The Peterhouse Boys chapel was built along the lines of Coventry Cathedral in England and was named after the Apostle, St Peter, whose Patronal Festival is commemorated on the 1st of August. It has the school motto, “Conditur in Petra” – “Founded on Rock”- carved in marble outside the Chapel over the Great West Door, from our Lord’s words to Peter, “You are Peter and upon this rock will I build my Church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it”. These words from Matthew 16:18 have been carved in the three National Languages of Zimbabwe, Shona, English and Ndebele, on granite, fronting the wall below the Chapel.
The foundation stone was laid by the first Archbishop of Central Africa, and one of the school’s founders, Edward Francis Paget, in November 1956. The Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Mashonaland in November 1958.
The Chapel seats over 600 and is fitted with an organ; the small pipes in the range were brought into the country by ox wagon in the late 1890s with the full organ being installed in 1966.
Four services are held each week on Wednesdays, alternate Thursdays where hymn singing takes place, Fridays and Sundays. The normal Sunday services are based around the Anglican Services of Eucharist, Matins or Evensong.
The Chaplain coordinates Chapel services with the assistance of a Chapel Committee and although Peterhouse is an Anglican Church School, it recognises that the pupil body is dynamic, has members of different beliefs and pupils who come from different denominational backgrounds, but understands the essential need for a spiritual grounding in developing a strong educational background for all their pupils, which is why all boys are expected to attend their corporate worship.
The Peterhouse Service Book, originally put together by the Founding Rector, Fred Snell (who wrote the School Prayer), is Anglican in its content. In keeping with the cultivation of traditional values, the Hymn Books used are the ‘English Hymnal’ and ‘Hundred Hymns for Today’.
Confirmation classes are conducted in the second and third terms by the Chaplain. At the end of the year the Bishop of Harare is invited to confirm candidates from Peterhouse Boys, Peterhouse Girls and from our village chapels.
Christian Fellowship group meets every Friday night for praise, worship and teaching. Various prayer meetings are held throughout the week, often in the early hours of the morning and we try to be involved with as many projects within the community as possible.
In 2004, Mr Chris Paterson and Revd. Dr Alan Megahey set about raising funds in memory of relatives and friends who had contributed to Peterhouse Boys. They were inspired by the great West Window in the St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town installed in 2001 and created by Jacques Loire, of Chartes, France whose family has been working in stained glass for three generations.
Jacques was approached by Chris Paterson, Petrean and school benefactor, and with his wife, he visited Zimbabwe and Peterhouse Boys and gladly accepted the commission.
The glass, called “dalle”, is much thicker than normal and is not cut but shaped by chipping; an original technique which adds vitality and depth to the colour. It is set in epoxy resin and reinforced by metal, becoming an integral part of the structure. The symbolism is rich in colour and varied, and is dominated by the figure of our Patron Saint, Peter, with his fisherman’s net, the prow of a boat, in the shape of a Bishop’s crook against the calm waters of Kariba, and the turbulent Victoria Falls. Beside Peter’s hand, raised in blessing, are the symbols of Peterhouse, the cross, the martyr’s crown and the gold cockerels. Below is Parrot Rock at Ruzawi.
The ‘moline’ cross of Peterhouse contrasts with the ‘crosslet’ of Springvale and the cross ‘potent’ of Ruzawi in the bottom panel. Both these schools were founded by Canon Robert Grinham. Peter’s two keys are seen near his lower hand. Visitors are encouraged to identify Zimbabwe’s flora and fauna, the greens and gold of her produce, the National Emblem, the Zimbabwe Bird, against the colours of the national flag: green, gold, red and black. Above representations of our local rock art (San people, animals and a msasa tree) rise the contours of Hwedza mountain, visible from outside the chapel looking South. The chevron pattern, symbol of the famous “Zimbabwe Ruins”, is visible on both sides. The window was completed in time for the Dedication Service in the Great Court, on 3rd November 2005, as the culmination of our Golden Jubilee year. The memorial window will shine inwards to illuminate our faith and outwards as a statement of the school’s values for many years to come.
In 2015 another window at the North of the Chapel behind the Altar was installed.
Up to two Mission Weeks are held each year with visiting speakers, some from abroad. With missionaries staying in the boarding Houses during the Week there is much interaction and fellowship. These Mission Weeks are extremely popular and the voluntary nightly services are well attended by both pupils and staff alike.