual Care, led a week of devotions with our theatre students. After one of Joyce’s devotions the student said she was afraid that her friend would not survive the coma. We did an enacted prayer, something we do every year on the second Wednesday after an hour of comedy improv. Typically someone portrays the person giving the prayer request so that they can watch it with perspective, but we were having a difficult time finding a young woman to step into her role. One of the women I asked told me that she sensed that the Lord wanted the young woman to portray herself. We followed that impulse. I played a part of the Trinity, and we immediately circled the young woman and comforted her. Then we circled around a young man on the floor who portrayed the young woman’s friend. We “breathed” into him and lifted him to his feet. We led him over to the young woman, and he hugged her. Then we, as the Trinity, circled the two of them with a heavenly hug.

The next morning the young woman reported that her friend had come out of his coma!

The young woman explained how the experience had enriched her faith, and she recently updated us: "He's doing really well, he's back in school and getting healthier by the day. His mother was grateful for all the prayers and support on our end, she said it was such a comfort to know the extent that God was present in their lives."

Every year that we do enacted prayer we have students and faculty tell us similar stories of how the Lord moved after we all saw it happen on stage, agreeing together for the outcome.

The comedy improv was led this year for the first time by MWF alumna Kaelen Carrier.  We had four students in the Long-Form Improv track, but several of the other students would work with them when they were not in rehearsals. Their intensive work also played into the whole group as we worked together to delight through improv. Viola Spolin, considered the mother of American improv, believed that the work done through improvisation is as powerful a learning tool as Stanislavski’s Method. Improv teaches spontaneity and role training, two vital skills for every actor.

Patricia Mauceri blessed our students for the seventh year in a row.

Her insights from her Juilliard training and thirty years of working as a professional in the entertainment industry brought a huge wealth of knowledge to our students, especially as she met with them one-on-one to talk about their characters and their personal lives.

Patricia’s testimony of how she walked away from a fourteen-year role on a television program because they handed her a script she was uncomfortable performing still reverberates through the theatre program and the campus at large.

For eleven years I've coached people in businesses on their presentation skills through Graceworks. The principles which help them make tremendous breakthroughs were taken directly from acting techniques, so it was wonderful to take this fine-tuned workshop I have been presenting all over the world to major firms and bring it to our actors. I’ve long wanted Carol Doscher, founder of Graceworks, to lead a MasterClass, and The Jeweler Shop made this the right year because so much of the play is spoken directly to the audience. The workshop laid the foundation that taught our students to succeed in this element of the production. After the workshop Carol coached some of our students, and that led to major breakthroughs for them in their work.

Philip Telfer, creator of the documentary Captivated: Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture, preached one Sunday morning at the Festival, focusing on how media can become an idolatry, and how it effects the way each of us think, even if we don’t plug into media. He referenced a study of media’s impact on a Polynesian island that had never had television before. Soon after it was introduced eating disorders began to appear in a culture that never had them before. They did a followup study ten years later and found that people without television were beginning to fall into eating disorders because the society had become so fixated on body image. Immediately after Philip’s sermon we launched a 24-hour tech fast for our theatre students. They weren’t allowed to use their cell phones, laptops or any other electronic device to access media or the internet. The students’ overwhelmingly resistant response confirmed the need to help them sense when media is becoming an idolatry, especially since they’re considering careers so immersed in media. It gave them a concrete way to pull back from it and lessen its impact on their lives, decisions and goals. The one exception to the tech fast was when we screened Captivated for the whole Festival, after which Philip answered questions. The next morning he debriefed our tech fast with our theatre students and told more of his story. For them to hear from someone who used the gifts and talents that he had to partner with other professionals to bring about a first-rate project was truly inspirational, but the biggest take-away was Philip’s demonstration of how we are part of God’s story, a concept that takes the pressure off of making life about ourselves. I thought it was our best MasterClass to date, and Patricia Mauceri confirmed, saying the very words I’d been thinking.

Steven Arcieri of Arcieri and Associates Talent Agency joined students for an impromptu early morning breakfast. He spoke about his work as a commercial talent agent for voiceovers and celebrity endorsements. He also shared some personal examples of how artists (and agents) in the entertainment industry must often make hard choices to honor their faith.

On our free day in New York some students went to museums and shopping, while I took the others on a tour of the 9/11 Memorial. I told them how I had written and staged my one-man play Five Bells for 9/11 and shared my recollections of what I had heard on the tour previously from Ann Van Hine. Ann is the widow of one of the men whose story is told in my play. She speaks after Five Bells every chance she gets. She wasn’t able to join us on the tour, but she spoke after one of our performances. She shared how our play about marriage had spoken to her. The Jeweler’s Shop features a woman whose husband died in their youth. Ann also shared how the Lord had comforted and healed her and their two daughters after her husband was crushed in the lobby of the South Tower. Next year she plans to give us the tour of Ground Zero herself.

