Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church on Marco Island celebrating its recognition as a ‘Blue Zone’

Published: February 8, 2022 6:01 PM EST
Updated: February 8, 2022 6:13 PM EST

Striving for a longer life through mind, body, and spirit, Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church on Marco Island is celebrating its new recognition as a “Blue Zone.” A place that promotes well-being and healthy lifestyle choices.

The church earned its certification by complying with the nine tenants of a Blue Zone.

Reverend Kathy Schillreff said it wasn’t that hard because committing to God and committing to yourself go hand in hand. “Jesus fed people, Jesus healed people, all of those things.”

Blue Zones focus on feeding, healing, and much more. The movement mimics the practices of people worldwide who live the longest, healthiest lives.

St. Mark’s is the first Blue Zone church on Marco Island.

“For some people eating better does bring them closer to God. You know what I mean? Or going for a walk on Marco Island on a beautiful day does bring them closer to God,” said Reverend Schillreff.

Blue Zones are about much more than eating and exercising. The group’s team of researchers identified seven other practices for long and healthy life.

One is “Purpose.” St. Mark’s purpose is to raise money to do laundry for people who can’t afford it.

Cathy Weis runs Laundry Love for the church. She said, “I believe we find God, we find Jesus in those acts of kindness that are given toward others as well as acts of kindness that are given to us.”

Katie Gotzman said, “God created everything, and we’re lucky enough to be part of that creation.”

Gotzman helps tend the church garden. The garden helps the church keep up with the Blue Zone’s tenant of a mostly plant-based diet.

It also helps with a sense of belonging and a sense of community.

“I’m a widow, and I was isolated. Zoom is pretty good too. But this is real. This is real,” said Gotzman.

If you would like to learn more about Blue Zones and the tenants that encompass it, you can do so by clicking here.