A Different Way

Lauren Merkley | USA | 2019 | 4 mins

A Different WaySynopsis

A Different Way, is a short documentary about Rev. Dr. Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, the New York Police Department’s first female chaplain. While chaplain, the tragic events of 9/11 happened. She shares her story firsthand as a first responder and discusses the essential role faith plays in supporting and rebuilding community and business in such times.

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook served as the 3rd U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under the Obama Administration. Having l99 countries in her portfolio, she was the principal advisor to the U.S. President and the U.S. Secretary of State, as an advocate for global religious freedom.

A native New Yorker, she served as a parish pastor of three NYC congregations, became the first African-American woman to be elected as a Senior Pastor to an American Baptist Church in its 200-year history, the first Female Chaplain for the NYC Police Dept, and was on the frontlines of 9/11.

She was the first female president of the 12,000-member Hampton Ministers’ Conference, the largest gathering of African-American clergy, worldwide.

Cook was the creator of the standing room only, ‘Lunch Hour of Power’, and ‘Wonderful Wall Street Wednesdays’ in New York, where business leaders could worship together, and return to their workplaces, sharing their faith. She is an original member of ‘A Partnership of Faith’, a program where clergy leaders are invited into businesses to help with religious accommodations and sensitivity.


About A Different Way’s Filmmaker

Lauren Merkley is a documentary filmmaker and photographer. At age 13, she claimed the family camera as her own and never stopped documenting. She believes in the power of film to reach and connect audiences from around the world. Earning a B.A. in film, and through full-time and freelance work, she seeks opportunities to share stories of real people doing good.


More from A Different Way’s Filmmaker

This film has two goals. The first: To showcase the story of one woman paving the way for herself in her career, but also opening the door for the future. The film also seeks to share an exploration of the role that faith has in building a successful and stable community.

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