Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Texting may allow Finns to don8 to church

12:49 PM EDT

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Text messages may allow worshippers in Finland to donate money to their church without having to attend services.

Under current laws, the church cannot raise funds by texts in Finland, the home of mobile phone giant Nokia. Dean Matti Pikkarainen of Oulu Cathedral said he aimed to raise the issue at a nationwide church meeting next month.

"I've spoken this morning with some people who are in leading positions in our church to see if we can change the law," Pikkarainen said.

"It depends more on parliament than the church ... I believe the church is ready for this kind of modernization this year."

Pikkarainen said parishioners could use their phones to donate money after the end of church services, so as not to disturb other worshippers. Text messages would also give people more freedom to donate as they would not have to come to church.

"If you're listening to the service on the radio, TV or Internet, you can do it from home too. People nowadays are not always in church," he said.

At the end of 2008, about 80 percent of Finns were registered members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Oulu is in northern Finland.

(Reporting by Brett Young; editing by Robert Woodward)

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