I remember saying, ‘What is this Pandora’s box that I’ve opened?!’

Victoria Bartling

Victoria Bartling, longtime member of St. Martin’s Adult Choir, was diagnosed at age of 47 with CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia). The odds against her survival were overwhelming.

I didn’t know how devastating it was until I went on the Internet that night and looked it up. And it said, “This is a terminal disease, a life expectancy of 3-5 years. There is some treatment with interferon, but the only thing that really seems to work right now is bone marrow transplant.”

And I remember saying – What? What is this Pandora’s box that I’ve opened?! Because all this stuff was just unbelievable.

I remember I came to St. Martin’s to make arrangements for my funeral and to find a spot in the columbarium and to construct my service. And during that time I talked to Ken and we talked about a couple of hymns – “Abide with Me” and a couple of anthems. I remember I wanted any money that would be gathered from a memorial to go to a second soprano, a professional singer, because we don’t have a professional in that section.

At the end of that Ken said, “What can we do for you?” And I said, “Well, I love choral music, and I don’t know that I have that much of it. If you could just lend me a few CD’s that would be great.”

And before I knew it, they were planning to make their own CD. Ken gathered with Allyson Harvey and Kate Maus and Cary [Nicholas] and others in the choir, and do you know what they did? They planned to have a concert for me in late June when I would be in the hospital and the proceeds from that concert would go toward renovations for our house. And this just brought me to tears – the very thought that they would gather together to support me in that way.

So the concert happened. But I wasn’t there. But I heard that it was beautiful and that it was hot. I heard those things. And the next day one of the group came up and brought the tape. And we listened to each song, each musical offering, and it was so beautiful. It just filled the [hospital] room with such solitude and such serenity and beauty. And really heartfelt, you could tell that a lot of feeling had gone into making this offering to me. I’m surprised that I didn’t wear the tape out, because I listened to it every day. I listened to that tape and a Rutter CD and those were the things that really consoled me.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.

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