Muffled singing during worship is a thing of the past, with churches finally able to drop face coverings during services.
In the Christian tradition, this is the first Sunday after Scottish Government Covid rules were relaxed.
The fact that it was also Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week meant that songs such as Sing Hosanna, Ride On and My Song is Love Unknown were sung again to the joy of parishioners.
Those attending church services were allowed to pray aloud, say the Lord’s Prayer and sing – without the need to do it from behind a face covering.
‘It is just not the same’
Caithness church organist Raymond Bremner, at Pulteneytown Church of Scotland and Thrumster Church of Scotland, said: “It’s just not the same having to sing through a mask, it just feels so odd.
“Singing is a wonderful way to express yourself and the freedom to do it without having to wear a mask now will be welcomed by so many, including me.
“It really feels that we are getting back to some sort of normality. I’m sure there will still be a number who will be anxious but there is still the ability to wear a mask if you want and there’s plenty space to ensure there’s distance between folks as well. It’s just great.”
A sincere ‘hallelujah’
At King’s Church in Bridge of Don, an Aberdeen Assemblies of God church, the congregation let out a sincere “hallelujah” when it was announced this was the first restriction-free Sunday since March 2020.
For more than two years congregations have had restrictions on the way in which worships was conducted.
Along with other large gatherings churches were closed, and limits were put on the numbers of people who were able to attend funerals.
Churches moved to Zoom, and Facebook in order to keep congregations together.
Then, as restrictions eased and churches partially reopened, strict rules were placed on the numbers able to attend, and singing in church was banned for fear that droplets would carry Covid to people in the congregation.
From there restrictions remained for social distancing and for mask wearing in church.
This weekend saw the end to all restrictions, with people once again able to lift their voice in song in places of worship.
At King’s Church Aberdeen, pastor Leanne Seal, said: “After two years of either having church from our homes or under restrictions, it’s been amazing to finally worship without any masks or social distancing as we used to before the pandemic.”
During the service, cheers went up from those in the congregation when it was announced it was the first restriction free Sunday.
There were more than 600 people taking part at morning worship.
At Holborn West Church in Aberdeen it was a mixed picture with many of the congregation choosing to continue to wear a mask during worship.