On Thursday evening Dr. Jane Williams had a book launch of her new book, Marriage, Mitres, and Being Myself. It is a compilation of stories from bishops' spouses. The launch was complete with a short and witty lecture as well as wine and chocolate.
As people were milling about before the lecture, Archbishop Rowan, like many of the others, were talking. I was standing with another steward off to the side of the room. ++Rowan slipped out of his conversation and came over to talk to us. He began by asking us how we were and if we were tired yet. We answered politely pointed out that he was likely more tired as the whole world was looking at him and not us. He pointed out that we were wearing florescent vests. He then asked us what we did when we weren't doing this.
The other steward began to explain our other duties. He stopped her and said, "no, no, when you aren't here." She replied that she studies theology at this university (UKC). He asked me, and I replied that I am a masters student in library science. He asked where.
Upon my reply of Rutgers, he immediately said "Oh, in Joisey."
Yes, I'm serious.
I, of course, in response, put on my thickest NJ accent and say "woi, of corwse, waya else wood I be from? Do we awl tawk funny or wha-ev?"
He laughs, and is then made fun of (not by me) for being Welsh and making fun of anyone elses speaking.
He is very humble and self-effacing and down to earth. At the opening plenary, when explaining what would happen on the retreat, he mentioned that there would be a series of addresses. He said that he hoped they would be useful. But if the bishops found them "boring or incomprehensable" that they are welcome to not pay attention and try to listen to God in other ways instead.
When Jane, who isn't much taller than I am, was taking a photo with a few Korean women, he pointed out that this would be one of the few times that she has ever towered over anyone.
Some of the clergy and bishops are critical of this aspect of ++Rowan, but I have found it quite comforting.
While this was a bit rambling, I don't really feel like rewriting it