Episcopal Church

Brady Carlson, NHPR

This weekend the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire formally begins the process of installing its next bishop.

His name is Robert Hirschfeld, and he comes to New Hampshire after working for about a decade at a church in western Massachusetts. He’ll formally be consecrated as Bishop Coadjutor at a ceremony this weekend in Concord. Once that happens Hirschfeld will be in line to lead the Diocese next January, when Bishop Gene Robinson retires.

Duane Dale

Episcopalians in New Hampshire have elected Reverend Robert Hirschfeld as their next Bishop. He will replace Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the history of the church.

Robert Hirschfeld – currently the rector of Grace Church in Amherst Massachusetts – was elected on the first ballot, which is a rarity in Episcopalian elections.

The chair of the Bishop Search and Nomination Committee, Kevin Nichols, says that reflects a consensus in the New Hampshire dioceses that Hirschfeld is the right man for the job.

Flikr Creative Commons / @bastique

Today members of the New Hampshire Episcopalian dioceses are gathering to elect a successor to Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Bishop in the history of the church. 

The election of Robinson in 2003 tore a rift in the global Anglican community. In 2010, Robinson announced that he would retire next January, saying years of death threats and controversy had taken their toll.

The vice-chair of New Hampshire’s bishop search committee, Margaret Porter, says that sexual orientation did not figure in to the selection of candidates.

New Hampshire Episcopalians are set to choose a successor to retiring Bishop Gene Robinson, whose election in 2003 as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop created worldwide headlines and controversy between the church and the Anglican Communion.

Lisa Wangsness covers religion for the Boston Globe; she joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson to look at the three candidates and the state of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire.