The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Church have made a call for peace following the vote in the House of Commons last night to authorise UK military action in Syria.
The vote, taken on the evening of Wednesday 2 December, was 397 for and 223 against the air bombing of Syria.
The Revd Steve Wild and Dr Jill Barber, President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference have said:
"We join with people of all faiths, as we pray for Syria following last night's decision that the UK will proceed with air strikes on ISIS/Daesh. Every death is tragic and we grieve for those who have been killed and those who will die as an escalation of military action as a result of the continuing conflict.
We pray for peace in the UK, following a difficult decision that has created sharp divisions.
We pray for peace in Syria, and for the communities and families already devastated by aerial bombing and the violence of the past four years. We pray for peace in the Middle East, that the distrust of governments in the region and beyond that helps to fuel radicalisation can be overcome.
We pray for peace in the world, that peoples and governments do not ignore the cries of the innocent and that preservation of life is at the heart of our actions.
We pray for peace."
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church in Britain and the United Reformed Church have released a joint statement on military action in Syria:
Our churches: –
-Express our abhorrence of the actions of ISIS/Daesh in Syria and their support of terrorist actions elsewhere and bring before God in prayer all victims of recent terrorist attacks and the families and communities affected by these atrocities
-Are grateful for the vital work of the security services in the UK in suppressing acts of terrorism
-Note that regional partners and Syrian factions have differing and contrary interests and welcome the efforts of the Vienna peace process to gain agreement on an approach to countering terrorism and to search for a way forward for the political process in Syria
-Are convinced that Daesh can only be defeated through a comprehensive economic, diplomatic and security strategy that has the involvement of all partners in the region and the full support of the UN Security Council
-Assert that aerial bombing is unlikely to have a decisive role in defeating Daesh and that even the use of precision weaponry is likely to cause civilian casualties and trauma within communities
-Urge the UN Security Council to call to account all parties in Syria who have committed crimes against humanity and call on the UK and its allies to avoid security strategies that are based on a reliance on those same militias
-Suggest that any military support from the UK in Syria be contingent on a clearer endorsement by the UN Security Council that is unambiguous as to the legal basis for intervention
-Call on our members to continue to pray for all who suffer as a consequence of more than four years of conflict, including refugees in the region and in Europe and also for those tasked with negotiating solutions and bringing security
-Call on our members to reach out in love and solidarity to members of other faith communities, to challenge the divisive rhetoric that sets communities apart and to show the love of Christ by building bridges where there are fractures.