Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hear Amick Byram on Today Show Thursday



From Amick Byram:

I’m thrilled to announce that I will be back on The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda this Thursday morning live on NBC. In Los Angeles it airs at 10 am on Channel 4. I’m singing a beautiful song, Make My Heart a Manger, written by Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman. Hope you can catch it amidst all the mad rush of the Christmas season. Merry Christmas everyone. 


Amick Byram is a successful solo recording artist, and one of the top session singers in Los Angeles. He is also a two-time Grammy nominee and has had a solo performance nominated for an Emmy.

Info:

Amick sang the role of Moses in the animated feature film, The Prince of Egypt. He has sung on hundreds of other films including: Shrek, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Hercules, Mulan, El Dorado, The Greatest Game Ever Played and many others. You have heard his voice on commercials, over 100 episodes of The Simpsons, and several Broadway cast albums including Civil War, Jeckyl and Hyde and Sunset Boulevard.

amick@amickbyram.com

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jeff Lisenby's Christmas CD -- Jazz in Time for the Holidays

A successful Kickstarter campaign has resulted in the release of musician Jeff Lisenby's newest CD -- Walkin' the Winter Wonderland, a solo piano collection of 20 Christmas tunes mostly in the swing style.

 It is available for purchase here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jefflisenby

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hillenglade is a Place of Hope and Healing

  For information about Hillenglade™, an Equine-Assisted Program that provides time away in the country for Military Veterans and their families, visit http://hillengladehhh.com/.

Hillenglade™ Equine-Assisted Program is a 501(c)(3) Tax Deductible Charitable Organization based in Nashville. It provides time away in the country for military veterans and their families to enjoy the therapeutic wonder of horses, relax, restore relationships, and mend hearts. It is head by actress and model Jennifer O'Neill.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Notes: Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer by Kari Kristina Reeves

From the publisher:
An exquisitely designed treasury of more than 300 spirit-provoking prayers, “Canyon Road: A
Book of Prayer” (ATLAS Spiritual Design, November 2013) by Kari Kristina Reeves offers a striking array of possibilities to stimulate the spiritual and creative life.

With its pristine introductions to 16 types of prayer, “Canyon Road” offers experiential guidance for anyone exploring Christian spirituality or seeking divine inspiration.

Drawing on her work as a spiritual guide, Reeves, “a modern-day psalmist,” welcomes her readers into a moving literary experience that powerfully and practically equips them to exercise their voice in prayer. In her debut book, Reeves displays the expressive range of a virtuoso, moving effortlessly between short, quiet prayers that can be spoken in a single breath and expansive, elaborate articulations of the human spirit’s deepest longings.

These heartfelt prayers, which are spoken in diverse genres, styles and languages, demonstrate how to deal with universal struggles such as healing, forgiveness, temptation and betrayal.

“Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer” recently was awarded first place in the General Trade–Poetry category at the 2013 New York Book Show. Purchase of the nearly 500-page hardcover edition includes complimentary access to the digital e-book and to Canyon Road: The Gallery, an online collaborative space where readers can view the work of others and submit their own creations.

Reeves’ background includes Entertainment Weekly; ESI Design and Christ Church Santa Fe, where she served as Director of Christian Spirituality and Art and provided soul care on Canyon Road, Santa Fe’s acclaimed art district. A professionally trained ballet dancer, Reeves holds a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

ATLAS Spiritual Design, Inc. creates intuitive materials and interactive spaces to help people experience God through the power of Beauty. ATLAS pioneers the multi-disciplinary Spiritual DesignSM process, crafting instruments for the interior journey through the integration of art
and spirituality. To learn more, visit www.exploreatlas.org.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Christian Arts Connections

Jerry B. Jenkins, co-author of the best-selling Left Behind series,will be speaking at the Religion Newswriters Association’s 2013 Awards Banquet, to be held Sept. 28, 2013 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel in Austin, TX at the conclusion of the 64th Annual Conference of the Religion Newswriters Association.

The night will begin with a talk from Jenkins, who will share about his latest and most important project since the Left Behind series, a novel account of the life of Saul of Tarsus in his recently released book, I, Saul (Worthy Publishing, August 2013). Jenkins’ presentation will be followed by dinner and the awards ceremony.

Sponsored by Worthy Publishing, the Religion Newswriters Association’s Awards Banquet honors the best of the best in religion newswriting, presenting 45 religion writers and reporters from across the nation with awards.

National Back to Church Sunday® 2013 broke records again this year when an estimated 3 million people attended a Back to Church Sunday event last weekend, believed to be the highest attendance on record for the event.

The effort had already broken records for numbers of participating churches. A total of 21,491 churches from all 50 states enrolled in 2013, 8,339 more churches than the prior year, representing an increase of more than 63 percent.


A pre-recorded encore presentation of UNSTOPPABLE: A LIVE EVENT WITH KIRK CAMERON will broadcast to select movie theaters on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 7:00pm local times.

