John Nichols graduated from Dickinson College and Meadville/Lombard at the University of Chicago from which he received a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1969. While in Chicago he studied with Martin Marty, Daniel Boorstin, Elisabeth Kubler Ross, Karl Nighswonger and Henry Nelson Wieman.
After graduation he served the First Parish in Canton, MA, the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, IL and, for twenty-three years, the Unitarian Society of Wellesley Hills, MA. He left Wellesley Hills in the year 2000, to serve as an interim minister to twelve different congregations concluding with The First Parish in Lincoln.
John is married to Nancy Falor Nichols. They are parents of two adult children and five grandchildren.
Director of Religious Education
Ruth is new to First Parish in Lincoln but not to religious education. She previously served U.U. congregations in Ridgewood, N.J. and downtown Boston. Ruth first became involved in religious education because of her then young sons’ fascination with the sand table in the RE classroom at her first congregation. That led to volunteer teaching, committee work and eventually to Meadville Lombard Theological School and a career in religious education.
She lives in Cambridge, MA with her very spoiled dog. She enjoys reading, knitting, and walks in the woods with her dog. She considers her devotion to the Boston Red Sox to be a part of her personal spiritual practice.
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.
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 principal keyboard player with the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra and Artistic Director of Arcadia Players Baroque Orchestra. During his first year at First Parish, he initiated a concert series which has been quite successful and has increased the church’s visibility in the community.