Starting this issue, qnotes will bring you regular updates, news and features from the Augusta area, sponsored in part by the Augusta-area community and advertisers. The feature will run in print and online every two weeks. Do you have news tips or story suggestions? Email and we’ll send to our new Augusta correspondent.

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For the past year and half, the Rev. Lisa Heilig has served as the interim pastor for Metropolitan Community Church of our Redeemer in Augusta. She will soon leave her post.

Having served five different churches in the past seven years, Heilig has had the opportunity to experience and observe the LGBT community in multiple cities.

“[Other cities’ LGBT communities] has got nothing against Augusta,” says Heilig.

Before making her way to the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), Heilig spent four years working with churches in Florida and a prior 16 years in Atlanta. Something about Augusta and its LGBT community was different.

“I think what I love the most is when something happens — the community just comes together,” she says.

Within the past year, Augusta’s community faced heartache, when multiples of its members passed away.

“Unfortunately we have had some folks pass away,” says Heilig. “But the entire community has come together to help one another.”

The strong sense of love and support was quickly noticed in Augusta, while in other cities, it wasn’t as easy for Heilig to spot.

“The community in Augusta is thriving, where in other cities, I have had to go search for it,” she relates.

It isn’t just the gay community who is thriving in Augusta either. With Augusta Pride being in its fifth year, the CSRA in whole has come together in support, straight and gay alike.

“Augusta Pride is a class act,” says Heilig. “It has the feeling of a family atmosphere, with quality entertainment.”

While Pride is primarily created for the LGBT community, Augusta has proven to be catered for anyone.

“It is really designed for everyone to have fun. This past year, there were a lot of straight folks out there too,” says Heilig.

With only a few months left in Augusta, Heilig is unsure where the next step in her career will take her. She plans to return to Atlanta where her partner is based, and take a break from being a pastor for the next three to six months.

As Heilig plans to say goodbye, she expects great things to come from the Augusta LGBT community.

“I fully expect them to do wonderful things for Augusta, and the whole CSRA.” : :