In light of the escalating conflict in Gaza over the last 24 hours, the Methodist Church is calling for international pressure on both Israel and Hamas to bring an end to the violence.
Steve Hucklesby, Public Issues Policy Advisor, said: "The devastating death toll resulting from Israeli air strikes has shocked many. Rather than improving security, this action by Israel could compound conflict in the region.
"It is also likely to make it more difficult to bring regional powers together in a search for solutions. Both Hamas and Israel must respond to the UN Security Council call for an immediate end to all military operations."
He continued: "We call on the European Union, the United States and the United Nations to bring increased pressure on Israel and on Hamas to refrain from violence. At this time of year when the focus of Christians around the world is on the Holy Land we pray for courageous leadership in the cause of peace.
“Before the recent outbreaks of violence, Gaza was already suffering a dire humanitarian situation has not been helped by Israel’s blockade and restrictions on relief supplies. Now food, fuel and medical supplies are needed urgently,” Hucklesby concluded.
The Methodist Church is one of the largest Christian churches in Britain, with nearly 265,000 members and regular contact with over 800,000 people. It has around 5,800 local churches and also maintains links with other Methodist churches totalling a worldwide membership of 70 million.