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St Martin-in-the-Fields lecture series takes Martin Luther as its theme

28 July 2023

Tom Holland, Ken Loach, Lemn Sissay in line-up

Marc Gascoigne/StMitF

The US lawyer and campaigner, Bryan Stevenson, speaking at last year’s lecture series

The US lawyer and campaigner, Bryan Stevenson, speaking at last year’s lecture series

THE St Martin-in-the-Fields autumn lecture series is taking as its theme the words of Martin Luther, spoken in 1521: “Here I stand: I can do no other.”

Each of the speakers will address the things in which they believe — and for which they are, or have been, willing to take a stand.

The lectures, held in partnership with the Church Times, will be given at St Martin-in-the-Fields before a live audience and also live-streamed.

The series begins on Wednesday 6 September, when the Archbishop of Canterbury will speak on reconciliation. He will be joined by the Revd Su McClellan, from Embrace the Middle East, and Daniel Munayer, the executive director of Musalaha, an organisation working for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

The next lecture addresses taking a stand on the front line, specifically the war in Ukraine. The audience will hear from Fr Vitaliy Novak, the chief executive of Depaul Ukraine, who has been deeply involved in the humanitarian relief effort since the invasion.

This will be followed by a lecture on martyrdom. The speakers are to be the historian Tom Holland and the Revd Richard Carter, Associate Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, who was chaplain to the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Solomon Islands when seven members of the community were killed and became recognised as martyrs for peace (Features, 22 November 2006)

Later in the series, the filmmaker Ken Loach will discuss some of the films that he has made, and his method of storytelling. The former politician and podcaster Rory Stewart (Podcast, 27 February 2020) will speak on “Politics on the Edge”. The Vicar of St Martin’s, Canon Sam Wells, will talk on “Here I Stand: With God”.

On 6 November, the subject will be caring for the dying, when the speakers will be Professor Catherine Sleeman (who holds the Laing Galazka chair in palliative care at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College, London); Dr Rachel Clarke (an NHS palliative care doctor and writer); and the comedian and podcaster Cariad Lloyd (Features, 20 January).

On 13 November, the poet, writer, and broadcaster Lemn Sissay (Features, 20 December 2019) will explore the courage to discover one’s true identity, to speak truth to power, and what it means to celebrate your own creativity and unique poetic voice.

The series ends with a lecture by the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, on women’s advancement and the part they play in tackling climate change.

Canon Wells said that hearing the speakers articulating their principles promised to be an exhilarating experience. “Martin Luther’s simple words, ‘Here I stand: I can do no other’ are those of a person who knew his own mind, and was willing to face the cost of what he stood for,” he said. “For him, conscience transcended all other loyalty. There’s something awesome about listening to a person explain, simply and humbly, ‘These are the principles on which I have built my life, and contravening them constitutes a line I will not cross.’”

For more information and to book tickets, visit: stmartin-in-the-fields.org

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