The original live event will take place on Sept. 24 from The Vines Center at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. Due to high demand from theaters that have already sold out of tickets, a second showing has been scheduled in select theaters.

Interest from audiences and media outlets continues to escalate since it was discovered that both Facebook and YouTube initially blocked the trailer labeling it as “unsafe” and “abusive.” After Cameron’s supporters rallied online support, the incident was resolved.

Cameron calls UNSTOPPABLE his “most personal” project to date as he invites audiences to join him on a powerful, visual journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raising question in faith: “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”

Combining thought-provoking discussions with music and artistic vignettes, UNSTOPPABLE investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities.

Tickets are available through www.unstoppablethemovie.com or www.Fathomevents.com.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prodigal Daughter Comes Home -- Literally for This Show


The Prodigal Daughter, a dramatic musical presentation written and composed by Broadway and opera singer Doreen Firestone, will be returning to its Long Island roots, appearing at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 420 Stewart Ave., Garden City, NY, Saturday, Sept. 21. Doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 7:30. 

Firestone combines elements of scripture with personal experience for an emotional, but humor-filled piece.

The Prodigal Daughter will be followed by Patti Dahl and Heartsong. Refreshments will be available during the intermission. Tickets are $10 each, two for $15 and children under 12 will be admitted free with an adult. A free will offering will be taken to support the musician’s ministries. For reservations, contact Lori McDonald at cafeablaze@resgc.org.

For further information: 516-639-9081; doreen@theprodigaldaughtershow.com; theprodigaldaughtershow.com.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Cross & the Switchblade Ends 2013 Run at Times Square Church



The Cross and the Switchblade

Presented by The Gate
Times Square Church
Mark Hellinger Theater
237 West 51st St., NYC (between Broadway and 8th)
$2 parking

Doors open at 6 pm. Performance at 7. Free admission.

Preferred seating available for ages 13-29. For more information and group seating, 212-541-6300 ext. 2291; www.tscnyc.org.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Project Dance Gears Up for Events



EVENT NEWS
Fall event schedule for 2013 includes Kansas City, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Phoenix and Puerto Rico. All registrations are being accepted online atwww.projectdance.com.

Project Dance Kansas City takes place Sept. 20-22. Performing at the Plaza Art Fair and hosted by Jeremiah and Mona Enna of The Culture House.

Project Dance Atlanta, Oct. 4-6, produced by Autumn Morgenstern, is fast becoming one of Project Dance's biggest events and will pilot JUMPSTART, for ages 7-11,within the weekend. Look for more than 200 dancers at this event.

Project Dance Hong Kong, produced by KiKi Kwok, Oct. 11-13 is the group's only Southeast Asian event this year. Puma is the sponsor.

Project Dance Phoenix, produced by Erin Lovrien, is celebrating its second year. Performances will be held at Tempe Marketplace. George Jones, member of the Elektrolytes (America's Best Dance Crew 2012) will be teaching Hip Hop. Dancers from LA and the surrounding area are invited.

Project Dance Puerto Rico, produced by Samuel Andrade, is gearing up for its first event.

For information: info@projectdance.com.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dr. Stephen Meyer is Guest at Next Socrates in the City

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer
Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design
Host Eric Metaxas will interview Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and a founder both of the intelligent design movement and of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, intelligent design’s primary intellectual and scientific headquarters, at the next Socrates in the City event Sept. 12
Meyer is a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science, the author of peer-reviewed publications in technical, scientific, philosophical and other books and journals. He earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.   
Meyer is the author of the New York Times best seller, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design (HarperOne, 2013). In his first book on intelligent design, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design ( HarperOne, 2009) Meyer examined only the mystery of the origin of life. In Darwin’s Doubt, he expanded the scope of the case for ID to the whole sweep of life’s history.  Meyer’s research goes to the very source of the mystery of life: its origin, and more specifically the origin of biological information. His research and writings in the field represent the cutting edge of the argument for design.
He has also authored numerous technical articles as well as editorials in magazines and newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, First Things, and National Review.

Date and Times

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Reception from 6:15 pm until 6:40 pm
Speaking will begin at 6:45 pm SHARP
Dr. Meyer will sign copies of his book at 8:15 pm
*** NOTE: Once you register, please print and bring your email confirmation as tickets ***

Location

The Union League Club of New York**
(38 E 37th Street)
**Club requires Business Attire for all persons; coat and tie for gentlemen.

Admission Price

$35 Now ~ September 1st
$45 September 2nd ~ September 9th
$55 September 10th ~ September 11th or at the door

VIP Reception

There will be an hors d'oeuvres and wine VIP Reception with Dr. Stephen C. Meyer from 6:00pm until 6:40pm. Attendance at this reception (and which includes the event immediately following with Dr. Meyer) is:
$75 Now ~ September 1st
$85 September 2nd ~ September 9th
$95 September 10th ~ September 11th or at the door
Please be advised that space for this reception is limited.

