Harry J. Almond (1918-2007)
Harry John Almond, together with his wife Beverly, lived and worked in various parts of the Middle East for nearly twenty years. Harry first went to the Middle East as a teaching missionary, with the Reformed Church of America (RCA), and later returned with his new wife. Their first daughter was born in Basra, Iraq and their second in Bahrain.
Born and raised in New Jersey (NJ), USA, he graduated from Rutgers University, and then from New Brunswick Seminary, both in NJ. He received his ordination in the Reformed Church of America in June 1947. During World War II, Harry volunteered for the mission field and was posted to a school in Basra, Iraq. Following his ordination in 1947, he and his wife, Beverly (neé Kitchen), returned to the Middle East. He was based in Iraq from 1947 to 1950, in Bahrain in 1951 and later, with Moral Re-Armament, in Lebanon from 1964 to 1971. He was a fluent speaker and reader of Arabic and was equally at ease conversing in Arabic among statesmen or playing American tunes on his harmonica for family and friends.
In 1951, Harry and his wife, Beverly, began working full time with Moral Re-Armament, an international peace-building organization based on the premise that personal change can lead to larger changes. He served as executive director of MRA in the USA from 1976 to 1980 and remained a board member until 1998. The family lived on the East Coast of the USA, but he made several trips to the Middle East again during that time.
The Almonds moved to New England (Northeastern USA) in 1977, made their home first in Connecticut and later in Western Massachusetts, where he served as chaplain of the Egremont Volunteer Fire Department and on the Board of Health. The world still came to them and they continued traveling for conferences, lectures and seminars around the country and internationally.
In later years, in recognition of his bridge building work in the Middle East, he represented the Reformed Church of America in the Office of Christian-Muslim Relations of the National Council of Churches. He lectured widely on Middle East and Muslim affairs - pioneering work at that time.
He wrote a biography of his friend Mohammed Fadhel Jamali, former longtime foreign minister of Iraq. The book, "Iraqi Statesman", was published by Grosvenor Press in 1993. Other writings included Foundations for Faith (a compilation of Christian teachings, prayers and hymns), a pamphlet published in 1982 containing a speech he gave on the subject of bridge building between Christians and Muslims, and later an autobiography; “An American in the Middle East” published posthumously by Caux Books in 2009.
He was an Eagle Scout, was active with local clergy and enjoyed his family, water color painting, sailing and reading.
He and Beverly (1918-2018) have two daughters, Anne Hamlin of Massachusetts, and Elizabeth (Betsy) Lancaster of New York City and now Florida, four grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.