St Andrews School Turi Chapel stands tall nearly 100 years on - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 12 February 2021

St Andrews School Turi Chapel stands tall nearly 100 years on


 If you want to see one of the beautiful chapels in the country, plan a trip to St Andrews School Turi in Molo.

The institution, which is celebrated its 90th anniversary last month, has transformed from a colonial entity to an international school with learners from 45 countries.

The chapel at the heart of the institution has stood the test of time. The school was founded by Peter and Jean Lavers – fondly referred as Ma and Pa – in 1931.

The wooden chapel has overcome extreme weather and other challenges, including an inferno at the school on the night of February 29, 1944.

St Andrew’s International School Turi

Inside the 85-year–old chapel at St Andrew’s International School Turi in Molo on February 3, 2021. It was built in 1936.

Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

On February 29, 1948, Governor Philip Mitchell arrived from Nairobi to reopen the school that had been rebuilt by Italian prisoners of war.

The chapel, which rests on a quarter of an acre and is less than 100 metres from the main school building, was untouched by the fire.

Unique atmosphere

It has been spared demolition, remaining the pillar of spiritual influence at St Andrews Turi.

“The chapel has been one of the main causes of the unique atmosphere and character of the school,” writes former headmaster Dick Drown.

Mrs Frankie Gichuru, the director of admissions and marketing at the institution, says the chapel was built in three years.


The entrance of St Andrew’s International School Turi in Molo, Nakuru County. 

Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

“Christian love and care is the rock on which St Andrews School was built,” Mrs Gichuru said.

The chapel is the place of worship and communion at the preparatory school.

It is also a symbol of God’s favour, teachers, workers and students say.

The building is canopied by fig trees, which shield the wooden roof from extreme weather conditions.

St Andrew’s International School Turi

Modern dormitories at St Andrew’s International School Turi in Molo.The school, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, was founded by Peter “PA” Lavers and his wife Jean Lavers  in 1931. 

Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

The chapel is ringed by flowers.

“Our chapel does not usually witness huge crowds as it has a capacity of 250. One can experience the tranquil environment and enjoy moments of peace and serenity,” Mrs Gichuru said.

There is an inscription on the lower left corner of the chapel at the main entrance.

“In grateful and affectionate memory of Peter ‘Pa’ Lavers. February 21, 1904 – May 4, 1985. Peter and Jean Lavers (Pa and Ma) founded this school in 1931,” it reads.

“They led it for 34 years and inspired its...traditions and ideals. To them, many owe so much of their childhood happiness, their sound education and faith in God. To God be the glory.”

The chapel has wooden interiors. The stained glass windows take one back to the colonial era. They are decorated with murals.

Moveable lectern stands

A T-shaped wooden moveable lectern stands on a parquet floor in front of the pulpit while bequest boards hang on the walls. Old photos give an idea of the age of the chapel.

Some benches have names of people who worshipped in the church.

St Andrews Turi

An airstrip at St Andrew’s International School Turi in Molo.

Francis Mureithi | Nation Media Group

The raised altar is marked by a cross and has benches reserved for the choir and clergy.

St Andrews School began with 15 pupils, mostly missionary children. It now has about 600 learners.

The school was handed to the government by the founders on June 3, 1963. The agreement was that it should be managed in trust by the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches.

Kenya School of Law CEO Kibet Mutai, Professor Mukami Wangai of Strathmore University, lawyer Jackline Lule, Col Richard Leakey and dental surgeon Sajida Pirani are among St Andrews School’s former pupils.

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