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Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to install first woman of color as bishop

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: The Peduto administration has proposed creating an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to city council, which could expand services the Welcoming Pittsburgh initiative has put in place; Rev. Dr. Ketlen Solak will soon be installed as the first woman and person of color to become a bishop in the Pittsburgh Episcopal Diocese; and a look at how the disrupted global supply chain is affecting local breweries and distilleries.

Pittsburgh city council to consider a permanent Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 
(0:00 - 5:35)

The Peduto administration has unveiled a plan to create a city Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The office would support Pittsburgh’s growing immigrant population and help aid refugee resettlements.

“Census data shows that while Pittsburgh’s overall population dropped by about a percent in the last decade, its Hispanic population grew by 67% and its Asian population grew by about 47%,” says WESA reporter Kiley Koscinski.

This office is meant to be an expansion of the 2014 “Welcoming Pittsburgh Initiative,” which has established a multicultural unit in the public safety department, and is currently in the process of reviewing, updating, and translating city documents from English into Spanish, Burmese, Arabic, Swahili, and Nepalese.

“As it’s proposed, the office would work with partner organizations to communicate with the city’s immigrant and refugee populations and serve the needs that come out of those conversations,” says Koscinski. “It would be able to inform these groups about benefits that they could qualify for and advise city departments about how to best serve these communities.”

Council will consider the proposal in the coming weeks, after which it will be brought forward for discussion and a vote.

Rev. Dr. Ketlan Solak makes history as the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
(5:41 - 17:41)

This weekend, the Rev. Dr. Ketlen Solak will be ordained as a bishop of the Episcopal Church at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside and installed as the ninth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh at a Sunday service at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh.

She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in this role in Pittsburgh.

“To me, it’s a very positive step forward it seems in our lives as Christians, our lives as people, civic communities, and people of faith,” says Rev. Solak.

Solak says she felt called to this diocese, and she comes to Western Pennsylvania following her tenure in Wilmington, Delaware.

“When I looked at the profile of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, I truly felt a sense of kinship, and I felt that what was being described as the person they were seeking very much reflected who I was.”

As the city faces widening disparities, Solak says she intends to support not only churches in the diocese with their ministry, but other communities of faith, and serve as a “bridge-builder” among people.

Supply bottlenecks are challenging the local liquor industry
(17:46 - 22:30)

Supply bottlenecks have affected every corner of the economy, even bottles themselves. Aluminum cans are also hard to come by.

90.5 WESA’s An-Li Herring reports it’s a big problem for local breweries and distilleries.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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