Belshaw Elected Bishop Coadjutor

Episcopal News Service. April 27, 1982 [82107]

TRENTON, N.J. (DPS, April 27) -- The present suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey was elected bishop coadjutor of that diocese by a large majority on the first ballot at a special convention at Trinity Cathedral here on April 24.

The Rt. Rev. G.P. Mellick Belshaw received a large majority vote in both the clerical and lay orders in an election for the successor to the present bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. Albert W. VanDuzer, who plans to retire Dec. 31 at the age of 65. VanDuzer has been head of the 14-county diocese in southern New Jersey since 1973.

A diocesan nominating committee presented the names of five candidates and one priest was nominated from the floor.

Belshaw, 53, has been suffragan or assisting bishop in the diocese since 1975. As bishop coadjutor he has automatic succession to the post of diocesan bishop.

A native of Plainfield, N.J., Belshaw is a graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn., and General Theological Seminary in New York City. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by General.

He was rector of St. George-by-the-River, Rumson, N.J., when he was elected to the episcopate. He had previously served congregations in Hawaii and Delaware.

Belshaw, in accepting his election, told the 800 persons at the cathedral, "We move into an unknown future together, in and through the Holy Spirit. Our spirituality will show us the way. We are called upon to be people of expectation, alert and ready for action when the Master calls, whether in the middle of the night, or just before dawn."

In an earlier statement, Belshaw had said about the ministry of the Church, "In a world marred by violence, the Servant Church is called upon to be a peace-maker. In a world marred by poverty, racism and many forms of prejudice, we are called to fight injustice. In a world marred by apathy, we are called to minister with compassion."

In 1954 he and Elizabeth Wheeler were married and they have three children.

The standing committees and bishops of the Episcopal Church must approve his election before the result is official.