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Covenant of the Cross
Greg Bullard, pastor of Covenant of the Cross in Madison, is living proof of I Corinthians, 9:22.
“I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means, save some (NKJV).”
The church began five years ago in his home on Boscobel in East Nashville. Since then, they purchased and paid off the current location in Madison on Old Hickory Boulevard and are currently considering purchasing land for a brand new three-phase facility.
Bullard wants to attract as many different kinds of people as he can. There isn’t one particular demographic that describes his church.
“We are intentionally multi-cultural in purpose and scope,” he said. “We have seen significant growth in the African American and Hispanic community. We are anticipating the next growth curve to be with the Asian population.”
However, Bullard claims that only 60 percent of his congregation is gay or lesbian.
“The other 40 percent are children, straight, bisexual, asexual and those who have no clue about their sexuality. We are an affirming congregation. But not just to the GLBT community. We are ‘people affirming,’” added Bullard.
Additionally, Bullard has solid relationships with other congregations in the community. He has established ministerial relationships with Pentecostals, Methodists, Baptists and other mainline evangelical denominations. The church as a whole strives to show Christ first in relationships. Their sexuality is not the first card played. According to Bullard, their sexuality doesn’t matter. What matters is the Savior they commonly serve. When their actions are Christ-like, and people see that first, how can anyone deny Jesus being in their lives?
Throughout the week, Covenant of the Cross has smaller Bible-study groups, “circles” as they are called, that meet throughout the metroplex.
“We have groups that meet in Green Hills, White House, Smyrna and East Nashville. Too often, we live as victims, not as victors. Many times we go into situations expecting condemnation, and we set ourselves up for failure.” These circle groups give them the extra boost needed to make it through the week," Bullard said.
There is no membership role at Covenant of the Cross. In order to be a member, Bullard asks that you attend worship regularly, join a circle group, tithe and participate in some kind of service. “Your life-style reveals you are a member,” he noted.
I asked Bullard to describe what a visitor could expect on Sunday.
“We never want anybody to be friendly. We want everyone to be 'warm.' There is a difference. You are only friendly to those you are friends with. Being warm embraces everyone.”
Worship services are diverse, including hymns and praise and worship and Bullard's sermons are always practical. He doesn't preach doctrinal-based sermons. He believes that doctrine and theology will be revealed in the application of the sermon text.
July’s topic will be “An Invitation to Life.” The series will focus not only on an invitation to Christ, but how to invite people to get to know you in a more personal way.
“We are created to be around people that are diverse. You will never grow if you are around people just like you,” Bullard said.
Services are at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, you can call the church office at 615-612-5040. You may also visit the church’s Web site at www.covenantofthecross.com.
Church of the Living Water
Tony Sirten has been pastor of Church of the Living Water for 10 years. An incredible accomplishment considering pastors in many main-line denominational churches rarely last more than seven or eight years.
When the church began, they experienced what Sirten described as “reverse discrimination.” According to Sirten, when straight people visited, often they weren’t welcomed due to the circumstances surrounding their past.
Sirten notes, "We quickly stopped that. We welcome anyone and everyone to our church family.”
However, Sirten doesn’t want his congregation to be known as a “gay church.”
And that is clearly evident by the statistics he proudly gives: “Our congregation is pretty much 50 percent gay and 50 percent straight. Many family members of GLBT members have visited to try and understand their loved ones situation. That curiosity has led to membership. The church provides such a loving and warm environment that they choose to come and worship with their family."
Church of the Living Water also has a thriving ministry with the elderly population. Sirten said, “We have six members who are picked up twice a month by Access Ride. Only one of them is gay.” These faithful church members desire to be with their church family, regardless of sexual orientation.
Sirten has some very definitive long-term goals for his church.
“I want to purchase new property in Goodlettsville on which to build a modern facility,” he added. His current building was built in 1790. On that future property, in addition to a house of worship, he wants to place an assisted living and long-care facility.
When asked about the biggest obstacle facing his ministry today, Sirten easily gives his response.
“The hardest thing to get past is people’s preconceived ideas about church. Many are frustrated and bitter about church due a variety of reasons.”
It is his goal to reach beyond that hurt and show them the loving embrace of a Heavenly Father.
Weekly worship services are held on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Sirten describes the services as a cross between Baptist and Pentecostal.
“The are lively! You’ll find anything from contemporary praise and worship music to black gospel music," he notes.
