Being a post-modern clergy spouse

In Oprah Magazine, writer (and clergy spouse), Andrew Corsello reflects on the changes that came when he and his family moved from Virginia to California and when his wife, the Rev. Dana Corsello, became the first female rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco:

She’s a Big Cheese. (He’s a Little Annoyed.)

In Oprah Magazine

Dana’s in the radiance business. Literally—she’s an Episcopal priest. And while she’s been radiating throughout the three years of our courtship and the 11 of our marriage, something’s changed in the last nine months. Thanks to this ever-crescendoing glowiness, I am typing these words while looking out at San Francisco Bay from the top floor of a big and beautiful house I could never afford were I actually required to pay for it. It ought to go without saying that I type with glee. Yes, it ought to. And yet, despite the Jiminy Cricket perched on my shoulder yelling stop the whining! until he’s red in the face, there is a degree to which the bounty of my wife’s radiance has left me feeling, well, a little irradiated.

As well as robbed of one of my favorite punch lines. “And what do you do, Andrew?” I’ve been asked at countless cocktail parties over the years, and if I’d not yet reached that evening’s joke quotient by introducing Dana as “my first wife,” I’d said, “Oh, I’m a preacher’s wife.” I was quick with that joke because I could afford to be; because as everybody around us presumably understood, I was the dynamic force in the life we were building together, the sun around which all else revolved. I suppose this arose in part from our relative incomes; my annual earnings always doubled and sometimes tripled hers. But mostly it arose from my being a magazine writer—from years of training and straining to be a voice, the voice, in the stories I wrote, and in my own domain.

But then suddenly, last summer, everything changed. After a rigorous, nearly yearlong winnowing process, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Francisco named Dana as its first female rector. In August we moved from Richmond, where for eight years she had been the associate rector of a large urban parish.

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