SITC Patron's Dinner

There will be a Patron's Dinner with Dr. Stephen C. Meyer immediately following the event (approx. 8:30 pm). Attendance at this dinner (and which includes the VIP reception and event with Dr. Meyer) is $500 per person.
Please be advised that seating for this dinner is very limited.

For more info and tickets: 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Starry Gala Celebrates 90 Years of Episcopal Actor's Guild

EAG's 90th Anniversary Gala Benefit


Sunday, October 6 at 7 pm

It is with great excitement that we invite all members and friends to join us in celebrating 90 years of The Episcopal Actors' Guild. This special gala benefit will include a cocktail party and performances by stars of stage and screen. And best of all is that every dollar raised by the gala will go directly to helping local performers in need. 

Scheduled to appear:
MARNI NIXON 
WALTER WILLISON 
TONYA PINKINS 
JANE SUMMERHAYS 
SARAH RICE 
ELLYN MARIE MARSH 
ALICIA SABLE 
JENNIFER FOUCHÉ 
& more.

Musical Direction by MARK YORK

TICKET PRICES AND INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Trailer: Sisters of Lazarus by Paula K. Parker

The latest novel from Paula K. Parker ("YHWH: The Flood, The Fish and The Giant" and "YESHUA: The King, The Demon and The Traitor," co-written with NY Times best-selling author, GP Taylor ) will release Sept. 2, 2013 from Authentic Media Limited.

You can find more information and pre-order it here: http://paulakparker.com/?page_id=704.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Crowd Turns Out to Support Christian Book Launch

Line out the door as people signed the guest book.


The Book Launch/Persian Tea for "Harvest of Gold" by Tessa Afshar Monday at the Mark Twain House is Hartford was a huge success. Overflow seating in the auditorium to accommodate the largest crowd they ever have had -- more than 230 turned out for the venue's first-ever book launch! A wonderful night of celebration and support for Tessa, who also is the first Christian fiction writer to have an event sponsored at the Mark Twain House. The bookstore sold out of her books and God did a loaves and fishes thing to keep the Persian tea and delicious refreshments flowing throughout the evening.
Sandy Moore traveled from Vermont for the event.

Tessa signing books, reading, above.

Tessa with moderator Lucinda Secrest McDowell.







Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Notes: Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

The newest biblical romance from Tessa Afshar, Harvest of Gold (River North, 2013), releases Monday, July 1. The follow up to the story of Sarah and Darius, first introduced in Harvest of Rubies (a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Fiction Book Award) finds the couple on their way with Nehemiah t rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

From the publisher:
The scribe Sarah married Darius, and at times she feels as if she has married the Persian aristocracy, too. There is another point she did not count on in her marriage-Sarah has grown to love her husband. Sarah has wealth, property, honor, and power, but her husband's love still seems unattainable.

Although his mother was an Israelite, Darius remains skeptical that his Jewish wife is the right choice for him, particularly when she conspires with her cousin Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Ordered to assist in the effort, the couple begins a journey to the homeland of his mother's people. Will the road filled with danger, conflict, and surprising memories, help Darius to see the hand of God at work in his life-and even in his marriage?

A hidden message, treachery, opposition, and a God-given success, will lead to an unlikely bounty.

The book will be launched Monday evening at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, where Mark Twain lived and wrote. It's a writing center in the state, hosting many bestselling authors (Stephen King will speak at an event to benefit the house and museum in July), but this is the first book launch ever hosted there.

For a feature article on the launch, which appeared in Thursday's Manchester Journal-Inquirer, click here.

To visit the author's blog, visit www.tessafshar.com, where you can read a sample chapter.

To buy the book:
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Harvest-Gold-Tessa-Afshar/dp/0802405592/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372538873&sr=8-1&keywords=harvest+of+gold

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/harvest-of-gold-tessa-afshar/1114140400?ean=9780802405593

Christian Book Distributors:
http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=405590&item_code=WW&netp_id=1117654&event=ESRCG&view=details

About the author:

Tessa Afshar was voted “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was nominated for the 2013 ECPA Book Award (formerly known as the Gold Medallion) in the fiction category, received the 2012 Grace Award for Women’s Fiction and was selected as one of four “notable” novels by World Magazine.
 
Afshar was born in Iran to a nominally Muslim family, and lived there for the first 14 years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with the works of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. She holds an MDiv degree from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last 14 years in full-time Christian service in New England.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Critic Peter Filichia Shares Personal History of the American Theater

After 25 years as a professional critic, Peter Filichia has seen, heard, and written about it all. In a very personal celebration of his life in the theatre, Filichia will share his most interesting moments, including adventures with nice actors (Jerry Orbach), not-so-nice ones (Mary Tyler Moore), and being face to face with Ben Vereen after giving him a bad review. 