Church of the Living Water is located at 731 South Dickerson Pike in Nashville. You may contact the church by calling 615-851-2345 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those with a thirst to celebrate, Red Bull Unlocked is the key. In city after city, the most exciting bars, clubs, mixologists, performing artists, and more take over a local landmark building to showcase their signature ambiance while also collaborating for a must-see mashup. And now it's Music City’s turn to seize the spotlight, as the event brings 10 bars together in East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood.
Fueled by the best of Nashville’s thriving music scene, Red Bull Unlocked has curated an eclectic night of show-stopping entertainment performances including a pop-up Whiskey Jam show, DJ sets, musicians, and more. The full lineup is here:
- Whiskey Jam (feat. Dozzi, Willie Shaw, and Johnny Hayes)
- A.B. Eastwood
- Daisha / Rap Girl
- Boom Bap (DJ Collective feat. DJ-Rate, Case Bloom)
- Whiskey Disco (DJ Collective feat. Coach, Jim O'Shea)
- Old Crow Medicine Show’s Jerry Pentercost (DJ Set)
- DJ Stretch
- DJ Griffin Green
- The Play Mates (Drag Show feat. Sasha, Vanity, Deception, Aura Mayari, Corlis Todd, and Carmin Triple C)
Counting down to the epic celebration, Daisha shares, “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to perform in so many of Nashville’s top spots all in the same night. Fans can expect a lot of bops and high energy. I want people to dance and have a good time.”
Ward Guenther, Whiskey Jam Founder, adds, “Red Bull has been enjoyed at Whiskey Jam since the very first night, so it's only fitting Whiskey Jam is enjoyed at Nashville's first Red Bull Unlocked. Looking forward to this!”
Red Bull Unlocked Istanbul
Photo courtesy of Red Bull
Local favorites including Pearl Diver, Tin Roof, Lipstick Lounge, White Limozeen, and more will join forces for one epic night. Full list of bars and partners below:
- The Dive Motel
- Lipstick Lounge
- Pearl Diver
- Play Dance Bar
- Rosemary & Beauty Queen
- The Stage
- Tin Roof
- Whiskey Jam
- White Limozeen
- Woolworth Theatre – Opening Fall 2022!
- Eleven Eleven - Opening 2023!
Date: August 21, 2022
Time: 6 PM – 11PM CT
Location: 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Entrance: Ticked event
Rumble Boxing, the boxing-inspired group fitness studio, opened its doors for the first time in Nashville on June 20 at 609 Overton St, Nashville, TN. The hottest workout on the block is hosting its official grand opening from August 4th-7th with daily classes, membership specials, and prizes from local vendors. The new Rumble Boxing studio is currently offering a buy one class, get one free promotion for the Nashville community.
Rumble Boxing delivers 45-minute, 10-round, strength and conditioning group workouts, crafted around teardrop-style aqua boxing bags and high-intensity strength training circuits. This brings all fitness levels together to experience what Rumble is known for: combining the sweet science of boxing with high energy and positive vibes.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
This boutique fitness brand offers serious benefits like increased stamina and strength, with cardio that’s actually fun. The seasoned trainers at the new studio are thrilled to serve their local community while offering this fun, new modern approach to boxing and welcome members of all fitness levels to the Rumble family.
The new Rumble Boxing studio is owned and operated by Blake Baskin and Antonio Compton. With their background in the fitness industry, this dynamic duo is excited to bring their passion for boxing and group fitness to Nashville. As business and life partners, Blake and Antonio aim to create a strong community within their new Rumble Boxing studio and share their message of non-apologetic inclusivity.
Black and Gay-Owned Business
Rumble Boxing Store with Dolly Parton Mural
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“We own who we are, and this brand aligns with that perfectly,” said Antonio. “This is what we want to create and bring to this community: a fitness class that is designed for anyone and a place for people to be who they are. As a Black and gay-owned business, we want to help lower the division we see in the world right now. Our goal is to bring people together through Rumble, set everything aside, and have fun.”
To echo their message of acceptance and inclusion, Blake and Antonio commissioned a local Nashville artist to paint an 11 X 6-ft. mural of Nashville icon and philanthropist, Dolly Parton. The massive portrait features the country star in Rumble Boxing gear in the lobby of the studio.
The excitement and buzz around Rumble allowed Blake and Antonio to recruit top-tier trainers to head up the new studio, including Head Trainer Oronde Jones, a well-known celebrity trainer in the Nashville market.
