A CHURCH minister has expressed “optimism” as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed.

The Rev Alison McDonald encouraged people to now “cherish” loved ones that they had been unable to meet with during the global pandemic.

She highlighted the potential changes to restrictions in St Mary’s Parish Church’s summer newsletter.

She told how she had visited friends in West Lothian and had been able to see them for the first time in more than a year.

The minister said: “I suspect that many of you will have been in a similar situation recently.

“How strange it is that the things we once thought of as a normal part of life have become so extraordinary.

“It has often been said that the Covid-19 pandemic has made us realise the value of the most simple, everyday things in life, such as being able to spend time in the company of family and friends, whether they live close by or further away.

“As the summer holiday time begins, we are able to look forward with more optimism than we’ve had for a long time.

“All going well, the Scottish Government plans to continue easing restrictions during the summer months, allowing us greater freedom to meet together.

“This summer then let’s take the time to cherish the people we have missed, nurturing our friendships, renewing our relationships, spending time with our families. We have a lot of catching up to do.”