Filichia’s Personal History has been performed in cities across the country. Now, for one night only, he brings it to historic Guild Hall, with all the proceeds benefitting The Episcopal Actors' Guild's Emergency Aid and Relief Program. A wine and cheese reception will follow the performance. 

Filichia also will sell and sign his new book "Strippers, Showgirls, and Sharks: A Very Opinionated History of the Broadway Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award."

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­When: Monday, June 24 at 7:00 pm

Where: Guild Hall at The Little Church Around the Corner – 1 E. 29thSt. – New York, NY 10016 (between 5th Avenue and Madison –R/N @ 28th, 6 @ 28th)

Cost: Suggested: $10 (members) & $15 (non-members)

RSVP:(212) 685-2927 or matt@actorsguild.org

Info at www.actorsguild.org and www.facebook.com/actorsguild1923.

More on Peter Filichia:
Peter Filichia is the New York-based theater critic emeritus for The Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger newspaper and News 12 television station. He is also the author of "Let's Put on a Musical" (Back Stage Books, 2007), now in its third printing; "Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit of the Season/The Biggest Flop of the Season" (Applause Books, 2010); and "Broadway Musical MVPs 1960-2010: The Most Valuable Players of the Last 50 Seasons" (Applause Books, 2011), chosen one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Performing Arts titles of 2011.

Peter has been a columnist for Playbill, Theater.com, Theatermania and Theater Week. He blogs weekly at MasterworksBroadway.com; and writes “Filichia Features” for Musical Theatre International’s Web site, The Marquee, and “Filichia on Friday” for Kritzerland Records’ Web site.

Before joining the Theatre World Awards in 1996 as host and head of the selection committee, Peter served four terms as president of the Drama Desk. He has served on an assessment panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and is currently critic-in-residence for the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the musical theater judge for the ASCAP Awards program.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light

By Retta Blaney
Since its 2012 release, the landmark DVD “Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light” (Paraclete Press) has continued to attract a growing audience captivated by the production’s unique exploration of one of history’s most intriguing saints. This week, in celebration of the first anniversary of Hildegard’s long-awaited canonization by the Vatican, an enhanced version of the DVD is being made available with Spanish and German subtitles to further increase its international appeal.

Produced by critically acclaimed mezzo soprano Linn Maxwell, the production features a powerful film adaptation of Maxwell’s compelling one-woman stage play and more than three hours of supplemental content. Extras include an annotated script and production notes, a two-part seminar for church or academic group discussion, and a variety of topical interviews with many of the world’s leading Hildegard scholars, authors and experts.

“Having the opportunity to invite modern audiences to meet this extraordinary 12th-century nun, writer, composer, healer and prophet continues to be a remarkable privilege,” Maxwell said. “Those who do agree she has many important things to say, and it is not surprising that her voice – impossible to silence in her time – continues to grow in relevance and strength today. The addition of new film subtitles in both Spanish and German will only amplify Hildegard’s international appeal.”

Hildegard has been an admired and controversial figure both inside and outside the Catholic Church for centuries. Beginning in earliest childhood, she experienced powerful, recurring visions that called her to express herself through her many talents and assume a role of unique leadership in the medieval church – one that often challenged the establishment head-on.

International interest in Hildegard has enjoyed a powerful resurgence following her May 10, 2012 canonization and October 2012 naming by Pope Benedict XVI as a “Doctor of the Church.” This rare title, bestowed over nine centuries on individuals of extraordinary importance in the life of the Church, has placed Hildegard in the highly select company of only 35 individuals, only four of whom have been women.

Written and performed by Maxwell, the film adaptation of the play “Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light” is based on an original production directed by Erv Raible that has won widespread critical acclaim after 80 performances in both North America and Europe. Writing in the New York Theater Review, John Hoglund has said, “Hildegard returns...through the artistry of Linn Maxwell in a commanding performance that is as scholarly as it is relevant today;” according to The Times of London, “Hildegard is reborn as mezzo Linn Maxwell,” with her “hypnotically beautiful song.”

The DVD features Maxwell as Hildegard, performing the mystic’s compositions on authentic medieval instruments and, through Hildegard’s actual writings, reveals the life and passion of an extraordinary woman who lived centuries ahead of her time.

Maxwell has performed on the stages of major orchestras including the Chicago, Cleveland, Seattle and Toronto Symphonies, and the Berlin Radio Orchestra, among others. Her operatic engagements include San Francisco (Placido Domingo conducting), the Cincinnati Opera, Netherlands Opera (with Nicholas Harnancourt), Hungarian State Opera and recital halls across the United States and in 27 countries worldwide. In addition to her extensive performances of the stage version of “Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light,” Maxwell has also performed cabaret and one-woman shows in New York City and made her European cabaret debut in 2006 at Frankfurt’s International Theater.
 
Retta Blaney is an award-winning journalist and author of Working on the Inside: The Spiritual Life through the Eyes of Actors. Visit her blog, Life Upon the Sacred Stage at http://uponthesacredstage.blogspot.com.

