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A Massachusetts priest will succeed Bishop Gene Robinson as New Hampshire's next Episcopal bishop.

A delegation of clergy and lay people chose the Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld of Grace Church in Amherst from a field of three nominees. Votes were cast Saturday at St. Paul's Church in Concord.

If approved at the church's national convention in July, Hirschfeld will succeed Robinson when he steps down in January after serving nine years as the state's ninth Episcopal bishop.

Robinson's consecration in 2003 as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican church created an international uproar and led conservative Episcopalians to break away from the main church in the U.S.

Hirschfeld was born in Minnesota and grew up in Connecticut, where he served at a number of churches.

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