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Another new church, with Presbyterian roots, opens

A Presbyterian-affiliated satellite church from Winston-Salem has opened midway between Bethel Presbyterian Church and Cornelius Presbyterian.

Reynolda Church meets at 11 a.m. Sunday in the old Michael Waltrip Raceworld at Liverpool and Chartwell Center Drive. The satellite operation is part of a trend toward big churches that continue to grow by establishing off-site locations.

Reynolda officials would not comment, but the church is affiliated with EPC, short for the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches.

Bethel Presbyterian is an ECO-affiliated congregation, and belongs to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians​. Cornelius Presbyterian is a Presbyterian Church (USA) congregation.

Like a number of denominations, Presbyterianism has divided up over the years around issues like abortion, same-gender marriage and ordaining women.

Reynolda itself is part of another trend: Church-growing through satellite campuses, some of which feature near-celebrity pastors beamed in on Sunday thanks to live-streaming and other technologies.

Named for the Reynolds Tobacco family estate in Winston-Salem, Reynolda Church at the Lake has campuses in Union Cross, Clemmons and now Lake Norman.

The lead pastor is radio teacher and author Alan Wright, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he graduated with honors in 1984. A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary—he was valedictorian of his class—Wright takes a “good news” approach to theology with praise services and an emphasis on “biblical truth that is rooted in 100 percent grace” and “un-mixed with shame or religious legalism.”

Reynolda’s satellite churches have campus pastors and venue worship leaders, Preston Parrish and Joel Tomkinson, respectively, in Lake Norman.

Reynolda officials said plans for an ongoing venue are being evaluated and should be more defined in the “very near” future.

The address of Reynolda is 20310 Chartwell Center Drive, at the corner of Liverpool.