Monday, May 20, 2013


Tessa Afshar is one of the faculty at the first New England Christian Writers Retreat this October at Singing Hills in New Hampshire. Meet her one-on-one and sign up to have her critique up to five pages of your work at http://www.singinghills.net/christianwritersretreat.html.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Exploring the Boundaries of Applied Theater

By Dr. Dale Savidge, executive director of Christians in Theatre Arts
The exciting and emerging field of applied theatre offers organizations and individuals with training, experience and passion for theatre to expand their theatrical practices in the service of people (groups and individuals) in their communities. 
“Exploring the Boundaries of Applied Theatre”      
June 28-30, 2013
@ Re-Create Cafe at the Salvation Army
800 McCallie Avenue

Chattanooga TN

The wide variety of applied theatre techniques can only be introduced in this brief weekend we will spend together; but the overview will point to specific directions for the participants to explore through future training. We will survey the field and then focus our time on two specific forms of applied theatre which are in wide use around the world, and which have many applications in marginalized communities: Playback Theatre and Forum Theatre.

We will also explore the Playback Cafe. This is an applied theatre program in South Carolina aimed at building community and bringing healing to homeless people, people in recovery programs and people who are victims of abuse. It utilizes some techniques from Playback Theatre as well as other AT methods. We will learn some of the rituals of Playback, practice them together and explore how the Café model might be useful in reaching at risk groups in the community.

Schedule:

Thursday, June 27, 2013
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Introduction to the field of applied theatre with special reference to marginalized groups. We will engage in a variety of theatre games as a means of surfacing the central concern(s) of our group. Then we will begin practicing applied theatre methods in order to listen to each other and begin to find ways forward together. During this evening participants will experience the power of AT in their lives and they will also gain valuable instruction (and practice) in these techniques.

Friday, June 28, 2013
9:00 am – Noon

Introduction to Playback Theatre. We don’t just tell stories – we are stories. In this session we’ll practice listening and seeing each other, so that we can tune into the stories we need to tell each other. The first part will be a series of AT exercises designed to break us out of our mechanized response to our environment; the second part will be practicing the short forms of Playback. This session will demonstrate techniques which address the challenges people face from inside themselves.

Noon: conversations over lunch

1 pm – 4 pm

Performing in a Playback Café Part I. We will practice the rituals of Playback theatre and apply them to creating an atmosphere of openness to the stories of the marginalized and at-risk in our communities. As we experience the healing value of telling and seeing our stories reenacted, we will also learn how to create a theatrical atmosphere which invites disadvantaged people into our Café to create community with us and with each other. We’ll explore the Playback short forms in this afternoon session.

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Performing in a Playback Café Part II. In this evening session we’ll practice the rituals used in long-form Playback theatre.

Saturday, June 29, 2013
9:00 am – Noon

Introduction to Forum Theatre. We will learn the ways we can work with existing groups of people (groups which are bound together by a shared external oppression: homelessness, poverty, discrimination, cultural marginalization, etc) and expose, identify, name and grapple with the challenges which are holding them back. The first part of this session will be utilizing various Image theater methods to embody and express oppression; the second part will be developing a Forum scene. This session will demonstrate techniques which address the challenges people face from outside themselves or their communities.

Noon: conversations over lunch

1 pm – 4 pm

Performing a Forum Theatre scene. In this final session together we will perform our forum scene and invite our weekend community to try out solutions to our shared problems.

4-4:30 pm

Wrap up, questions and applications for the future.
REGISTER Here

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fun Things to See and Do With the Kids This Summer in NYC -- Part One

Discovery Times Square



Opens May 24 -- EXPLORE THE OCEAN'S GREATEST MYSTERIES

SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure will capture your imagination and take you on an incredible voyage from the glory days of pirates to modern-day shipwrecks!

Journey to bottom of the ocean and beyond to uncover the sea's best-kept secrets and greatest treasures. Dig for treasure with a real robotic arm and experience what high-speed, storm winds feel like on the open sea with the hurricane wind tunnel.

Featuring over 500 authentic artifacts, including real gold and silver treasures, the exhibit demonstrates modern-day science and technology used thousands of feet below the ocean's surface. Click here to purchase tickets.

Opens June 16--
The Art of the Brick
Tickets Now On Sale!

 
Taking LEGO® bricks from child's toy to sophisticated art form and beyond!
Artist Nathan Sawaya and Discovery Times Square are bringing the exhibition CNN named 'One of the Top Ten Global Must-See Exhibitions' to New York City this June - doubling its size and introducing never-before-seen masterpieces!
THE ART OF THE BRICK, an exhibition by artist Nathan Sawaya, is a critically acclaimed collection of intriguing and inspiring works of art made exclusively from one of the most recognizable toys in the world — LEGO® bricks. The Discovery Times Square exhibit will be the world's biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO® art ever and will feature brand-new, pieces by Sawaya. Don't miss the show CNN named 'One of the Top Ten Global Must-See Exhibitions' coming to Times Square on June 14th!
 
