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The Archbishop is weary of being pushed around. The pusher-in-chief, of course, especially since the founding of cana, has been Akinola. "I've said to him privately and publicly I don't think that [cana] was an appropriate response," says Williams. He is also bothered by the unwavering support by Akinola's church of a proposed Nigerian law, now lapsed, that would have assigned a five-year jail term not only to open homosexuals, but to those who supported them. Williams says he is "very unhappy" about the situation, "and I've written to the Archbishop about it."
The Anglican parties have talked fairly little, thus far, about the collateral damage if the Communion does dissolve but it would be real. Valuable links between rich and poor nations would be broken, and people would suffer while northern cash is seeking new conduits to southern need. There will be expensive litigation. That is not to say that the principles of gay rights or biblical fidelity may not be worth the possible costs. But Williams cautions: "There are no clean breaks. It's not as if [the Communion would] just snap apart like a dry biscuit."
Two weeks after Williams' offsetting penalties on Robinson and Minns, it looks as though his gamble may have paid off. Although Ugandan Archbishop Henry Orombi said he would join Akinola's boycott of the Lambeth conference, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, an influential Global South leader, told Time his contingent will attend. Liberal Washington bishop John Chane said that he will probably skip the conference out of loyalty to Robinson, but "I think the American church will be well represented ... [and] I think it's important. I don't see a walkout."
This should please the Archbishop, who is now engaged in a little light recreation, working on a book about Fyodor Dostoevsky at Georgetown University in Washington. He will emerge from his studies slightly before the Communion's next likely crisis: the Americans' September deadline on the Dar es Salaam "recommendations." Whatever happens then, Williams will probably keep plugging along. He is "hopeful," he told Time, but not "absolutely confident" that the whole structure of Anglicanism can be kept together. And if it should fall apart around his shoulders, leaving him standing in the rubble of his calling? Would he be able to sustain the blow? "Well, yes," Williams said, and then took a long pause. "Yes. Because I trust my God and I believe that whatever mistakes I make and whatever disasters may occur, there is always grace."