Rev. Petra Thombs is our new minister, here at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau.
She was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest child of John (Trinidadian) and Lillian (African American and Cherokee heritage) Vilabrera. Both were active in community and civic improvement; the family worked diligently to support electing Shirley Chisholm to Congress. In her youth, Rev. Petra was active in her Catholic parish of St. Ignatius.
Her undergraduate degree is from Fordham University, and her master’s degrees are from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in Special Education; Bank Street College of Education in Supervision and Administration; and Union Theological Seminary, where she received her Master’s of Divinity. She retired from her 32-year career in the NYC Department of Education before attending seminary. Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the Ramapough Lenape Community Center and continue there as an Educational Consultant.
Rev. Petra turned to Unitarian Universalism in 2002, and became a member of Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation at White Plains, New York. As Chairperson of In the Spirit of Truth, addressing racial justice issues, she brought the annual Kwanzaa celebration to central White Plains for accessibility to the African American community and worked to create a collaboration of community stakeholders as partners, resulting in a flourishing event for 14 years. In 2005 she introduced Juneteenth services to the congregation in an annual summer service. Rev. Petra has participated in Beloved Conversations and supported the 8th Principle, which calls for us to work actively to build a Beloved Community, accepting multiculturalism and ending white supremacy in ourselves and our institutions. Ordained by her home congregation in May 2021, she continues to focuses on informing communities about the Doctrine of Discovery, advocating for Indigenous rights and healing Mother Earth.
She enjoys writing poetry and creating arts and crafts. Rev. Petra and her husband Bernie have been married for 41 years and reside in Valhalla, NY. Their sons are Benjamin and Matthew, they have a grandson named Finn and a cat named Esteban.