Prayers for the Gulf Coast, this week in religion, a book about God's grace, and more.

The governors of four Gulf Coast states affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico marked a day of prayer Sunday, June 27.

Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas governors called on citizens to pray for a solution to the oil spill and for those affected.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana noted in his proclamation that Louisianans "all across the world are united in hope for an end to this catastrophic event and pray for the recovery of our coastline, the rehabilitation of our fish and wildlife and the restoration of our extraordinary coastal areas that are unlike any other place in the world."

The Louisiana state Legislature last week also held a short prayer service for those coping with the spill.

An independent religious organization has set up a website, www.oilspillprayer.com, where people can share prayers for the Gulf.

This Week in Religion

On July 1, 1879, Charles Taze Russell publishes the first edition of the religious magazine The Watchtower.

On July 5, 1950, The Knesset passes the Law of Return, which grants all Jews the right to immigrate to Israel.

On July 6, 1609, Bohemia is granted freedom of religion.

Survey Says

Church attendance increased slightly in 2010, according to the Gallup organization.

The latest poll found that 43.1 percent of Americans reported weekly or almost weekly church attendance, up from 42.1 percent in 2008.

Though a small increase, Gallup noted that it is "statistically significant," considering the data is based on more than 800,000 interviews collected between February 2008 and May 2010.

Good Book?

“Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels” by Tullian Tchividjian

God's compassion and pardon are utterly shocking in their lavish abundance — that's a lesson God himself pounded into the epic life-story of one man who kept resisting in whatever way he could.

“Surprised by Grace” retells that man's true story in a gripping presentation that will open readers' eyes wider than ever to God's relentless, purposeful and inexhaustible grace.

The man's name isn't new to anyone. It's Jonah, the famous Old Testament prophet. This fresh unfolding of his story seeks to recapture the staggering effect it had on those who first encountered it so many centuries ago.

-- Amazon.com

Get to Know … Moshe David Tendler

Moshe David Tendler is rabbi of a synagogue in Monsey, N.Y., and a senior rabbi at Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.

He has a doctorate in microbiology and is a noted expert in Jewish medical ethics and its relation to Halakha, or Jewish law.

He is chairman of the Rabbinical Council of America Bioethical Commission and a leading scholar for the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists.

Tendler has been one of the most vocal and adamant supporters of Jewish organ donation. He also has written extensively on euthanasia, infertility, end of life issues and Jewish circumcision.

The Word

Parthenogenesis: Virgin birth. – religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Peru

Roman Catholic: 81.3 percent

Evangelical: 12.5 percent

Other: 3.3 percent

Unspecified or none: 2.9 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service