Supporters Who Left a Mark

Two longtime supporters and workers for Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries have concluded their service.

Gene Bishop and Tony Atkinson compiled a book of “God stories” about the impact of Connie Maxwell called “Someone Held My Hand.” They privately printed the book for the first runs and later turned to Courier Publishing for reprinting the book. Now, there are more than 17,000 copies in print.

The duo did not sell the book but gave it to people and encouraged them to give a donation to Connie Maxwell. They personally received no income from the sale of the books, but the children’s ministry was blessed by their efforts.

Bishop passed away in February at the age of 87. Almost to the very end of his life, he was promoting Connie Maxwell and his book. He grew up at Connie Maxwell and went to North Greenville after graduation from high school. His tuition was covered by Connie Maxwell, and he agreed to pay the ministry back when he completed his education. He began paying $25 a month and eventually paid off his debt. He became a trustee at Connie Maxwell, served with his wife, Pat, as cottage parents, and since 1986 was president of People and Solutions in Greer.

He wrote a book, “If Being Raised In An Orphanage Is So Bad, Why Did I Like It So Good.” His love for and loyalty to Connie Maxwell was evident to everyone who met him.

Atkinson left a career in education to become director of church relations at Connie Maxwell. He traversed the state speaking in churches and promoting the ministry’s work.

He was present at associational meetings, special events, and at almost every annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Bishop gave Atkinson one of the first copies of the book he had written about being raised in an orphanage. Atkinson had many stories about the blessings Connie Maxwell had bestowed on people. After praying together, they compiled the stories in a book, with the aim to inform people about the ministry of CMCM and to inspire them and help them in their walk with the Lord.

He retired in February at age 83, after 58 years of service to Connie Maxwell. In reference to the book he and Bishop produced, he said, “The contents of this book let us know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s blessings are and have been on this precious ministry to children.”

Both men impacted the lives of many people, especially children and families.