Here I Stand, I Can Do No Other

2023’s St Martin-in-the-Fields Autumn Lecture Series, inspired by the celebrated words of Martin Luther during the Reformation in 1521, investigates those things in which we believe deeply – and for which we would be prepared to make a costly stand. Each of our lecturers address this question through their lives and perspectives. We hear from those who have lived for the things they believed in, as they offer insight, prophecy, challenge, controversy, hope, warning, courage and vision. These are people who have inspired and empowered but have also faced opposition and sometimes attack. Our 2023 lecture series addresses a divided world and a planet in crisis. Through these compelling and diverse voices it asks the question: ‘And where do you stand?’ What are the things that hold your life together, lie at the very core of all you are – for which you would be ready to offer your life?   

Revd Dr Sam Wells writes: ‘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. 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.’  

The phrase ‘nailing your colours to the mast’ relates to the seafaring practice of flying your national flag during combat. If the colours were damaged or obscured, the enemy would enquire if you had surrendered. To nail the colours to the mast was thus a statement that, for you, surrender was not an option. This autumn we have the privilege to listen to distinguished speakers articulating the principles from which nothing would persuade them to back down. It promises to be an exhilarating experience.  

The 2023 series took place at St Martin-in-the-Fields with a live audience, and were also live-streamed on the night. They are now available to watch online on Youtube.

In Partnership with 

2023 Lectures

Here I Stand: Reconciliation

Originally broadcast Wednesday 6 September 2023, 7pm

Archbishop Justin Welby, Su McClellan, Daniel Munayer

Here I Stand: On the Front Line in Ukraine

Originally broadcast Monday 18 September 2023, 7pm

Fr Vitaliy Novak, Lindsey Hilsum, Emma Graham-Harrison and Mike Wooldridge

Here I Stand: Martyrdom

Originally broadcast Monday 25 September 2023, 7pm

Tom Holland, Richard Carter

Here I Stand: My Name is Why?

Originally broadcast Monday 2 October 2023, 7pm

Lemn Sissay

Here I Stand: Films that Give Voice to the Voiceless

Originally broadcast Monday 16 October 2023, 7pm

Ken Loach

Here I Stand: Politics on the Edge

Originally broadcast Monday 23 October 2023, 7pm

Rory Stewart

Here I Stand: With God

Originally broadcast Monday 30 October 2023, 7pm

Sam Wells

Here I Stand: Death and Dying

Originally broadcast Monday 6 November 2023, 7pm

Katherine Sleeman, Rachel Clarke,  Amber Jeffrey, Angela Sheard (Chair)

Here I Stand: Women’s Advancement and Role in Tackling Climate Change

Originally broadcast Monday 20 November 2023

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations