At a news conference flanked by Canadian Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, Williams, on his first visit to Canada since becoming head of the world Anglican Communion in 2002, responded to dozens of questions about the church's Sept. 30 deadline for Episcopalians to stop endorsing same-sex marriages and ordaining openly gay priests.
He said a date has not been set, and went on to say his leadership was not like the Roman Catholic Church, where a pope issues a decree. He said his role was to create an atmosphere where discussion and compromise could be considered on the divisive issues.
Asked if he had taken on more than he bargained for in assuming leadership of the communion's 77 million faithful in 38 autonomous churches five years ago, Williams acknowledged there had been surprises.
"I took on this job in the belief that I was called by God to do it, and when God calls you to do things, he never shows you the small print," he said.