An Easter service honoring the life of the Rt. Rev. George Phelps Mellick Belshaw was held at Trinity Church in Princeton on March 6. The service was celebrated by Bishop William H. (Chip) Stokes. The preacher was Trinity Rector the Rev. Paul Jeanes II. Among the dozens of clergy and hundreds of lay people attending and taking part were retired Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold III, and the Very Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, Dean and President of General Theological Seminary, a position that Bishop Belshaw once held.
After completing his studies at the General Seminary, Mellick Belshaw served churches in Waimanalo, Hawaii; Dover, Delaware; and Rumson, N.J., where he was rector of St George’s-by-the-River for ten years. He was elected Suffragan Bishop of New Jersey in 1975, then Bishop Coadjutor in 1982, and in 1983 became the 9th Bishop of New Jersey. He served as diocesan bishop until his retirement in 1995.
Bishop Belshaw has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the General Theological Seminary and the University of the South; he has also been the recipient of an honorary degree from Hamilton College. His service to General Theological Seminary includes 31 years on the board of trustees, as well as serving at various times as tutor, fellow, adjunct faculty member, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and acting dean of the seminary.
Bishop Belshaw has been a fellow of the College of Preachers, a member of the Commission on Peace of the Episcopal Church from 1979 to 1985, president of the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey in 1986–1987, president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus from 1986 to 1989, and a member of the Economic Justice Committee of the Episcopal Church from 1988 to 1995. In the late 1990s, he was chair of the Coalition for Peace Action, a grassroots citizens organization that advocates for the global abolition of nuclear weapons, a peace economy, and a halt to weapons trafficking at home and abroad.
He is the editor two well-regarded books, Lent with Evelyn Underhill and Lent with William Temple, as well as a number of articles and reviews.
He was married to Elizabeth Wheeler from 1954 until her death in 2014. They have three children and several grandchildren, many of whom took part in Friday's service.
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