20297884-jpg

Photos by CONOR HUGHES | INDEX-JOURNAL

A donkey-driven carriage takes a group around the grounds of Connie Maxwell Baptist Church during a tour.


Groups were taken on a tour through history Friday on the grounds of Connie Maxwell Baptist Church.

For its 125th anniversary, Connie Maxwell put on candlelit tours of its grounds, which included carriage rides and skits pulled from the institution’s history.

“This is a big milestone for anybody,” said Stacy Boyce, a development officer at Connie Maxwell. “It’s not very common that organizations survive this long and we want to celebrate it. And given that we’re a nonprofit and have survived on the generosity of so many people for so many years makes it extra special.”

The event raised money for Connie Maxwell Children’s Home -- a residential childcare ministry of the South Carolina Baptist Convention for abused and neglected children.

“The tours give people a little bit of quality time here where the kids live and play and grow up,” Boyce said. “It gives them a little peek behind the curtain so they really get a better idea of what we do here with the kids and how we take these houses and turn them into homes.”

Connie Maxwell partnered with Wild Hare Productions to put on the performances. Robin Walenceus, an actress with Wild Hare, performed for the tour groups, and said she volunteered to help because she believes in the work Connie Maxwell does for children in need.

“I decided to come out tonight and participate in this particular performance because I really believe in what the children’s home does,” Walenceus said. “I’ve had family members who were raised in children’s homes, and they’ve had very positive experiences. I know the staff here is exceptional, and I believe in their goals and their values.”

Cindy Fowler, who attended the event with her husband, James, said she was excited to learn more about the organization.

“We saw the signs and all the activity and thought it would be nice,” she said. “I had known some children that did grow up out here.”

Tours will also be offered at the property from 6-7:50 p.m. today, with tours leaving every 10 minutes. The event is free, but donations are accepted.

“We have changed a lot through the years and we want to celebrate what we used to be as well as talk about what we are today and some of the things that haven’t changed,” Boyce said.

Contact staff writer Conor Hughes at 864-943-2511 or on Twitter@IJConorHughes.