The Rt. Rev. George Phelps Mellick Belshaw, the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey from 1983 to 1994, died on Saturday, February 29th peacefully in Princeton, NJ. He was 91 years of age, born July 14, 1928 in Plainfield, NJ, the only child of Edith Mellick and the Rev. Harold Belshaw.
He spent his early youth in Paris, France, where his father was on the church staff of the American cathedral, before moving to Manhattan and soon thereafter to New Haven, CT. He graduated from St. Paul's School, Concord, NH, in 1947, the University of the South, Sewanee, TN, in1951, and the General Theological Seminary in New York, in 1954 with a particular interest in ascetical prayer and theology. In June of that year he married Elizabeth Wheeler of Providence, RI, who predeceased him in 2014. He was ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church a week later at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, MA, and priest at St. Christopher's Church, Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii that December. He spent three years as vicar of St. Matthew's Church in Waimanalo, Oahu, returning to General Seminary in 1957 to earn a S.T.M. degree and work as a seminary tutor. From 1959 to 1965, he was Rector of Christ Church, Dover, DE, and from 1965 to 1975 was Rector of St. George's-by-the-River, Rumson, NJ. He was elected Suffragan Bishop of New Jersey in 1974 and Diocesan Bishop in 1983.
Mellick was active in a number of educational and advocacy ministries, including The Anglican Theological Review where he wrote essays and book reviews while serving as a member of the corporation, visiting lecturer in ascetical theology at General Seminary, Fellow of the College of Preachers in Washington D.C., long time active member of the American Teilhard de Chardin Association, active with the Coalition of Religious Leaders of New Jersey, and served the national Episcopal Church on the Economic Justice Implementation Committee, the Joint Commission on Peace, and as president of the Episcopal Urban Caucus. He edited two books on Lenten meditations based on the writings of Evelyn Underhill and Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, and wrote for various publications. He was awarded three Doctor of Divinity degrees.
Mellick faithfully served General Theological Seminary in Manhattan as trustee from 1975 to 2006, including as Chairman of the Board for eight years in the 1990's. He retired as the longest serving trustee in the seminary's history. He served a year as acting Dean there during the school year of 1997-1998. He also served as the summer chaplain at St. James' Episcopal Church in Prout's Neck, ME for 36 years.
He is survived by his three children: the Rev. Richard Belshaw of Durham, NH, Elizabeth (Lisa) Belshaw Ham, and George P.M. Belshaw, Jr. of Greenwich, CT, two daughters-in-law Julia Slater Gittes and Dorothy Murray, son-in-law Peter Ham, and seven grandchildren: Emily Belshaw now known as M Slater, Daniel Belshaw, Elizabeth Ham, Alexandra Ham, Martha Belshaw, Alice Belshaw, and George P.M. Belshaw III. Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 6 at Trinity Church, Princeton, NJ at 11:00. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the G.P. Mellick Belshaw Educational & Theological Fund at the Diocese of New Jersey in Trenton, or Trinity Church, Princeton.