Wednesday, July 16, 2008
And so it begins....
On Monday and Tuesday morning we had our final days of training, met with the 300 Canterbury Volunteers and had a surprise complete with a visit from Archbishop Rowan. As you can see from our attire, we were not expecting this visit. He was very nice and, based on his writings, most of us were surprised how "normal" and joking he was.
This was followed by a tour of Canterbury Cathedral, complete with view of St. Augustine's chair and a view of where Thomas Beckett was killed.
On Tuesday about a third of the bishops arrived. Conference organizers were not expecting that many people, so we were very short staffed and busy. The other 1,000 people arrived yesterday.
The registration process was a bit more complicated than everyone expected. Delegates arrived at all different times by different means of transportation. Most were picked up from the coach stop or train stations in town by volunteers or arrived coaches from other parts of England where many were staying for a few days.
When they arrived they were brought to a large car park where stewards looked up their room numbers and their luggage was transported to their rooms depending on the residential complex they would be residing.
All of the rooms are actually rather nice single dorm rooms. Nicer than almost anything I've ever seen for undergrads in the US. The rooms are rather large with large desks, movable desk lamps contraptions that boil water, and surprisingly comfortable beds.
Some of the "western" bishops, when they saw that they and their spouses were in separate bedrooms (all next door to their spouses), were convinced that they had been singled out... that other people were in doubles. They clearly were not.
After their luggage was checked, they joined a queue to register, get their ID badge and lanyard and their welcome packet. At one point the queue was over an hour long. But as the English queue well, they set a peaceful precedent.
They then went to their rooms and could eat in one of two rather nice dining halls until the opening plenary session yesterday evening.
A Lambeth Steward
Posted by Allie at 11:04 AM