Priest in running for award after transforming shed into chapel

Each day Father Len Black sews seeds of tranquillity from his homemade chapel in Inverness.

Ordained with religious icons, it’s a far remove from a home for rusty lawnmowers.

Each day Father Len Black sews seeds of tranquillity from his homemade chapel in Inverness, after transforming this former summer house into The Oratory of St Joseph, from where he delivers daily online masses.

He has held daily mass there for a small congregation since 2011, but switched to Zoom during the pandemic.

Len, who has now acquired the nickname Father Shed, has made it into the finals of the Shed of the Year competition for his divine creation.

He says his flock continues to grow all over the world with people tuning in across the globe to his self-built sanctuary, which is complete with an Italian inspired three-part altar piece.

The priest has seen up to 120 worshippers logging in from as far as Australia, the USA and a drilling platform in the South Atlantic.

Inverness: Father Len Black streams online masses from his chapel.STV News

Fr Led said: “The Oratory of Saint Joseph has been a work-in-progress for a decade now. It is named after my Patron Saint.

“Those who come to mass each week describe it as a haven of tranquillity for them.

“Pope Francis has made this year The Year of St Joseph, so I decided there was no better time to enter it into Shed of the Year.”

Len’s shed started life 22 years ago as a 6ft x 6ft summer house that stood in the garden of his Anglican rectory.

After being ordained a Catholic priest in 2011, he used the woodworking skills taught to him by his father to begin its transformation into The Oratory of St Joseph. 

At 14ft in length, it is now more than twice as long as it was originally and contains an altar-piece modelled on an Italian one from the 14th century.

The winner of the competition will be named next month.

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