WORLD News Group Announces Death of Joel Belz

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Feb. 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The board of directors and leadership of WORLD News Group announced today that the organization’s founder, Joel Belz, has died at the age of 82.

John Weiss, chairman of the WNG board, said, “In the 1980’s Joel envisioned a Christian news organization that reported on world events through the lens of Psalm 24 – that the earth and all who dwell therein are the Lord’s. A leader, a publisher, a visionary, a faithful servant of his Lord and a friend and mentor to all of us at World. His ever-ready words of encouragement to all will be sorely missed. But we know the One in whom Joel placed his faith has now called him home to his glorious reward. For Joel the battle is over and the victory won.” 

Nick Eicher, longtime editorial leader at WNG, said, “In the thirty-three years I’ve been part of this project that Joel started, I never met anyone who so consistently applied his theology to his work and life. The fact that he was wrestling every day with the news amplified his utter reliance on God. I never saw his trust in his good Father waver, even when he could no longer be in the office doing what he loved.”

Joel Belz was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1941 to Max and Jean Belz. He was the second of eight children. He graduated from Cono Christian School, Covenant College, and the University of Iowa. He was Covenant College’s Alumnus of the Year in 1977 and the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America’s General Assembly in 2003. 

Joel Belz—truly beloved by his family, his church family, the staff and extended family of WORLD—is survived by Carol Esther, his wife of 49 years; his five daughters, Jenny (Andy) Gienapp of Aragon, Georgia, Katrina (Eric) Costello of Astoria, New York, Alice (Mark) Tucker of St. Louis, Missouri, Elizabeth (Derek) Odegard of Astoria, New York, and Esther (Brian) Morrison of Wilmington, North Carolina; 16 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

WNG has set up a tribute page at The page contains a full obituary, a photo gallery, access to Joel’s more than 1,000 WORLD Magazine columns, and a place for friends to post reminiscences and condolences.


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