Sharing Christ at the Paris Olympics & Beyond

Campaign Created by: Richard Swingle

Goal: USD $7,000
Raised: USD $ 3,185

Joyce and I have been invited to bring my one-man play Beyond the Chariots to Paris during the Olympics. We'll be performing my one-man play about Eric Liddell in the Scots Kirk, on the centennial of him preaching there on the Sunday he was being pressured to run in the 100m qualifying heat for the 1924 Paris Olympics. 

An organization in Paris is working with several churches to rent a larger space where they can all gather and invite friends to see a play about an Olympic champion who refused to prove he was the fastest man alive because one of the heats of the 100m was on the Lord's Day. That story was told in Chariots of Fire, which won four Academy Awards in 1981. My play tells the rest of the story: How, after switching gears and breaking the world record in the 400m, Eric Liddell moved to China, where he served the people as a teacher and track coach. 

Here's what one of the organizers wrote after seeing the screener

Le spectacle est vraiment saisissant*.
(The show is grabbing.)
La présentation de l’Évangile est claire!
(The presentation of the Gospel is clear!)
--  Pascal Vermès 
Grand admirateur d'Eric Liddell!

*Saisissant - adj. Seizing, grabbing, capturing, won’t let you go. 

We've been told that there is a good chance we can bring the play to the Athletes Village, as well. Please join us in praying that we'll be able to inspire today's Olympians with Liddell's godly example.

When we brought the play to the London Olympics in 2012 we reached people from at least 30 nations. We're praying for that kind of reach in Paris, especially since it was in the Paris Olympics of 1924 that Liddell broke the world record. Never before has a city hosted the Olympics exactly 100 years later, and ministry leaders in Paris are excited about how the Lord is using this centennial to shine the spotlight on Liddell. 

There are folks in Edinburgh, Northern Ireland, and Frankfurt who have expressed interest in us performing while we're over there, and we're reaching out to contacts in other nations, too.

We need help to cross the Pond! 

At this point our housing in Paris is covered! Praise the Lord! We're praying it will be in Edinburgh! Our expected expenses will be for transatlantic flights, flights and train trips around Europe as bookings develop, room and board where necessary, local transportation. 

If we're able to raise more funds than needed, we'll put the extra funds toward a tour of Wales, where we'd like to bring Songs of Revival: Hungry After God Himself in 2025. 

We are not a non-profit organization, so donations are not tax deductible.

UPDATES

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February 6, 2024
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If you're receiving this, then you've given toward our trip to Paris and Beyond this summer. 

Thanks again! 

We'd appreciate your prayer, as we just found out that there's an issue for people giving on www.GiveSendGo.com/ChariotsParisEdinburgh ! Not sure what's going on there, but it certainly needs prayer.

If you had a problem giving a second gift, feel free to give at www.RichDrama.com/blog/post/Donate , and in the memo put "Paris and Beyond." Also, put how you'd like for us to give you credit, and we'll update the goal page (www.GiveSendGo.com/ChariotsParisEdinburgh). 

There you'll notice our goal has gone down. We started at $10,000, but when we were invited to bring my play about Eric Liddell to the Scots Kirk of Paris on July 6 it made the trip too long to do the Edinburgh Fringe. That took $3000 off in housing, theatre rental, and over $300 just to be in the program. 

Joyce and I were both relieved! Not only does it mean raising less money, it opens time for us to perform anywhere in Europe, and we're casting our net broadly. 

Right now we have possible bookings in Northern Ireland, Germany, Scotland, and additional performances in Paris. More on those below. Paris will be our base, where we'll have free housing whenever we're there. Praise the Lord! I also have plans to reach out to folks in Spain, Switzerland, and Holland. Let us know if you have contacts across the Pond, and we'll send you something to share with them. 

Some of the venues are offering to put money toward the trip, so those will bring our goal down even more, whereas some don't have the funds to help, and that will make the goal rise a bit. We'll keep you updated as things fall into place. 

Here's a recent update (before the site stopped accepting credit cards) from the director of our prayer team:

May the Lord God be exalted and His name held high above all others! May we lay down ourselves, our thoughts, and our wills to be ready vessels for His will in all things overall. 

Please pray with the following updates in mind:

There is the hope of conversations via the Eric Liddell Center with churches connected to Liddell’s ministry in Edinburgh for performances of Beyond the Chariots. 

There are fruitful conversations with a Christian festival, Summer Madness (“Living Life with Purpose” is their theme this summer), outside of Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a performance of Chariots there, plus a potential speaking engagement for Joyce, and presentation of some of their new "singing play" Songs of Revival: Hungry After God Himself (www.SongsOfRevivalLive.com).

This connection may be able to offer a fee that would cover some costs in the budget, which would reduce our goal. There may be helpful coverage of housing also for days leading up to the Olympic engagements. 

Nichole in Paris continues to pursue venues and venue sponsorship. One possibility could open the door to a 3,000 seat venue! 

Also from Nichole:

“The best committee ever is designing a fundraising one-pager to put in the hands of a Catholic believer who owns the largest French sporting goods chain. And another for an evangelical friend who is the Europe director of Microsoft in Lyon."

Also, the continued prayer is to perform within the Athletes’ Village. Some leads have dried up, but others remain to be tested. 

The Scots Kirk church in Paris has welcomed the plans for two performances of Chariots on July 6 and for weekly Saturday performances through the Olympics. Between performances (July 6) they’re planning to give out an Eric Liddell Award and invite Princess Anne, Patron of The Eric Liddell 100 (an umbrella for all events celebrating Eric Liddell this year). Please pray for the Lord’s blessing on the church itself. May many renew or begin a living relationship with the Lord for any who don’t have one yet! May its boundaries and flock increase as a result of this spiritual hospitality. 

The Swingles had a video call with folks from a church in Frankfurt. They’d like for Rich to perform his Jonah play, which is only 20 minutes long, for English students. A Church from Phoenix, AZ, will be there teaching English, and they think this would be a nice addition to the program. It would be between the Summer Madness festival in Northern Ireland (if that is finalized) and Paris. Praying for the green light from the host and visiting churches, for the translation slides to be easily finished, for Salvations and re-dedications. 

Travel may encompass Belfast, Frankfurt, Paris, and Edinburgh all within July 1-9.

Rich has reached out in many directions within Europe for performances between the July 12th and the start of the Olympics on the 26th. Pray for bookings in that window.

Praise for such abundance! Our God is so generous and does more than we could ever think or imagine!

Blessings and love in Him,

Elizabeth


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Thanks again for your prayers and generous gifts! 

In Christ alone,

Rich & Joyce

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