CANTON — It starts with cupcakes and culminates in an intergenerational celebration.

For more than a decade — at least 15 years, Carol A. Zimmerman estimated — the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canton has hosted a birthday party after a Sunday worship service. This year will be no different, and yet, more different than ever.

For “Everybody’s Birthday,” the church’s religious education staff and about a dozen volunteers baked some 200 seasonally themed cupcakes delivered Friday to 80 congregants around the county.

Ms. Zimmerman, the church’s religious education director, said the idea is to offer a connective experience “so young and old can sit at the table together.”

“This provides an opportunity for people to get to know each other in a casual setting — especially in a spiritually casual setting,” Ms. Zimmerman said. “We’re not coming around the table to talk about justice work in the world. We’re coming around the table to talk about you and your day.”

The party, she added, is really about fostering “full-person relationships.”

Volunteers typically bake whole cakes and the UU congregation convenes after worshiping. A Zoom meeting room and several breakout rooms will serve as this year’s virtual table.

The Zoom party follows a virtual intergenerational service, which is open to all people of all ages, and children stay for its duration rather than forgoing the second half for religious education activities.

Now a full year into the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, connecting is ever-important, Ms. Zimmerman said. Families in the UU congregation, she said, have sacrificed visits for public health, leaving children, parents and grandparents on their own.

With a four seasons theme, donated cupcakes were adorned with birds nests, beaming suns and cool winter frosting. Edible joy was gifted to a 2-year-old, a 106-year-old woman in Canton and everyone in between. The village’s Price Chopper donated paper bags for deliveries.

Until further notice, all UU services are taking place virtually. Sunday worship begins at 10:30 a.m. over Zoom — the link and instructions for joining are posted to uucantonny.org. This week’s service centers on anti-racism, using Tiffany Jewell’s best-selling book “This Book is Anti-Racist” as a starting point.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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