God Goes Mobile

The Church of England is turning to mobile to encourage people to do good during Lent. From today, the first day of Lent, officially described by the CofE as a period of penitence in preparation for Easter, members of the public can text the word Lent to the shortcode 64343 to receive a daily suggestion of action they can take. The suggestions will be sent, one a day, right through to Easter Monday (unless the user opts out) at a price of 10p a day.
Suggestions include: Have a TV-free day and do something you have meant to do for ages; Take part in an environmental clean up; Watch the news and pray about what you see; Leave a 1 coin in the shopping trolley or where someone will find it; and Give up your place to someone in a traffic jam or a queue. Worthy sentiments perhaps, though how you give up your place in a traffic seems like a moot point to us.
The SMS alerts are part of the CofEs Love Life Live Lent campaign. The campaign website features  games, resources, and an opportunity to share experiences with other people who have tried out the suggestions through a forum area. A special area of the website, supported by a separate booklet with activities focused on school life, have been designed for under 15s to join in. The website also has a range of resources and links to help explore Christianity and the Bible.
The campaign started out in the Diocese of Birmingham in 2006 as a series of booklets, inspired by a local pilgrimage. The booklets were such a hit that the original print run had to be increased repeatedly, and 70,000 copies were eventually distributed through churches, schools and community centres.
The Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, believes the campaign shows a different side to Lent. He says:
Doing something positive or generous can be as transforming as giving something up. It helps us to reflect on how we normally behave, and how we can make changes to our lifestyles that reflect Gods love more fully.