LIMA — It’s been 10 years since Fayne Wise retired as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.
During his time in Lima he formed a musical group at the church he called the Wise Angels.
Sunday night the Wise Angels got back together for a memorable night in honor of Pastor Wise and to raise money for the annual Debs and Gents Cotillion, which helps selected high school students receive $1,000 each for college.
“When I first started pastoring here 38 years ago, we saw the need to do some things to raise some money for scholarships,” Wise said. “I was really slow to learn. They had degrees of your learning abilities. I was always the lowest one and so, therefore, people didn’t pay much attention to me but I also knew that I could learn a lot by listening to other people or by looking at things and I knew that were kids in our community who had the same problems.”
Bringing the Wise Angels back together was special to Lekesha Durr, who was a third-generation Wise Angel.
“This is my home. That’s my pastor. He became the pastor here when I was nine. I will be 49 in two months,” Durr said.
Durr even benefited from Wise’s scholarship program.
“I benefited from the scholarship fund and the Debs and Gents for Christ. I was in it when it was the Debutantes for Christ before they added the Gents because I was in the very second year that they had it, which was in 1989,” Durr said.
Ivy Allen, mother of Lekesha Durr, is also a member of the Wise Angels.
“Well, this is exciting for us because we get to see our pastor again. We get to have music for everyone but the reason for being here is to raise money. We always raise money for the young people that were going to college and it means so much to us,” Allen said.
Dumeka Bagley joined the Wise Angels around the turn of the century and organized the reunion concert Sunday night.
“It’s just been a continuous journey and since Pastor Wise retired we hadn’t been together for several years. So I just thought this would be an awesome time to honor him for all the hard work he’s put into having the Wise Angel concerts,” Bagley said.
This 33rd annual Debs and Gents Cotillion will begin at 6 p.m. March 14 at Veterans Memorial Civic Center. The cost is $30 for adults and $15 for students. For details, call 419-223-7606.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.