I wanted our students to meet a number of media professionals at a single event, so I arranged to have Euna Lee share about her arrest and imprisonment in North Korea after she and fellow journalist, Laura Ling, were exposing human trafficking between North Korea and China. MasterMedia--a network of Christian media professionals founded by Larry Poland, who spoke at MasterWorks in 2010--also invited their members, and when Megan Alexander, host of Fox News’ Inside Edition, learned of the event she offered to interview Euna Lee for our students and invited guests! The event drew more media professionals than we had hoped. You can see a news piece that was done about the event below. Some of the media professionals joined our students upstairs to talk about their work, and then we went back downstairs to do an enacted prayer for some of their ministries.



We took our students to see Freud’s Last Session, a two-man play that ran for over two years, which is an extremely long run Off-Broadway. The play showed an imagined meeting between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. One of the reasons the play ran for so long was because Freud’s ideas are given free reign. In a secular city like New York that approach packed in the audiences. But Lewis’ views were also given free reign. His testimony of how he moved from atheism to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is told in great detail, as are a number of Lewis’s thoughts on life, culture and scripture. We were blessed by a talk-back with the actors after the show. The man who understudies both roles came out first while the other two were getting out of costume and make-up. The three actors entertained questions for the better part of an hour, and several of our students and the parents of one of our students were able to get their queries addressed.

It’s always been part of my vision to let students know about faith-based projects outside of the Festival, and we saw two of this year’s students land roles through casting notices I sent out during the course of the year: Sam Carr performed for In His Steps, a web series in which his portrayal was voted the favorite character, and Brandon Langeland landed a role in the upcoming film Christmas Grace, a movie in which I also have a role.



We’ve been pleased to watch our students get into well-respected acting programs like the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Biola University, Regent University, Belhaven University, Gordon College, Azusa Pacific University, University of Southern California, the American Shakespeare Center, Media Village in South Africa, Melbourne’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts, and the list keeps growing.

I’m thrilled that we’ll be heading back to New York next summer, and I know that from the planning sessions we’ve already had, that next year will be even more successful!

Find out about next year’s program, and then audition soon.

For a report from last year's program, click here.








Love Acts

Pastor Linda Warren preaches on John 13:1-17 as a part of a memorial tribute to Radha Nanhoo, one year after her death.

Dramatization by Rich Swingle and Chris L, Radha's nephew. Communion by  Pastor Joyce Swingle. Intro to "Imagine" by Madeline Bedillo. Background guitar by Piero Gorriti.



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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

We hope Thanksgiving festivities are blessing all of our American family and friends, and for those of you reading this in other countries, have some turkey and thank the Lord with us!

This year we’re grateful to have survived Superstorm Sandy without even losing electricity. The worst of it for us was that I was scheduled to land at La Guardia Airport within an hour of Sandy’s arrival. I had four flights canceled, and it was difficult to be in Chicago, away from Joyce while she heard the wind rattle our windows, but I was with great friends that made the waiting more bearable. Then, the night before I was able to get home I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who is exploring Christianity. I’m always in awe when the Lord brings great things from the worst circumstances.

I joined Actors InC (www.ActorsInChrist.com) and the Salvation Army (www.USE.SalvationArmy.org) in the Sandy relief effort on Staten Island. You can see a video about it that I submitted to CNN here...
Watch your inbox for the announcement of a documentary I’m polishing about our trip to Puerto Rico, Transylvania and London during the Summer Olympics, where we reached people from 30 different nations and every continent but Antarctica. We're going to make it available to raise funds for an upcoming trip to Africa. You can order a copy now by making a donation of any kind at RichDrama.com/Africa. For now, you can see an interview I did before the documentary’s premiere for the church where I grew up in Medford, Oregon...


I still have availability for performances of my Christmas play Views of the Manger, and I’d love to bring one of my other plays and/or workshops to your church or school any time of the year: www.RichDrama.com

Here’s a Thanksgiving themed sketch Joyce and I performed at our church a few years back...


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America's first official Thanksgiving

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.--George WashingtonAs posted by the Presidential Prayer Team.

Happy Thanksgiving from Graceworks

You'll see a superstorm sequence in this year's Graceworks Thanksgiving card...

Click to enlarge.

I'm thankful for 11 years of helping people find freedom in their public speaking through our work.

This year our founding CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer), Carol Doscher, was a MasterClass instructor at MasterWorks. Since many of our principles are based on acting techniques it was thrilling to take the workshop we've used all over the world in businesses and re-apply it to acting. I've been wanting to bring her out for many years, and this was the perfect season since our play, The Jeweler's Shop, offered our students many opportunities to speak directly to the audience. I was so proud of our cast! They were so connected to each other and to each audience.

I'm thankful, too, that we'll be returning to NYC next summer!


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