Answering the Call: Tyler Been
1. What Church are you serving at, and what are you doing there?
I serve at Church of the Holy Cross in Paris, TX. I am the Curate at Holy Cross. Because of the size of Holy Cross, I have the privilege of participating in all aspects of parish life. I do administration tasks, preach, celebrate the sacraments, teach Sunday school, and pastoral visitations. I also supply at Holy Trinity in Bonham, TX, once a month and teach a weekly class there. Over the course of the last year, we have gone through the prayer book catechism using readings from different theologians from the Christian tradition to give insight into the theology that the catechism teaches. Our readings range from Augustine to Robert Jenson, and it has been a great privilege to watch parishioners struggle with and digest important theological writings. This last year I did a similar class with the high schoolers at Holy Cross. This summer we have begun a class at Holy Trinity on the drama of Scripture. The class attempts to teach parishioners the overarching narrative of Scripture and how we find our place in it.
2. How long have you been there?
I have been serving at both Holy Cross and Holy Trinity for one year.
3. What has been the most surprising aspect of this ministry?
I am always surprised by the fact that parishioners will share their experiences and sufferings with such a young priest. I feel underserving of the privilege of hearing about people’s faith and doubts about God.
4. What has been the most meaningful?
The most meaningful part of ministry has been the people. It has also been incredibly meaningful to have my family involved in the life of Holy Cross. I love knowing that my family is a part of my vocation rather than spectators. And I love having a job where my children can be present with me. Another meaningful part of ministry has been the privilege of teaching. I have always loved to teach and have a passion for theology. The experience of sharing challenging and thought provoking theology with parishioners has been both meaningful and inspiring.
5. Since this placement how have you seen God’s presence in your life?
One of the downsides of seminary is the time it requires of you. Since graduating and beginning to work I have had a lot more time with my family and it is a place where I see the presence of God in my life. At clergy conference we had the privilege of hearing from Ephraim Radner. Radner’s lectures were some of the most spiritually uplifting that I have heard in years. He exhorted us to see created mortal life, with all its constraints, as a gift that we were created for. Often the message of the church is that human beings were made for more than what they are now experiencing. Of course, this is true, but sometimes the unintended consequence of such a message is that it breeds discontent with our lives in their created finitude. Since our placement, my wife and I have learned a lot about being content with our circumstances and finding joy in a mortal good like family. I have been created to be the father of Margaret and Julian and this is something to be embraced, loved, and enjoyed. God’s presence is here and now in this mortal life as it has been given.
6. Since this placement how have you seen God’s presence in your parish?
I have seen God’s presence in many of the activities I do in the parish. Because of my personality I see it most clearly in teaching. I have had many incredible conversations while teaching where the presence of God seemed palpable. I have also seen and felt the presence of God in the sacramental work of being a priest. Particularly in hospital visits and visitations with grieving families.
7. What is your advice to those discerning the call to holy orders?
Be honest with your parish committee and the diocesan committee. They can only help you discern a call to holy orders if they actually know who you are.
8. What are you most thankful for in this role?
In his sermon at my ordination Bishop Sumner said that so often the assumption is that priests go to work at parishes to bless people there, but what happens is the people bless the priest. That has been my experience thus far and what I am most thankful for in my role is the people of Holy Cross and Holy Trinity.