Twenty-five years ago, Sue Talarico and her husband Gary were looking for a faith community in Naples. Sue had a painful experience in another congregation where the pastor would not commune her father because he was a Mason. Her sister, recognizing what Sue was looking for in a church, invited her to Emmanuel where Sue learned that “all sinners are welcome.”
In Sue’s words she “never knew a place where she met so many people who were so loving and open.” When she came to Emmanuel, she felt the Holy Spirit gave her an overwhelming feeling of belonging. “People here do what they say they will. You can feel the Holy Spirit come out of your pores. Pastor Steve Wigdahl is very special in my life. He baptized by kids and later he married them. He made many visits to see Gary when he was sick and in the hospital.”
“People here do what they say they will. You can feel the Holy Spirit come out of your pores.”
Sue was grateful for the support Emmanuel provided to her as Gary’s health declined. “When Gary got sicker, and I was the caretaker I felt so isolated and alone. Gary’s Stephen Minister was so special to both of us.” Sue felt safe attending church alone when Gary was not physically able to attend worship in his last years. As a widow, Sue remains active in Emmanuel’s Grief Group and works to support others in their own grief.
Today Sue attends the Alive Service with her children and grandchildren. “The Word of God keeps me coming back. I pray every day of my life that I will keep learning more about the Word. I always want to learn more.” Sue tries to live by the Sermon on the Mount. She loves Pastor Rick’s sermons because they keep teaching her more.
For over 25 years, the generosity of those who support the multiple ministries and communities of Emmanuel, have made it possible for Sue to experience the fullness of God’s love.