Hirschfeld invested as state's 10th bishop
Members of Hirschfeld's family were present at the morning service, and clergy and church members from across New Hampshire filled the church. As a part of the ancient ritual, Hirschfeld stood outside the church and knocked on the door three times, requesting permission to enter, and was admitted.
Linking her sermon to the Epiphany story, Canon Judith Esmay referred to the magi who visited the manger, saying, "Whatever it was they saw, those wise men were sure that they had found the place and person they sought .... The story is not so much that they brought the gifts; it's that they left the gifts."
The Right Rev. Stephen Lane, bishop of Maine, presided at the investiture. Participating bishops were The retired Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, ninth Bishop of New Hampshire, and the Right Rev. Douglas Theuner, eighth bishop of New Hampshire (retired). The large choir included singers from several parishes in the state.
Hirschfeld's predecessor Bishop Robinson presented the crozier (bishop's staff), symbolizing his role as shepherd and chief pastor. In one of many lighthearted moments, Robinson also bestowed the official three-digit license plate assigned by the state Legislature to the person serving as bishop of New Hampshire, prompting laughter and applause.
Hirschfeld served as rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Amherst, Mass., when elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire on the first ballot from a group of three nominees. He was consecrated as a bishop in August at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord.