Church campaigns for forgiveness emoji
Finnish church and partners raise awareness about forgiveness while looking for new ways to communicate
(LWI) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) has launched a campaign for an emoji to express forgiveness. During the campaign it will be possible to submit a suggestion for the emoji and vote on a favorite design. A proposal will be sent to the Unicode Consortium to be included in the standard emojis before the end of the year.
Adding color to communication
Emojis are an integral part of modern communication and the more than 3000 official emojis are used to depict everything from joy to grief, adding color to online exchanges. In 2015, Finland became the first country in the world to create its own set of government-approved, national themed emojis. But until now, there has been no emoji that conveys the meaning “I forgive you.” The Forgivemoji campaign, launched by ELCF and partners, seeks to address that gap, while raising awareness about the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The word emoji comes from two Japanese words and originally meant a pictogram. Emojis are ideograms that are used in electronic communications. They can include facial expressions, common objects, animals, places and types of weather. Emoji have become increasingly popular worldwide – particularly in mobile communications – after they were added to mobile operating systems and social media platforms in the 2010s. They are now considered to be an integral part of popular culture and are able to transcend linguistic barriers.
Focusing on peace
The campaign was conceived last year, during which there was a national focus on peace in Finland, says ELCF communications director Tuomo Pesonen. In 2018 the Finnish people commemorated a century from the end of the Finnish civil war. “There was much discussion about reconciliation and forgiveness in Finland and one observation was that there was no emoji that could be used to express forgiveness.” Pesonen explains that, of course, an emoji can hardly be used to express forgiveness after horrible events like a war. “This is rather about everyday life and claiming a space for forgiveness in daily interactions, for example within a family, among friends or with anyone you feel the need for it,” he says.
In addition to creating the new emoji, the campaign will also raise funds for peace and conflict resolution work in countries such as Somalia, Kenya, Central African Republic.
Many partners have joined the campaign, including the CMI Peace Broker, Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, and FinnChurchAid.
We hope the campaign will result in a good emoji that will be included in the official Unicode collection “so that it can be used in all social media, on all platforms. That would be a success, not just for us, but for people all over the world.
“We invite people around the world to contribute and vote. Our website is accessible in English and Finnish,” the Finnish communication director says. He hopes that the campaign will result in a good emoji that will be included in the official Unicode collection “so that it can be used in all social media, on all platforms. That would be a success, not just for us, but for people all over the world.”