 
226 West 44th Street (between 7th and 8th avenues) New York, NY 10036 866.987.9692

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Rising Above That Which Seeks To Destroy Us

Photo source: emerald-depths.deviantart.com
Post written by Peter G. James Sinclair
It is so easy to concentrate on the flaws that lie within one’s own humanity. Especially when there are those surrounding you who make it their occupation to make certain that we are very aware of those flaws. But we must remember that there is not one of us who is flawless. And as Jesus said, that before you go picking the speck out of your brother’s eye make certain you have pulled the log out of your own eye.
We Must Forgive
So firstly we need to forgive the ones who accuse us in Jesus’ Name and we need to bless our enemies. Oh how we have wanted to curse them. Oh how we have wanted to hit back. But we are commanded to love them. So love them we will.
‘Lord forgive us for wrongful thoughts and harsh reactions. We choose to walk in forgiveness even in the midst of the storms and the accusations.’
We Must Concentrate
We must never concentrate on what we think others are thinking about us, because in most cases they are not. That is a lie from the enemy. All we need to do is to concentrate on what the Lord is thinking of us as His child. And He sees us through the eyes of our Saviour, and all He sees is flawless – not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. It is through His grace that we are seen that way. No matter what mistakes we make He loves us. No matter what cracks appear He loves us. No matter the ups and downs of life He loves us. He loves us. He loves you. He loves me.
We Must Be Empowered
So to be loved is to be empowered. It is to be believed in. It is to be cherished. It is to feel the support of another. And in times of ill health and in times of trials it embeds a backbone within this at times spineless self so that we can continue to get up again and again and again. To love again. To breathe again. To rise again, as if from the very depths of death. Out of the ashes a new person is born to face another day.
It Is Not Finished Until…
And where others see us as finished there arises a new sense of destiny within us. And where once we were written off and even discarded to the side there is a fresh vision planted and a renewed energy restored to go yet again.
Critics will always come. But at the end of history – when all the notes are gathered up and compiled – only the great deeds done and obstacles overcome will be spoken of. The criticisms will dissipate into dust. And yet the mighty deeds done by those they claimed to be flawed will be carved into the stones of time for all to see and to marvel, pouring forth praise to the Author of those great deeds, shouting, ‘Many are the great things God has done!’

Reprinted with permission from My Balck Piano http://www.myblackpiano.com/.
Peter G. James Sinclair is the international best selling author of a number of highly acclaimed motivational books including ‘Good Things Don’t Come To Those Who Wait’. The title of this book summarizes his philosophy, which he carries over and into all his business ventures. Thousands of individuals, all around the world, subscribe to Peter’s Motivational Memo that is written to inspire individuals to be the best they can possibly become. With more than twenty years business experience in the fields of domestic and commercial cleaning, publishing, musical theatre, web design, personal development and property development – he has also entered the hair salon industry. Oh, and by the way, he writes world class musicals as well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 Christy Nominations Announced

2013 Nominees Announced

The 14th annual Christy Awards for excellence in Christian fiction will be presented at a dinner to be held Mon., June 24, 2013, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis.

The reservation form for the 2013 Christy Awards will be available online at www.christyawards.com after May 3. The keynote speaker and emcee will be announced soon.
The Christy Advisory Board has announced nominees in nine categories for the 2013 Christy Awards honoring Christian fiction.

Contemporary Romance/

The Breath of Dawn

by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Lethal Legacy

by Irene Hannon (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Wildflowers from Winter

by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas/

Two Destinies

by Elizabeth Musser (David C Cook)

You Don't Know Me

by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

Waiting for Sunrise

by Eva Marie Everson (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Contemporary Standalone/

The Air We Breathe

by Christa Parrish (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Borders of the Heart

by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Not in the Heart

by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

First Novel/

Into the Free

by Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

Tangled Ashes

by Michèle Phoenix (Tyndale House Publishers)

Wedded to War

by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

Historical/

Flame of Resistance

by Tracy Groot (Tyndale House Publishers)

Wedded to War

by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

A Wreath of Snow

by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Historical Romance/

Against the Tide

by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Be Still My Soul

by Joanne Bischof (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Love's Reckoning

by Laura Frantz (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Suspense/

Downfall

by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Last Plea Bargain

by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)

Rare Earth

by Davis Bunn (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Submerged

by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
*This category includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.

Visionary/

Daughter of Light

by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press)

Soul's Gate

by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Starflower

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Young Adult/

Child of the Mountains

by Marilyn Sue Shank (Delacorte Press, a division of Random House)

Failstate

by John W. Otte (Marcher Lord Press)

Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words

by Rachel Coker (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Morgan Library Celebrates Completion of New Illuminated St. John's Bible


The Morgan Library and Museum celebrates the completion of a fully illuminated bible commissioned by St. John's University in Minnesota.

