Sunday church services have returned to Scotland for the first time since lockdown was imposed in March.
Across the country, places of worship have been allowed to open for services and communal prayer since Wednesday, with strict restrictions in place including limited congregations of 50 at a time, social distancing measures and no singing permitted.
They have not been required to open their doors, and the Scottish Government said “each place of worship should make its own decision about when it is ready to do this, and should only reopen if this can be done safely”.
One church that welcomed worshippers back to its pews this week was St James’ Episcopal Church in Stonehaven, for its newly restored Eucharistic services.
Around 30 members of the congregation attended, and all were asked to adhere to social distancing and hand hygiene measures.
For Communion, worshippers were not permitted wine, and instead took only bread in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
And instead of singing, they were asked to hum along or speak the words quietly.
Despite the changes, David Fleming, the convener of the church, said the service was enjoyed by all, and it was good to get back to relative normality.
He said: “It was just lovely to back in the church, and get the service more or less back to how it was in the past.
“There were slight variations because of the rules and regulations, but everything went pretty well.
“We arranged the church so everyone could socially distance by using every alternate pew, and we had markers as to where people should go.
“We had proper hygiene measures in place with hand sanitisers and gels, and the doors were open at all times, so they didn’t need to touch the doors, and we had it so that people could take their hymn books home with them so they didn’t need to be quarantined.”
Mr Fleming added: “A number of the congregation are still shielding, but we had a good turn-out.
“And while there were a number of changes, it was ultimately the same service we know and love.”