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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Messiah text service expands
Mobile phone sending text messaging
Churchgoers will be able to read the bible via their mobile
A Cardiff company is to offer people a regular message from the bible via their mobile phones in an attempt to show how up-to-date the church is.

About half the 160-strong congregation of a Baptist chapel in the city trialled the text-messaging last year, receiving regular missives from the bible's Book of Proverbs.

Now, in what is claimed to be a first for Wales, the service is to be extended across the UK.

Subscribers will be able to receive biblical inspiration from verses taken from the bible.

Four out of the 25p cost of each text go towards Christian charities.

"Its a way of reaching people in their busy lives with a bible message because we feel we have something reasonable to say," said Reverend Simeon Baker, of the Bethel Baptist Church.

The bible is full of practical advice for daily life, but people are often too busy to read it every day
Darren Rose

"Rather than a stereotypical view of the church being an archaic 19th Century institution we want to show how modern we are."

The bible text service is called Wisdom to Live By or W2LB. However, the messages will be written out in full and will not be in short text form.

"When we trialled the service we found members of the congregation wanted the messages to be in full," said Rev Baker.

Darren Rose, managing director of thinkSMS.co.uk, the company which has come up with the texting technology said he believed it was the first time a " bible in a text" service had been offered here.

It was also a way of showing that texting was "no longer the monopoly of teenagers".

"The bible is full of practical advice for daily life, but people are often too busy to read it every day.

Rev Simeon Baker
Rev Simeon Baker: 'Something to say'

"W2LB recognises that most of us now have a mobile phone, so we send out a quote as a text message three times a week."

Texts will automatically be sent to subscribers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

A typical verse coming up on subscribers' mobiles could be this one from the Book of John: " Jesus said do not let your hearts be troubled - trust in God."

Rev Baker explained the Christian charities which will be helped by income from the text service will rotate.

The first will be Compassion UK which helps sponsor children in developing countries.

The BBC's James Westhead
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