Distracted Prayer

I got to coach the actors in this student film for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp. What a thrill to be a part of John Fornof's first foray into film acting! He's an incredibly accomplished audio drama director, and he "paid" for his acting lessons and coaching by providing a voice acting workshop and coaching each actor for the voice over work on "The Dinner."

Click the video below, or if you received this via email visit www.RichDrama.com/DistractedPrayer.

A note from 2017: Rebekah Stought was the film student who directed John in this production, and this year John directed Rebekah in "The Giant Killer" in Lamplighter Theatre's professional production.

Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for the next Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

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).

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).
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).

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!

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.

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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.

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.

The Dinner

I got to coach the actors in this student film for the Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp

Click the video below, or if you received this via email visit www.RichDrama.com/TheDinner.

Sign up for the announcement that registration is open for the next Rocky Mountain Christian Filmmakers Camp.

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.

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.

Photo courtesy of NicolettiPhoto.com.

The Dragon and the Raven

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!

You can order your copy nowJoyce and I were really pleased at how it all came together! 

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, and 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.

with John Bell of The Hobbit
John Bell, who helped slay 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.

with Brian Deacon, who played
Jesus in The Jesus Film
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.

Crowd Day
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). 

My scenes begin at:
Disc 1, 13:00 - Theodore the Abbott with Brian Deacon as Eldred
Disc 1, 30:00 - Theodore the Abbott
Disc 2, 13:00 - The Saxon who yells, "Look out!" before being shot by an arrow
Disc 2, 28:40 - The Last Villager Alive
Disc 2, 40:00 - Olaf

I also got to perform in all of the crowd scenes as Saxons and Danes, including the songs.

Here's a video from their most recent production:

Here's their audio trailer:

And a sneak peak (er listen) to the soundtrack: 

Heirloom Audio was nominated for ten Voice Arts Awards and won four of them for In Freedom's Cause.

See more photos from London,
Ireland and Northern Ireland,
as well as extra Behind the Scenes
shots here.
This month (July) marks 20 years of working full-time in the performing arts and applied theatre. This recording adventure was an amazing way to celebrate!

While on a tour of the Pacific Northwest (Instagram and Facebook: #NWTour15) I recorded myself talking about the fantastic experience of working on The Dragon and the Raven and spending time in London:

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.