Rumble Boxing Fitness Studio
Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville
“Compared to other fitness classes, Rumble is a class you can truly get lost in for 45 minutes. With the dark room, you don’t have to worry if anyone is paying attention to you. The music is awesome and inspiring, and the beat drops right when you need it the most. Also, with boxing being a sport you can never truly master, you’re always improving and crafting your skill. On the floor, you’re consistently doing something new, which prevents you from ever hitting a plateau.” Said Oronde Jones about his favorite part of Rumble.
Rumble has massive brand loyalty and widespread appeal, partly thanks to attracting top names like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Baldwin, Jason Derulo, David Beckham, and Kevin Hart to its studios.
About Rumble Boxing
Founded in New York City in 2017, Rumble is a group fitness concept delivering a mix (or combination) of boxing-inspired circuits and the transformative power of resistance training. Pro and amateur fighters glove up together, no matter their fitness level or skill, to reveal their inner fighter. The experience is a 45-minute, 10-round, full-body cardio and strength workout crafted around specially designed water-filled, teardrop-style boxing bags. Rumble was founded by Noah Neiman (former Barry’s Bootcamp Master Trainer, and cast member of Bravo’s Work Out New York), Eugene Remm (Co-Founder of Catch Hospitality Group (Catch Restaurants, CATCH STEAK, Lexington Brass), Andy Stenzler (Co-Founder Cosí, Kidville), and Anthony DiMarco (13-time IRONMAN, former Managing Director, Google).
Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?
For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:
A Gay Cruise
One of the best options to have in mind when all of this passes is a good, nice and long (pun intended) gay cruise. Or cruise in general, for that matter. Bear in mind, social distancing will still be a thing in the post-COVID world. But COVID-19 likely doesn’t mean that cruises will cease to exist. On the contrary, though cruise ships will probably keep the number of passengers smaller than before, it is believed that they will become an even bigger hit in the following period, especially because they are all going to go a lot more environmentally-friendly. On the bright side, is there any better way of celebrating the end of the pandemic than by cruising around some magnificent seas, stopping by at great cities and having romantic dinner nights at nice restaurants?
A getaway in nature
On the other hand, there is always the option of stepping away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, and spending some time in a place that’s not only healthy, but also beautiful. Some of the destinations that plenty of people will look for are the ones that can cater for both peace of mind and amazing things to see or do. One such destination is New Zealand, one of the greenest countries on Earth right now. Not only will you be visiting the magnificent country that gave us the beautiful Shire from Lord of the Rings; this is also a destination that’s excellent for everyone who prefers relaxing to partying. If you’re up for some partying, you will be able to hit Auckland, while if you’re for something calmer, there’s plenty of amazing places that you can see and visit.
Dancing Around at Pride
Pride parades are also events that you want to have in mind for the post-COVID world. Such events have always been quite important, but it seems that they are now more important than ever. The virus has canceled more than 75 Pride parades all around the world, which is one of the reasons why we must support the ones that will see the light of day once the pandemic stops. Truth be told, the upcoming Prides will perhaps be the best Prides ever organized. Give the gays a couple of weeks of quarantine, then let them outside and see what kind of party they are able to throw!
A road trip
If you’re, as well, waiting for the day to wake up and say “long gone are the days when we were not allowed to go wherever we wanted?”, and if staying at one place gave you a lot to think about, then your first post-COVID travel experience should definitely be a nice road trip. You can practically choose which country you want to tour, and you can either take your own car (you have probably missed it so much), or rent one at your destination. Australia is an amazing country for this, though, as it offers the possibility of seeing the Great Ocean Road, which is an amazing thing to see and experience. On the other hand, if you do not want or cannot leave your country, you can also choose to go on a domestic road trip – there are amazing things to see in your vicinity as well.
Holiday for a single guy
If you’re single, or you’re traveling someplace with another single friend, then you should definitely organize a nice vacation for yourself or for you and your single friend, and hit one of the best European cities. Europe has been greatly affected by the virus, which means that now it’s time to pay it back and get it back on its feet by traveling there and seeing all the amazing things it offers. Any city you choose in Europe – you will not make a mistake. Apart from being able to see great landmarks, you will also have the chance to have a drink at great gay clubs and pubs, and join unforgettable gay parties. And if the gay scenery is not your forte, worry not, as Europe indeed has to offer so many different and magnificent things.