The "St; John's Bible"  was created with traditional materials and techniques, along with modern technology. Calligrapher Donald Jackson was commissioned to produce a fully illuminated luxury manuscript of the bible. Working out of his scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales, Jackson and a team of calligraphers and artists used traditional techniques and modern technology to create a spectacular illuminated text of over 1,100 pages. Completed in May 2011, The Saint John’s Bible ensures that the ancient art of illumination—so richly represented in the Morgan Library & Museum’s collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts—lives on into the 21st century.

Facsimiles of the manuscript, including the lavish seven-volume Apostles Edition, issued in only twelve copies, were published. From May 7–Aug. 25 the Morgan will display its Prophets volume from the Apostles Edition, as well as one of Jackson’s preliminary studies for the Gospel of John frontispiece, on loan from the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. The Prophets volume, containing 232 pages and 20 illuminations, will be opened to reveal an illuminated depiction of the prophet Isaiah.

The presentation will be displayed in the Marble Hall of the Morgan’s 1928 Annex building. Visitors will have the opportunity to compare these modern illuminated works with their medieval origins when, beginning May 17, Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art, goes on view in an adjacent gallery.

In 1995 Donald Jackson expressed his lifelong dream of creating a hand-written, illuminated Bible to Eric Hollas, OSB, a monk at Saint John’s Abbey and then-director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library. Between 1996 and 1997, Saint John’s University explored the feasibility of the Bible project, Jackson created preliminary samples, and theologians developed the illumination schema. The Saint John's Bible was officially commissioned in 1998.

DESIGN AND PRODUCTION
Jackson and his team relied on computers to size the Bible’s text and define line breaks, allowing the calligraphers to work on pages simultaneously. The manuscript’s pages are made of calfskin vellum, and soaked in lime, dried, scraped, and sanded smooth, in the traditional manner. The script—designed by Jackson—was written in lamp black ink from nineteenth-century Chinese ink sticks. It was applied using quills hand-cut by the scribes; goose quills were used for the main body of text, and turkey and swan quills for heavier letterforms. The manuscript’s vibrant colors were derived from vermillion, lapis lazuli, and other pigments. These materials were mixed with egg yolk and water to create a thick paint, which was then loaded onto the quills using brushes. Artists applied gold leaf by blowing through bamboo tubes, activating the binding agent in gesso until it bonded with the leaf. Burnishing tools and brushes were then used to finish the gilded images.

TEXT AND IMAGERY
The Saint John's Bible uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation of the Bible, the version officially authorized for use by most Christian Churches. In addition to traditional biblical imagery, the Bible also features depictions of modern events and scientific discoveries: strands of DNA are woven into the illumination of the “Genealogy of Christ;” the Twin Towers appear in the illumination of Luke’s parables; and photos from the Hubble telescope were used to depict Creation.

When completed, the Apostles Edition will comprise seven folio volumes containing more than one thousand pages and 160 illuminations. Each page measures 15 ¾ x 23 ½ inches, extending to 2 x 3 feet when opened.

ABOUT DONALD JACKSON
Jackson is one of the world’s foremost Western calligraphers. As a scribe to Queen Elizabeth II, he was responsible for the creation of official state documents. Jackson is an elected Fellow and past Chairman of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators and, in 1997, was named Master of the 600-year-old Guild of Scriveners of the city of London. He and his wife, Mabel, live and work in Monmouth, Wales.

The Morgan Library and Museum
225 Madison Avenue, at 36th St., NYC. Tuesday–Thursday, 10:30 am to 5 pm.; extended Friday hours, 10:30 am to 9 pm.; Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.; Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. Admission: $15 for adults; $10 for students, seniors (65 and over), and children (under 16); free to Members and children 12 and under accompanied by an adult. Admission is free on Fridays from 7 to 9 pm.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Open the Gift of Grace

A member of the faculty at the New England Christian Writers Retreat (https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-England-Christian-Writers-Retreat/274440806021294), Lucinda Secrest McDowell, shares how God's gift of grace can totally transform a life. If you want hope to move forward into that 'impossible' situation today, read on... http://lucindamcdowell.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/opening-the-gift/.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Night to Remember with Nicholas Sparks

Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart University
Check out this story about a lecture given by bestselling author Nicholas Sparks at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.

Did you know he founded a Christian school in North Carolina?

http://ctarts.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-night-to-remember-with-nicholas-sparks.html



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review: Greater by Steven Furtick

'Greater' Follows Great First Book from Megachurch Pastor
By Lauren Yarger
In the world of books by pastors,  those by Steven Furtick, the thirtysomething senior pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, stand out as some of the best with great teaching and insight, rather than just "feel good" philosophy.

His debut, "Sun Stand Still" (Multnomah Books, 2010 -- you can read the review here) still is one of the most illuminating books I have read for new insight into God's word and plan. If that book encourages us to pray "audacious prayers," his newest, "Greater: Dreams Bigger. Start Smaller. Ignite God's Vision for Your Life" (Multnomah Books, 2012) shows us what living an audacious life looks like.

