A Highland priest has come up with an unusual way to help his community feel part of the church during lockdown.
With the onset of the pandemic in March last year, Father Len Black, of Inverness, was determined not to let the restrictions in place be a barrier between people and their faith.
For the past year, the 72-year-old has been broadcasting his masses through Zoom, reaching out to people from across the UK.
The masses are streamed live several times a week from his back garden shed, which has been converted into a “nice and quiet” oratory.
Speaking to the P&J, Fr Black highlighted the positive impact this has had on the community.
He said: “It’s the response from people that has been the driving factor for all this and it’s been quite amazing.
“I found that using Zoom to broadcast my masses is a very valuable way to do it, especially for people who are isolated on their own.
“It’s created an opportunity to feel part of the church despite the fact that we are all in lockdown and we can’t get out and about.
“There’s the spiritual side that people are getting the nourishment of the mass albeit in a peculiar way through zoom.
“And there’s also the social side of it that’s important for people’s morale – just to feel that we’ve at least got these friends that we can meet up with a couple of times a week.”
Fr Black has served the Inverness community since 1980, when he moved to the Highland city as an Episcopal priest.
In 2011, he became a senior pastor of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in Scotland – becoming part of the Catholic Church.
Although he has always been technology savvy, Fr Black never thought he’d be using such means to perform his masses.
However, he considers this to be the way forward to allow more people to get involved.
He added: “One of the positive things that’s come out of the pandemic is that we have found that technology is there, that we can use and that it can actually benefit us in many different ways.
“And I think that even once we get back to whatever the new normal is going to be, this is going to continue, because it’s a way to meet without travelling great distances and have this social interactive time to share with others.”