The Kirkby Window


East ambulatory - The window was unveiled at the Foundation Day Chapel Service on 13 March 2009 in the presence of Reverend Kirkby's family, pupils of the College, members of the College Council and of the Old Kingswoodian Club.


1 Corinthians 9:26

“I run straight for the goal with purpose in every step”

This scripture was selected in careful consideration of Rev. Howard Kirkby’s life’s calling and passion for athletics.

Rev Howard Kirkby was called as a Methodist minister to Kingswood College as its Chaplain.  To this calling, he dedicated endless hours not only during the Religious Education Classes, but on a one-to-one basis with the countless children that came under his influence.  Rev Kirkby was not only instrumental in the design and building of the Kingswood Memorial Chapel, but during his lifetime he was the ‘Custodian’ of maintaining the original ideas behind many traditions that became part and parcel of the Memorial Chapel.  Rev Kirkby also held athletics close to his heart, and spent many hours on the athletics fields training children,  as well as organizing and running athletics at Kingswood College.

This scripture embodies not only his deep faith but also acts as a metaphor for the way in which we ‘run the race of life’ as Christians.

The window consists of the following elements:

Top Centre:  The Scalloped shell with the cross in the centre 
This is a symbol of the Methodist Church.  It is encompasses a yellow disc which in turn is encircled by a purple strip. 

1. The yellow disc symbolizes the light and wholeness that God brings into our life.
2.   Purple traditionally symbolizes sovereignty and as such has been used to symbolize the   Sovereign power of God in our lives.
3. The position of these elements is intended to convey the message that, above all, we fall under the power of the Cross, and because of the message of salvation we are all children of God. 
4. Emanating out from this central shape are radiating lines.  These symbolize the Good News of Salvation that can only be spread throughout the world if we take up the call to ‘Run the Race’.

Background Centre:  The Memorial Chapel

1.    Rev Kirkby spent much of his energy and time working on the vision, plans, building and furnishing of the Memorial Chapel. He worked with passion and conviction and his vision of the end product came into fruition during his calling to ‘feed the souls’ of Kingswood College. 


It was from the Memorial Chapel that he read from the Word of God.  It was from here that he sowed the seeds of life into the souls of countless young and fertile lives. 


The Memorial Chapel reminds us of the Old Kingswoodians who lived and died for freedom and peace – not only for our World, but also for South Africa. 
4. As this Memorial window is being sponsored by the Old Kingswoodian Club, it reinforces the relationship between Rev Kirkby and the OK Club.

Background Left:  Jacaranda Tree 

1.     The Jacaranda Tree is a lovely reminder that while many children may have their lives and faith ‘rooted’ at Kingswood College, they themselves like the Jacaranda are not indigenous to South Africa.  So, on one level the tree is talking about Kingswood being a home for many non-South Africans, but it is also talking about how even though we may not belong in a specific place, we find home to be among those who have the same values and faith. 
2. The Jacaranda has also been displayed in full spring blossom.  This makes a symbolic reference to the youth and beauty of the children who fill the school.  They are in the first flush of their lives and will take into the world the many deep truths that are imparted to them whilst learning beneath the boughs of these sturdy trees. 
3. Present also are blossoms that have fallen on the ground.  This is a reminder of our mortality - and that we need to carry our faith through all the seasons of our lives.

Background Right:  Kingswood Flag

1.   This needs little explanation, other than to once more reinforce the link between the School, the Chapel and the OK Club.


1.   The Children run from the Memorial Chapel towards the foreground.  They have received the Words of Life and run out into the world. 
2.    Two of Rev Kirkby’s passions have been incorporated into the composition.  The first is his love for and service to God, the Methodist Church and Kingswood, and the second is Athletics.  The circle outside the Chapel lent itself well in bringing these two elements together compositionally.
3. Rev Howard Kirkby:  Stands outside the Chapel gates with his Bible tucked under his arm, watching with a smile as the children ‘run straight to the goal with purpose in every step’.  He has done his job, and this is testified by the numerous OKs who have paid tribute to the influential part he has played in their lives.
4.  This pose was taken from a photograph of Rev Kirkby at the opening ceremony of Kirkby House.
5.  Diverse figures of Children:  The group of children running towards the viewer represents all children, past and present who have come through the gates of Kingswood College.  New Bugs become Old Kingswoodians.  We are a multicultural school, with an International student body, and this is clearly represented.  The children run with determination, yet with a quite peace. 
6. The Children are all running with their eyes looking up and out.  They cannot close their eyes or they will stumble and fall.  By hearing and taking to heart the teachings from the ‘Rev’ and by taking into their lives the Holy Spirit, their sight will be clear and they will have nothing to hide from.
7. The Green grass and demarcated tracks make a direct reference to not only an athletics track, but also that as the children run out from the chapel, towards their future they need to keep ‘on track’.  So in a sense it is a ‘visual pun’.  They need to keep on the safe and narrow path in order to maintain their integrity and moral values.
8.  Bible Verse: The verse occupies the space on the inside of the ‘track’ or circle.  It stands alongside the runners and assumes a place of great importance, as it is this that we all need to understand – the race may not be easy, it may not be what we planned it to be.  It may be indifferent, it may be exciting, it may dangerous…whatever the race of our lives is – if we keep our eyes on the end – on our ultimate goal – that of eternal life through salvation – then no matter the nature of the race we will receive our reward.

Foreground right:  Memorial Shield

1.    This is a direct reference to Rev. Kirkby’s involvement with athletics.  The shield also refers to ‘races that have been won’.  The ultimate goal as followers of Christ is to win eternal life through the salvation of our souls.  It is appropriate that the ‘Memoriam’ be placed inside this shield.  The ‘Memoriam’ is as follows “In honour of Rev Howard Kirkby who ‘Ran the race. Kept the Faith and Reached his goal” presented by the OK Club 2008.

Decorative Border

1. The decorative elements that act as a border refer to the Kingswood Colours – they also esoterically make reference to the pillars that upheld the Lintel of Solomon’s Temple.  Solomon being a King of great Wisdom, the hope is that in our Memorial Chapel and school, our students will gain insights that will lead to wisdom which in turn will stand firm and true during all the days of their lives.

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