Marilyn Thomack grew up in the Christian faith, and is so grateful for her parents’ influence in her life. She and her husband, Will, raised three sons and lived in Wisconsin until their retirement.


When Marilyn and Will moved to Naples in 1997, they learned about Emmanuel from their friends, June and Lile Raber, members at the time. Marilyn remembers that time very vividly, and of how welcomed they felt at Emmanuel. They enjoyed the music at the worship services and listening to the sermons, which inspired them to reach out to others. Marilyn recalls she was excited about “so many opportunities to serve”—which is exactly what she and Will did.


Marilyn was a teacher in her earlier career, and Emmanuel gave her the chance to share these teaching skills. She was always willing to teach a Bible Study and looked forward to assisting in the many circle meetings with the women of Emmanuel. She was involved in WELCA (Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America). In fact, for years, WELCA sponsored a “Taste Luncheon” to help out the students at Grace Place. Many ladies of the church would prepare a beautiful luncheon in the Family Life Center. The proceeds of this annual event went directly to help the boys and girls at Grace Place. Marilyn recalls giving this yearly luncheon a name: “A Taste of Grace.” And it was indeed a “taste of grace”— of grace and love from Emmanuel being poured out upon the children of Grace Place.

“So many opportunities to serve”

Both Marilyn and Will were very involved as ushers at Emmanuel, and continued being active until Will’s death in 2016. Marilyn appreciates the love and support the members of Emmanuel gave her at this time. She is so thankful to part of a “family” where you know you belong, and where others care and pray for you.


Marilyn is one of the first “Faces of Emmanuel” you will see if you attend the 9:00 Traditional service. She is a combination Usher / Greeter (hence the term, “Grusher”!), and she loves welcoming people to worship every Sunday morning. Marilyn enjoys reaching out to others, saying, “It gives me a chance to see people and help them if I can.” Marilyn always greets people with a smile, and gives them all the information they need about the worship service that day.


Marilyn also fits in the time to serve as Lector in the Sunday morning services.


Marilyn feels blessed by Pastor Rick’s education classes and both Pastor Steve and Pastor Rick’s wonderful sermons. Emmanuel is so blessed to have Marilyn as one of the “Faces of Emmanuel.” And Marilyn feels blessed to be a part of Emmanuel. To God be the Glory!

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