New virtual reality images of churches

A virtual reality experience of kirks across Scotland is being offered by the Church of Scotland ahead of one of the busiest weekends on the Christian calendar.

People unable to attend church this Easter weekend can still enjoy a kirk building from the comfort of their armchair.

Scotland’s national church has teamed up with Glasgow-based 360 Degree Production Company MB Design to produce a series of stunning full spectrum photos which allow Facebook users to immerse themselves in the beautiful surroundings of churches across the country.

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Convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council, Rev Norman Smith, described the innovation as a “ground-breaking project” which he hoped would spark a nationwide celebration of the benefits these ancient buildings bring.

He added: “One of the greatest gifts we have been bequeathed are our buildings.

“Often they are the first place people encounter Christianity and they help us in our mission of sharing the good news of Jesus. How we use them to best advantage is always a challenge because whilst we shape them, they also shape us.”

He said the new 360 images would allow the impact of these spaces to be felt even if people were not physically in them.

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Rev Bill Hogg, convener of the committee on church art and architecture, said: “The 360 degree project gives us a new way of visiting our cherished buildings, seeing their beauty and hearing their stories. It is inspiring to be shown how people today use these significant places for the greater glory of God.”

Users of the photos can connect their smartphones to Virtual Reality goggles allowing them to have a spectacular immersive experience.

Historic information on the various symbols and parts of the church can be accessed by clicking on them.

The first building to be used is 12th Century Romanesque Dalmeny Kirk, which is Scotland’s only complete example of a Norman church.

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Situated on the south side of the Firth of Forth near South Queensferry, the kirk stretches back through the centuries to the days of the early Celtic Saints.

For the next three weeks, a sneak preview of new church photography will be posted on the Church of Scotland’s Facebook page.

More remarkable interactive material is in the pipeline with audio narration by Moderator Designate Rev Dr Derek Browning and prayer readings planned as part of a ‘full tour’ experience.