REDUNDANT churches have been turned into pubs, private homes, theatres and even furniture stores.

But now, in a rare reversal of roles, a former supermarket is to become a church - or a multi-purpose community church centre to be more precise.

Over the past year, members from Rosskeen Free Church have been renovating the old Co-op building at the top of Alness High Street.

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Their own church is a landmark 19th century building, but it stands on its own beside the A9 on the Easter Ross Peninsula.

The old Co-op is now called the Capstone Centre, and the congregation hopes to use the new premises for building links into the Alness community. It will be formally opened tonight.

Already plans have been drawn up for a café, and the 200-seater auditorium will be used for worship as well as talks and other community meetings.

Rosskeen's minister, Reverend Iain MacAskill, said: "It's fair to say in the last decade we have seen a few church buildings closing across Scotland, with many being turned into flats, pubs or community venues. So people are very surprised when they hear about a church that has bought a supermarket to cater for demand. What it tells us is that people are still genuinely interested in hearing the Gospel, and we hope by hosting various groups and activities, this new building will very much become the heart of the community."

The old Co-op building was gifted to the Rosskeen congregation by an anonymous donor, and the congregation have been fundraising to get the building up to scratch. Although the original Rosskeen Free Church building is passed by thousands of commuters every day, who are driving the Invergordon stretch of the A9, it is not in a community.