Meet our Staff
Jenny Rankin, Interim Minister
On August 15, 2018. we welcomed the Rev. Jenny M. Rankin as our Interim Senior Minister. Jenny will work with the Board and the Transition Team to help the congregation accomplish the 5 interim ministry goals recommended for a congregation in transition between settled ministers.
Jenny was born in Boston and raised as a Unitarian Universalist at King’s Chapel. She graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in European Cultural Studies and earned her MDiv at Harvard Divinity School. Ordained in 1988, she was Acting University Chaplain at Tufts University before serving congregations in Hopedale, Hingham and Cohasset as an interim minister. Called to First Parish in Concord in 1997, Jenny served as Minister for 15 years. Since then, she has returned to interim ministry, serving communities in Gloucester, Lexington and Franklin.
Jenny loves to learn, especially in community with others. She has taught and lectured on Transcendentalism, Emerson and Margaret Fuller and has led walking tours in Boston and Concord as well as overseas in Europe. She has also taught classes on spiritual autobiography, the contemplative tradition, and creativity as a spiritual practice. Jenny has a deep interest in Celtic spirituality and has travelled to Scotland and Ireland in search of sacred sites. She is currently enrolled in a Certificate program in Spiritual Formation at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, a three- year summer program.
She is married to writer and photographer Rich Higgins and they make their home in Concord, Massachusetts. Jenny and Rich have three children, two daughters and a son. And a beautiful golden retriever named Finn!
Rev. Jenny can be contacted directly at:
Margit Griffith, Director of Religious Education
Margit moved to Lincoln in June 2008, “tried out” First Parish that September… and never left. After a few years of “church shopping” while living in another town, she was delighted to have found her “just right fit” within walking distance of her home in Lincoln. Having raised two children through First Parish’s Religious Education program – and volunteered in FPL’s religious education classroom some of those years – Margit is honored to bring her experience and education as a counselor, corporate customer service professional and teacher to her role as Director of Religious Education. She feels it is truly a blessing to serve the spiritual community she loves.
Ms. Griffith can be contacted directly at:
Gert McDermott, Administrator
Gert McDermott grew up in Newtonville, the eldest child of Italian immigrants. After high school she settled down with her husband to raise a son, and took a job with Seaside Associates, a non-profit organization in Weston. She remained there for 11 years, assuming the role of Office Manager as the organization grew. During that time she earned an Office Management Certificate from Mt. Ida College.
After leaving Seaside, Gert spent three years with a business in Concord before returning to the non-profit world by joining the staff of The First Parish in October 1997. She enjoys serving the church community, and when she’s in the office, her door is always open to visitors.
As a member of the local chapter of the Association of UU Administrators, Gert has served as a co-chair and is currently the treasurer.
Gert and her husband live in the Nashoba Valley, and their son lives nearby. She spends part of each summer touring the nation on her motorcycle, and enjoys reading, baking bread, and doing home repairs and renovations.
Ms. McDermott can be contacted directly at:
Ian Watson, Music Director & Organist
Ian Watson came to First Parish in September 2012. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he is a top church musician and educator, with wide-ranging experience embracing novice, advanced and professional levels. His most recent church post was the Music Director at Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, MA. He is also an internationally-known, dynamic, multi-faceted music professional who maintains an active performing and recording career in collaboration with major artists and ensembles as an organist, pianist, harpsichordist and conductor in both standard and historically-informed practices.
Ian is currently Associate Conductor of the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra, Artistic Director of Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra, and Music Director for the Connecticut Early Music Festival.
Mr. Watson can be contacted directly at:
Kathy Harvey-Ellis, Communications Coordinator
Kathy Harvey-Ellis came to First Parish in Lincoln in November 2015, following nearly two years as the Communications Director of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association. Prior to that, she worked as a marketing associate for a performing arts school, a recruiting firm, and other companies. She lives with her family south of Boston.
Ms. Harvey-Ellis can be contacted directly at:
Mike Richards, Sexton
Mike came to First Parish in Lincoln in February 2016. Mike also works full-time as a locksmith, after graduating from the North Bennet Street School’s Security Technologies program. Before that, he spent seven years working in facilities maintenance. Mike lives with his wife and two daughters in Greater Boston, and spends part of his free time coaching a girls’ basketball team.