Published 12:00 am Friday, November 6, 2009



LAPLACE – Regina Hickman, head pastor at First United Methodist Church in LaPlace, said her path to becoming a pastor began when she was a young girl growing up in a missionary Baptist church in southern Mississippi.

“You have to understand that this was the kind of church that didn’t even allow women to get up and stand behind the pulpit to sing hymns,” Hickman said. “I’d go up there when no one else was around and stand at the microphone and act like I was conducting a service. I just felt a calling.”

Hickman, the first female head pastor for First United Methodist, said she came to the church in June of 2009 following a brief sabbatical from service. Before then, she served as head pastor for Methodist churches in Golden Meadow and Grand Isle.

“I think it has been about 15 years since I started at Golden Meadow,” said Hickman. “I think I was the first female pastor at those churches too.”

Although Methodist churches tend to be much more open, Hickman said she still gets a bit of resistance from a few of the older members of the church, but she takes it all in stride.

“I don’t argue with anyone who comes in with reservations about a female leader,” Hickman said. “Even if they have serious qualms about it, once they see that I’m following a calling to be where I am they usually end up being alright with it. There was one gentleman here who worked up the courage to call me and talk about his problems and we were to able to iron it all out.”

Hickman said moving from Golden Meadow to Grand Isle and now to LaPlace has been a bit of a culture shock for her. She said it always takes a little bit of time to get used to the mannerisms of new church members.

“Grand Isle and the bayou areas are a completely different world,” said Hickman. “I’ve met so many people from so many different cultures – many of them were much more comfortable and familiar with Cajun and French. This is a much busier church with a lot of things going on.”

Even while Hickman was being interviewed, she was right in the middle of preparations for the church’s annual ladies luncheon, her first as pastor of the church.

“We do a silent auction of handmade and donated items,” Hickman said. “We also sell a ton of baked goods and homemade candles. The proceeds go to the church’s general fund along with the Kids Hope mentoring project. This is my first one, but I’ve been told that it is always a good opportunity for the church to get together for a good cause.”