It's the opposite of where so many Christians find themselves: wasting their lives while waiting for greatness, or wallowing in defeat at failed attempts to get there. There's a "greater" life just waiting to be lived, Furtick, says. God doesn't promise greatness, but he does offer you a life that's greater than the one you're living now. Stop settling for 'good enough," he encourages and pursue "greater."

Furtick offers practical steps for how to move on the new path, using personal experiences interwoven with lessons from the life of the prophet Elisha. If you think God has something bigger planned for your life, but you haven't been able to figure out what it is, or if you know what it is, but can't figure out how to get there, Furtick has written this book for you.

Some of his insights:

"We spend all our time dreaming about where we wish we were and what we wish we had and no time investing in where we are and using what we have. And so what we wish we had never comes because we never use what we do have."

"What matters most is not what I think I am or am not. Or what others think I am or am not. What matters is what my Father sees in me and what He says about me."

". . .the greater life isn't about living the perfect life. It's about keeping your passion intact, no matter what."

Detailed questions for each chapter are included in the back of the book to encourage discussion for study groups.

For more information about Furtick or the book, visit
You can purchase "Greater" by clicking on this link.

A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: 'One Big Thing' by Phil Cooke

If You Read One Thing This Year to Try to Figure Out How to Get Your Life on Track, Let it Be 'One Big Thing'
By Lauren Yarger
If you are frustrated with a bunch of New Year's resolutions that already have been abandoned in your quest to make a new start in 2013, don't despair. Throw them all away, because what you really need is Phil Cooke's book "One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do" (Thomas Nelson, 2012). It might as well be titled "This is the Book You Need to get a Handle on Your Life."

Unlike so many self-help guides, or "feel good" message books on the market today that stroke egos, but don't leave us with much of a plan to change anything once we've turned the last page, "One Big Thing" describes obstacles that prevent us from reaching goals in life and outlines a plan for how to make dreams come true.

The first time I read the book, I was impressed with Cooke's no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is style and sensed that this book would have more meat to it than the usual lite buffet in the genre.

"I believe millions of people work their entire lives without finding their place in the word. They work at the wrong job, dream the wrong dream, and pursue the wrong goals because they don't have an accurate assessment of their own personality. They mean well and have the best motives, but believe a lie. They don't really understand how they're wired or how to use that knowledge to their advantage, As a result, they live lives of frustration -- continually hitting the lid of their own limitations."

Before long, I realized that my notes were a mess as I was including notations to include in the review for the book as well as comments and notes for personal use (ironically being a prime example of how one can get distracted from the one big thing that needs to be accomplished).

In the end, I read it a few times, adding it to my personal bible study time as I make my way through a time of career transition. Who isn't in one these days? Layoffs abound; retirement-aged folks find they need to start a new job; college graduates find few opportunities for employment; other find they are stuck in a job they hate and wonder how to make a change. If you are in any of those categories, there's a section (or more than one) in this book that can really help you focus.

Focus is the key.

Cooke's challenge is to zoom in on that one thing we are here to do and pursue it with passion instead of wasting time doing other things or being stretched too thin by trying to do too many things at once. Then he offers a way to make it happen:
  • Determine what you are good at doing. What comes naturally?
  • What do you really care about? What stokes your passion?
  • What do you hate? What drives you crazy and makes you want to do something about it?
  • What  you want to leave behind? What do you want to be remembered for?
The questions are simple, but answering them immediately brings into focus your personality and areas of giftedness and how they might be used for that one big thing you were put on earth to do. For me, the book had the effect of helping me grab 1,000 floating puzzle pieces in my life, set them down on a table in front of me and start to put them together so that a picture took shape.

The 171 pages are full of wisdom, many of which struck me as perfect to share as status updates on social networking sites. A sampling:
  • Stop doing what other people think is urgent, and start focusing on what matters to you.
  • A significant number of dreamers fail because they don't understand the reality of making that dream happen.
  • Being comfortable may be the greatest enemy of your life's dream, so decide what you're willing to risk and that will help you determine your level of commitment.
  • People don't pay for okay -- they pay for great.
Besides finding a lot of practical advice, Cooke also offers confirmation and affirmation. There are many times where a reader can say, "Hey, I wasn't crazy," or "Wow, I am doing something right."

Overall, it's a helpful, insightful, practical book from an author who knows what he's talking about. Cooke is a media and marketing consultant who has worked with numerous Christian leaders and organizations. He has produced media programming in almost 50 countries.. He is Co-founder and President of Cooke Pictures. You can follow Cooke at his writing blog at http://philcooke.com/.  He also blogs for The Huffington Post, and is a contributor to Fast Company, Forbes.com, and FoxNews.com.

You can purchase a copy of "One Big Thing" here.

A free copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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