New Hampshire diocese elects Robert Hirschfeld as bishop

Published May 22, 2012

The Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld has been elected as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. Photo: ENS

The Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld was elected on May 19 as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire.

Hirschfeld, 51, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, Massachusetts (Diocese of Western Massachusetts), was elected on the first ballot out of a field of three nominees.

He received 91 votes of 166 cast in the lay order and 54 of 87 cast in the clergy order. An election on that ballot required 84 in the lay order and 44 in the clergy order.

The election was held at St. Paul’s Church in Concord.

Because the election occurred close in time to the 77th meeting of the General Convention in July, Episcopal Church canons provide (in Canon III.11.3) for the required consents to be sought from the bishops and deputies at convention.

Assuming that consent is received, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is scheduled to consecrate Hirschfeld on Aug. 4 at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord.

On Jan. 5, 2013, the bishop coadjutor will be installed as the 10th diocesan bishop at St. Paul’s Church, succeeding the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who was elected as bishop in 2003 and is retiring.

Prior to becoming rector of Grace Church, Hirschfeld was vice chaplain at St. Mark’s Chapel at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and was assistant priest at Christ Church, New Haven. He spent a year as pastoral assistant at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris, France. A current member of the board of examining chaplains, he served on diocesan council and as a regional dean in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.

He is a 1983 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he received his B.A. in Literature. In 1991, he completed a Master of Divinity degree at Berkeley Divinity School, Yale University in New Haven. Born in Minnesota, he moved to Connecticut in childhood.

Hirschfeld is married to Polly Ingraham, a teacher and writer, and has two sons and a daughter. He enjoys painting and outdoor activities, including cycling, rowing, hiking, and skiing.

“I am honored to join you in the holy work of bearing witness to the power of Christ’s forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection in this time and in this place,” Hirschfeld said in a message to the electing convention. “What I have discovered over the past few months of getting to know this diocese is that I have not felt called to be a bishop so much as I have felt called to be your bishop, the bishop of New Hampshire … I am inspired by the powerful sense of collegiality among the clergy and people of this diocese. I am inspired by your commitment to bring the Good News of God’s presence and power to more youth and young adults in this state. And I am inspired by your desire to equip the ministry of all the baptized for the life and restoration of the world.

“God has been doing a good and holy work in New Hampshire, and I am deeply delighted to share in it with you. Thank you for this incredible honor and for the trust that you have placed in me. May God bless you, Bishop Gene, the people, and parishes of the Diocese of New Hampshire, in the days and weeks ahead and forever more.”

The other nominees were:

Information about all the nominees is available here.

The Diocese of New Hampshire comprises about 15,000 Episcopalians worshiping in 47 congregations.


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