Two new Chapel windows at Grimwade House

Mr Desmond (Des) Anderson is one of the School’s dearest friends. A former member of School Council, he has been generous in his service and other contributions to the School over many years.

Most recently, Des provided the funding for two new stained-glass windows in the Annie Smith Campbell Memorial Chapel of St Andrew, the Apostle at Grimwade House. These joyful additions complete a set of five windows on the south wall of the Chapel representing the life and ministry of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection.

The glorious quintuplet comprises, from left to right:

  • the Annunciation and Birth of Christ (1977)
  • Jesus is Baptised (2021)
  • the Centenary Window depicting Jesus blessing the children, commissioned in celebration of Grimwade House’s centenary year and also a gift from Des Anderson (2018)
  • Jesus Calms the Storm (2021)
  • the Crucifixion and Resurrection (2013)

Each of the five windows was created by acclaimed artist Mr David Wright OAM (OM 1966). Expositions about the two new windows, written by David, are provided below. You can read an interview with David here.

“I wanted to create a sense of wonder for the children who would spend five or six years with these windows,” David says. “I hope they might see new things in them over time, and that they will begin to ask questions and start conversations. I also hope I’ve created a sense of the immediacy of the spiritual in everything we do.”

Common themes run through the magnificent panorama. The comfort of Jesus and his holding of us all are particularly evident, as is the embedding of the gospel in the Australian story through the use of colour, symbols and emblems.

“Our children are fortunate to be able to celebrate and explore their spirituality in such a wonderful space,” says Mr Royce Helm, Head of Grimwade House. “We are very privileged to have art of this calibre in our School. David’s thoughtful and captivating works will resonate with children for centuries.”

Royce also recognised the kindness of Des Anderson in remarking: “The transformation of the Chapel would not have been possible without the foresight and kindness of Des Anderson. I thank him on behalf of the Grimwade House community.”

David also created a window on the south wall of the Chapel – the Ruth Window – in 1997. In addition, he worked with students to create the Great Fish Fuse window in the Cordner Physical Education Centre in 1990.

A Dedication and Blessing of the two new stained-glass windows was held on 9 March 2021.

Exposition: Jesus is Baptised (Matthew 3:13-17)

The theme for this window is baptism, Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist but also the baptism available to all of us, given by Christ, the new life offered by God through the Holy Spirit.

Locusts and wild bees and honey in the comb are shown, the food of John the Baptist in the wilderness. The bees are a universal symbol of hard work producing sweet results.

At the top of the panel the Holy Spirit descends upon Christ like a cloud of feathers. At baptism, from the scallop shell, itself a symbol of pilgrimage, flow three streams of water emblematic of our baptism in God the Father, God the Son and in God the Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross is made on the forehead to show that we are henceforth Christ’s for ever and the cross is a presage to the Crucifixion and Resurrection window.

The banksia incarnates the baptism story in Australia and its flowers stand for the baptismal candles.

New life is symbolised by the water flowing through the landscape, nourishing the plants and providing life to the fish in the stream. We are also commanded by Christ to be “fishers of men.

Exposition: Jesus Calms the Storm (Mark 4:35-41)

The theme for this window is Jesus stilling the storm.

It portrays the fear of being overwhelmed by the chaos of the storm, the wind and waves looming like monsters from our nightmares. Through faith in Christ, we are offered calm in the present and hope for the future.

Jesus embraces and protects the disciples by stilling the storm. He is their hope and He urges them to have faith in Him. Christ embodies the boat and, in turn, the boat represents the church with its mast a cross, our community of support.

In this window, hope and faith are symbolised by the rays of sunshine, which falling on the raindrops produce the rainbow, God’s covenant with us and promise for the future.

In designing this window, the artist imagined the situation where a staff member sits with a child whose life has become chaotic and that the symbols shown are useful in calming and giving the child hope and faith for the future.