The Rev. Dr. Nancy Hamlin Soukup, M.Div., M.A., D.Min. – Minister
Office phone: 401- 253-7288
My ministry flows along a river of faith and justice-seeking that is channeled through a longtime commitment to preaching, teaching, and pastoral care among God’s people. This river’s current has taken me to work in churches and on university campuses as well as the everyday places of life. In this context, I live ministry very expansively and see the possibility for extending God’s care and compassion within the Christian community, in the midst of interfaith relationships, and among those who are exploring their faith and spirituality.
My mentors for ministry were those who believed in the power of God’s transformative love for all people. They truly lived out Paul’s words from Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” These mentors would not be “conformed,” rather they constantly sought to “be transformed by the renewing” of both mind and heart. They taught me much about finding God not in the places of privilege but around the margins of the world. In so doing, they awoke in me Christ’s presence within the struggles for equality, peace, and justice. Because of these mentors, I applied and was accepted to the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA, after I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware. I also began a long road to ordination in 1979, which would test my call during the next thirty years. Ultimately, I left the Episcopal Church and joined the United Church of Christ in 2004. I was ordained in the United Church of Christ in November 2009 at Manning Chapel on the Brown University campus. Before my ordination, I was a writer/editor for centers and institutes, which focused on international, multiculture, and multireligious issues, both at Harvard and Brown Universities. I received my M.Div. from the Episcopal Divinity School in 1983, M.A. in European history (focusing on the history of human rights) from Boston College in 2010, and most recently a D.Min. from Hartford International University for Religion and Peace. I have done additional coursework at Harvard Divinity School, Brown University, and Andover Newton Theological School. Prior to arriving at First Congregational Church in Bristol, RI, I was a Program Coordinator at Brown’s Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life, the University Multifaith Chaplain at Roger Williams University, and the Interim Minister at Amicable Congregational Church in Tiverton, RI.
I live in Warwick, RI, and am married to the Rev. Dr. Dcn. Dorothy L. Brightman, a permanent deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. I have a passion for rowing, which I began to do nearly twenty years ago. I am a member of the Narragansett Boat Club on the Seekonk River in Providence, RI, and also row on the Barrington River.
Nikita Zabinski – Director of Music
Nikita Zabinski is a classically trained pianist, organist, composer and sound engineer. He earned his B.M. in Piano Performance from The Boston Conservatory (2012), and M.A. in Global Entertainment and Music Business from Berklee College of Music (2016). He is a seasoned and dynamic musician highly regarded for superior technical expertise and a passion for nearly all styles of music.
His Music Ministry career began in 2010 at Lime Rock Baptist Church, where he served as a collaborative pianist for 12 years. Nikita has performed in various locations throughout Boston, NYC, LA and Barcelona and has performed with the RI Philharmonic as well as smaller chamber ensembles. During his graduate studies, he worked for an independent record company based out of Valencia, Spain, where he worked as Content Creator and Producer. In 2020, Nikita arranged, recorded and assembled a virtual choir for The Rhode Island Youth Theatre, which was funded by the Rhode Island Council of the Arts and featured on WPRI news. In 2021, Nikita composed and recorded theme music for several podcast shows as well as productions put on by The Wilbury Theatre Group. In May 2022, his original piece, L’espoir, was debuted at Veterans Memorial Auditorium during The Annual Fundraising Gala Concert supporting the RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, featuring guest conductor Bramwell Tovey.
Currently, Nikita holds a position at The Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School where he is a piano and music theory faculty member.
Barbara Watts – Church Secretary
With her strong Christian family values, Barbara has been serving the Church since 2007 and is currently serving as Church Secretary. Whether it’s helping church members, church staff or the public in need, Barbara’s smiling face represents the face of the church.
Having grown up in Long Island, New York as one of four, Barbara currently lives in Newport, Rhode Island where she gets to enjoy her love for the outdoors including sailing, skiing and just generally the love of the ocean. Barbara is also a care giver to her and her daughter’s retired horse.
Glenn Donovan, Chair
Caroline Jacobus, Vice Chair
Amy Halt, Clerk
Sally Evans, Treasurer
Karen Satti, Deacon Rep
Jack Ringland, Facilities Rep
Paul Temple, Christian Ed Rep
Board of Deacons
Robert Evans, Chair