First Congregational church has faith in the power of well-being.

First Congregational United Church of Christ was quick to adopt Blue Zones Project best-practices. As a result, this small church is having a big impact on the health and well-being of its congregants and the community.



Fort Worth’s First Congregational United Church of Christ may be small, but it’s making a big impact on well-being within its congregation and in the community, thanks in part to Blue Zones Project.

Located in southwest Fort Worth, the progressive church draws only about 150 attendees each week. But those members embrace trying new things and quickly made its enthusiasm for Blue Zones Project apparent. First Congregational Church became a Blue Zones Project Approved faith-based organization in March 2017, only a few months after committing to the goal. As a result, some of the many well-being and Blue Zones Project best practices now in place at the church include:

  • Once a month, church services include yoga, with an instructor leading the congregation in stretches and meditation. Standing and movement are also encouraged during gatherings.
  • Sunday School incorporates a Blue Zones Project challenge curriculum. 
  • Plant-based and vegan food options are available at all gatherings and meetings. 
  • The church hosts a monthly “Sharing Soul Food Sunday” where the food and values of different cultures are explored. Many of the dishes meet the Blue Zones Healthy Dish Guidelines, and a majority of recipes are plant-based.
  • Congregants are encouraged to downshift and move naturally in the church’s beautiful labyrinth throughout the year, not just during Lent. 

Under the leadership of Senior Pastor Lee Ann Bryce, the small congregation strives to have a large and visible presence throughout the community. In that aspect, Blue Zones Project’s emphasis on purpose and volunteering as a catalyst for better well-being was a perfect match for the church. In the past few years, member volunteerism has increased by 30 percent, largely as a result of the church offering more opportunities for members to serve the community—one of the organization’s core values. First Congregational also opened its space to the community, making it available for picnics, pet adoptions, cooking demonstrations, and rehearsals. 

Tracy Hanna, a congregant and volunteer at First United Church, said Blue Zones Project aligned well with the church’s core values. “We really enjoyed the focus on purpose and volunteerism,” she added. “It’s who we are and what we do.”