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Rev. Sonya Renee Lars

Mangum Memorial United Methodist Church

Lead Pastor


 Rev. Sonya Renee Lars was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and attended the Smith Chapel CME Church in her formative years.  As the oldest of three children, she has always been a leader in many environments and situations.  As a woman in ministry, she draws upon a lifetime of living as an African American woman in a world that has not always recognized the gifts and skills that God has blessed her with.  Sonya understands that whether those in power recognized our gifts and graces does not matter as long as we use what God has given us to build His Kingdom!  Pastor Lars loves to sing, dabbles in baking and loves to dance.  When personal time was more plentiful, she was a promising seamstress and an avid reader, but now spends most of her time focused on the ministry at hand.  While working for the State of Louisiana and serving as a part-time Local Pastor, her attention was split between working, pastoring, and spending time with family and friends. 

Since July 1, 2012, she has focused all of her energy and attention on working alongside the members of Mount Zion (New Orleans) to continue rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Mount Zionís existing Good Samaritan Program to assist the homeless has helped her to continue to reach out to the marginalized and forgotten people that are all around us.  The United Methodist Church has worldwide mission initiatives, but her heart remains with the forgotten among us.  Pastor Lars wants to empower the disenfranchised, educate those left behind and nurture those that were wrongly told that they do not matter.  Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God has a plan for each of us. 

As she celebrated her 50th birthday in 2013, she could see the edge of the plan that God has in store for her and those that she ministers to and with.  She is grateful for the nurturing and guidance she received from her home church (Saint Mark UMC, Baton Rouge) and from the members of her first appointment to a two point charge consisting of the Lutcher Chapel (Lutcher) and St. Peter (Donaldsonville) churches.  A product of the Caddo Parish School System, she understands the value of participating in the alumni associations of Green Oaks High School (Shreveport, LA), Southern University Ė Baton Rouge (B.S. and M.P.A.) and Asbury Theological Seminary (M.Div.).

Godís plan for Pastor Lars took many twists and turns.  She realized her call to ministry in the 1990ís, but was slow to answer Godís call.  She completed License to Preach School in 2003.  After completing her M.Div. she entered the Residents in Ministry program as a Provisional Elder as she moved to New Orleans to pastor Mount Zion.  She was ordained in 2015 as an Elder in Full Connection.  Godís plans for each of us reveal the depth of his love and concern for us.  We need to be ready to respond to where His plans will send us.


  • Lutcher Chapel (Lutcher)/St. Peter (Donaldsonville) 6/2003-6/2005

  • Lutcher Chapel (Lutcher)                                        6/2005-6/2008

  • Mount Zion (New Orleans)                                     7/2012-6/2017

  • Mangum Memorial (Shreveport)                             7/2017-Present