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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Rector with head for heights toasts Inverness steeple
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¬†An Inverness Rector raised a cup of his own real ale to celebrate the restoration of his church's historic steeple on Saturday. Canon Len Black teamed up with the Isle of Syke Brewery to produce a special beer for the event - St Michael's Steeple Ale. Len - a committed beer buff - scaled the steeple of St Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church carrying a pint and a slater's hammer. As the bells rang out for the first time in many years, he asked for God's blessing on the work, in the traditional "Topping Out" ceremony. Angus MacRuary, proprietor of the award-winning Isle of Skye Brewery, produced a one-off barrel of St Michael's Steeple Ale for the event. Len described the brew as "a light coloured, full bodied beer with a thirst-quenching full flavour and a hint of heather. At 4.6% it's a serious Real Ale!" He based his judgement on years of involvement with CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. Canon Black is a founder member of several branches in Scotland. He said: " What better way to toast the completion of the new roof than with a glass of the best from the Isle of Skye Brewery. We are doing what the Christian Church has always done. We have taken the ancient ceremony and turned it into an occasion where we ask God's blessing." The work on the roof and steeple is the first stage in a £300,000 project to restore St Michael's Church inside and out. One of the younger members of the congregation - 17-year-old Morag Smith from North Kessock - had already placed a time-capsule inside the steeple, containing items spanning the church's 134-year history. St Michael's started off in two thatched cottages on Inverness' Maggot Green in 1868. It moved to Factory St in 1886. In 1903, that area so badly affected by the River Ness' flooding that the church was dismantled and transported stone by stone to its present location. The work, which is being funded by the congregation with support from many trusts and charities, should be completed by October. Speaking before the event John Crook, Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, said: "It is a good job Canon Black has a head for heights. Source: Scottish Episcopal Church, with thanks to Fr John Bonnicci.
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