“Albert was a pioneer in the Arabic Christian world.”—Roland Rink, director of Africa Upper Room Ministries
It is with great sadness that we share with you the death of the Rev. Dr. Albert Isteero.
Albert was the editor of Al-Ulliyya, the Arabic edition of The Upper Room, from the mid-1960s through its end in 2010. He took a sabbatical from editing Al-Ulliyya while studying in the U.S. for his advanced degrees. He held three M.A. degrees, two Ph.Ds. and taught Arabic at Hartford Seminary and later at John’s Hopkins University. Albert was also an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Synod of the Nile. With his wife, Jean, Albert lived part-time in Baltimore and part-time in Cairo, Egypt.
Albert’s devotion to his ministry was apparent through both his professional appointments and his tireless work to edit and distribute Al-Ulliyya. He served a term as president of the Protestant Seminary of the Middle East and as the General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches. Steve Bryant, former and interim Publisher and World Editor of The Upper Room says about Albert: “He was a great advocate for The Upper Room, for good scholarship and sound theology, and a sacrificial servant in the way he and [Jean] did so much to serve the Arabic population with the Arabic edition.”
Al-Ulliyya began in Lebanon in 1953 when Christian leaders affiliated with the Armenian edition of The Upper Room saw a deep need for the magazine to be published in Arabic as well. Al-Ulliyya maintained this focus on the needs of the communities the magazine served for its duration, and Albert lived out this commitment to his readers. The edition reached people in Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
When he hosted Dale Rust Waymack, retired director of international ministries at The Upper Room, and Roland Rink, director of Africa Upper Room Ministries (AURM), Albert’s itinerary for the meeting included sight-seeing and cultural experiences in Cairo, because he and his work were fully engaged in the world around him. Roland recalls this 2004 trip as formative in his memories of Albert: “Albert was a pioneer in the Arabic Christian world. My time with him in Cairo was deeply meaningful.”
Albert’s loss is deeply felt by us at The Upper Room and by those who read Al-Ulliyya, as well as scholars and theologians throughout the world. His devotion to editing and distributing the Arabic edition extended its life to reach thousands of Arabic-speaking Christians. We give thanks for the many ways Albert contributed to this ministry, which helps people spend time each day with God in prayer.
If you would like to donate to international editions of The Upper Room daily devotional guide in Albert’s name, visit http://upperroom.org/gift