The Primates spent some of their time visiting the new Alexandria Library, and as is the fashion these days the podcast of the occasion was recorded by one of the attending bloggers (though some people have their doubts).
At the Reception Desk:
Williams: Oh hello, my name is Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglican Church...
Jefferts Schorri: Communion.
Williams: Yes and I have brought a number... Is Nigeria and Uganda here at all? No? A number are here of what can be called Primates, indeed, to not exactly fail to admire your new recreation of the Alexandria Library, a postmodern version of one of the wonders of the ancient world..
Library Assistant: So I register you as non-Muslim scholars.
Williams: Very interesting, yes; well I did call for a limited use in certain circumstances for Sharia Law in the United Kingdom, which is where I am from. Is there anything to where you can direct the party?
Library Assistant: In English.
Williams: I speak a variety of languages but yes we can translate among ourselves and in fact Arabic would be a possibility.
Library Assistant: Why not start with our worldwide database of libraries. What is your name spelling?
Williams: R O W A N W I L L I A M S. There is more but.
Library Assistant: It says someone recently shot at you with a gun when you were in the Croydon area of London.
Williams: No, that's not me. Canterbury, Monmouth...
Library Assistant: Just a second. Lever Jel...
Williams: Llyfrgell Trefynwy yn Sir Fynwy.
Library Assistant: This must be it. Mr Williams, do you know that you have not paid your fines to Lever Jel Trev in wee.
Williams: Trev un wee. What?
Library Assistant: You did not return Honest to God. You took the only copy. Your fine so far is £1560.30. Are you a pensioner?
Williams: Not yet but I am getting old very quickly. I thought Honest to God was withdrawn.
Library Assistant: No, Mr Williams, You withdrew it. It is missing and...
Williams: Is there something we can go and see?
Jefferts Schori: Is everything fine and dandy?
Library Assistant: There is The Myth of God Incarnate. The library should have two copies. You borrowed both of them. You owe £2,460.60 on that because you borrowed then both at the same time.
Williams: There must be some mistake.
Library Assistant: There is no mistake, Mr Williams, our database is the best in the world. There is a note underneath your borrowing of Taking Leave of God. You owe a £1,760.90 on that but it says you borrowed the maximum number of books when you went in the library and took away all the books by Mr Don Cupitt. Did you do research on him? The fine outstanding is...
Williams: I gave that library copies of everything I wrote up to...
Library Assistant: Mr Williams. That is true, indeed a note to the data here says that some of the books you did not donate properly. Having just put them on the shelves the library suspects it was you and it has not been able to lend them. An assistant's added note says, 'Well, that's one explanation!'
Bul Deng: Archbishop. Do you think you ought to stand down?
Library Assistant: Mr Williams. It says that you stopped borrowing in 2000 and the library had no copies left of books by Cupitt, Hick, Jenkins and Spong. Indeed, it says that the very day books by John Spong went on the shelves you borrowed them. To go to the summary, it says next time you go in you owe them £123,456.60 in fines, to be paid by cheque or credit card. Would you like to pay now? We can do it here in dollars or euros because of our database and connection to every library. It is a world-beating facility, Mr Williams.
Jefferts Schori: Here. I'll write the cheque for Dr Williams.
Williams: Do you also have in there the parking fines I had to pay when outside the library removing all those books?
Library Assistant: No, Mr Williams, but I can connect to the local authority website for your area in Simroo regarding any outstanding issues. Well, thank you for the cheque madam and there is a man over there who will show you some ancient Christian creeds that some of you might believe.
The Primates were taken around the building.
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