Lake Charles pastor featured in documentary

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles Baptist pastor's interaction with local Muslims is prominently featured in a documentary that's airing nationwide.

Titled "Different Books, Common Word," the documentary follows five stories across the country of Americans Baptists and Muslims interacting. Whether it's forming deep friendships or working together on projects, the documentary is aimed at showing how two faiths, which are often characterized in a negative light because of their more extreme members, are more alike than different.

"Our hope is also that this documentary will bring Baptists and Muslims together on the local level for conversations and community-building," said Robert Parham, executive director of "Viewers will be surprised to see news stories of respect and partnership that are emerging in the United States between goodwill Muslims and Baptists. We hope these stories will begin to replace the negative ones of both Muslims and Baptists."

Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert of Greater Saint Mary's Missionary Baptist Church in Lake Charles says his involvement in the documentary came after the documentary's producers,, sent an email out, looking for Baptists and Muslims across America who had stories to share about their interactions with one another.

Tolbert responded to the email with his story about interacting with a group of local entrepreneurs who appeared before the city council in the fall of 2003 when Tolbert was a councilman. The entrepreneurs were Muslims and didn't understand how to deal with all the bureaucratic red tape that went along with starting an U.S. business. Tolbert agreed to help them navigate their way.

Tolbert admits he didn't know any Muslims personally before his interaction with those Muslim business people.

Tolbert says he wanted to share his experience with the documentary producers because he feels like Christians and Muslims have much work to do when it comes to understanding each other's views with the hope that members of both groups will not be so quick to believe stereotypes.

The documentary has aired on more than 100 television stations across the country. It's even caught some buzz in Hollywood. Movie star Denzel Washington recently talked about the documentary on a talk show he appeared on. Washington said he stumbled upon the documentary on television by accident. After watching it, Washington was impressed by the documentary producers' work.

To learn more about the documentary or to order a DVD click here.'s YouTube channel features the documentary trailer and selected clips.

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