The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has released a statement regarding the horrific attacks that took place in New Zealand earlier today.

"My prayers are with everyone in Christchurch. I was last in the beautiful garden city after the earthquakes, a natural hazard. But this is a deliberate act of hatred for which there is never an excuse or reason.

I share a common heritage of the Abrahamic faith with our Muslim sisters and brothers and my prayers go to their families and community. The whole of New Zealand grieves, as we all do. We are bound together by our common humanity, united in our longings for peace and hope.

God give wisdom to all who lead and exercise authority. God give unity to the people of Christchurch. God give hope and energy to restore neighbourhoods and bridge any divisions which may arise. My prayers are with you.

My prayers are with Bishop Peter Carrell and the churches.

Let us all be known by our love for one another."