I was only able to attend the first day and a half of the three day youth retreat. The retreat was organized by the chaplains of University of Kent at Canterbury and Canterbury Christ Church University. It was organized to give us an opportunity to reflect on the past few weeks, relax, and get to know the Canterbury area and its history.
The first day began with reflections with Archbishop Rowan. We gathered in one of the classrooms and really discussed our experiences. While he was at the front of the room, I was surprised as to how much of a true dialogue the event was. He was surprisingly honest with us, and we had the opportunity to ask him any question we had. I asked "What do you view your job as the archbishop of Canterbury to be, and how do you see yourselves in that role?" Other questions included "Since your wife is a theologians, do you disagree about anything?" (answer:Unfortunately, no) as well as questions about his kids, publications, life before and after being appointed ABC, etc.
This lasted about three hours, before we broke for lunch, during which I sat diagonally across from ++Rowan. He wasn't wearing is collar, and it was amusing as he stood behind me in the lunch queue and people kept pointing and whispering (is that him?). He told of us times when he would be walking and people would stare, and if he said something, those staring would would say "Sorry, I thought you were the Archbisop of Canterbury." His would respond "Oh," shrug, and walk away.
The afternoon was divided into sessions to choose from: "Christianity and Evolution," "Ten things every Christian should know about Islam," and "Walking the Labyrinth." Although I originally intended to attend the session on Evolution, I was feeling a bit anxious, so I ended up walking the labyrinth that was just finished being built last week. That evening we went to the movies... some of us saw Dark Knight, others saw Mamma Mia.
The next day I packed up and then we all left for a tour of East Kent. We began at St. Augustine's cross, then went to ruins of an old castle. I had to leave after that but the rest of the group continued to a few other places, ending with mass at St. Augustine's abbey, led by ++Rowan.