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Children from schools and groups across London were joined by Bishop John Wilson in front of Westminster Cathedral in a procession to launch the Heartstone Odyssey campaign International Story Circle, on Thursday 12th July.

International Story Circle is a safe and sensitive vehicle for children around the world to discuss and debate all the issues raised through the series of Heartstone Odyssey books.

Bishop John presided over the opening ceremony and gave a short address to those gathered, reflecting on the beauty of our uniqueness before praying for harmony and peace in the world:

‘As you know, a mosaic is a picture made up of many different tiny coloured tiles,’ said Bishop John.

‘Each one of them is unique and each one of them is essential. Today we are a mosaic. Together we are a beautiful picture of humanity, all of us created in God’s image and called to love God and each other.

‘Lord our God, for everything you give us, we thank you. And we ask for your blessing upon each and all of us today as we share and grow in the ways of harmony and peace, discovering each other as friends and waking together in unity. Lord, we thank you. Amen.’

The Heartsone Odyssey books are fantasy adventures which captivate the imagination of readers through the adventures of Chandra, a young Asian woman who experiences rejection, racism and xenophobia. Despite her trials and tribulations, the underlying themes of acceptance, tolerance and inclusivity as well as working against enormous odds are present throughout.

Chandra will not let racial prejudice stop her from achieving her goals and her determination and spirit has led to her being highlighted by UN Women as a strong, empowering role model for girls and young women worldwide.

The Chair of UN Women UK, Laura Haynes, attended the procession to show her support for Heartstone, as did Dame Louise Ellman MP, Robin Misir from the Home Office and Mr Brij Kumar Guhare, the Deputy Director of the Nehru Centre of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.