See all Guardian Angels here | The Guardian Angel Society honors organizations and people who, through their service and support, have made extraordinary commitments to those in our care.

Meet our 2020 Guardian Angels
Hugh and Lianne MacGregor

Nine years ago, Hugh and Lianne were inspired by a sermon they heard at University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill. That sermon was delivered by Bruce Stanley – and Methodist Home for Children has been at the top of this couple’s giving list ever since.

Hugh and Lianne give because they understand the challenges of the kids who come to us. They recognize that their support will open bright, productive futures for children who otherwise might fall to the margins. They give in a humble way and help in whatever way they can. Both Hugh and Lianne hail from Canada and make their home in Chapel Hill, where they’re active in their church and in planting a new Methodist church in South Durham. They have two sons, Ross and Rick, and they are awaiting the arrival of their first grandbaby who is, of course, another boy.

Stuart and Nelle Schantz

If the Schantzes had a family motto, it would have to be this … ALL IN. Nelle and Stuart are active members of Millbrook United Methodist Church. And when we say active, we mean Board of Trustees, Staff Parrish Committee, Sunday School teachers, volunteers. They are active at Ravenscroft, where their daughters Ella and Samantha go to school. And then there’s Methodist Home for Children – Nelle served on our Board of Directors first; now Stuart – and both have given their time for gala planning, stewardship, focus groups, marketing, governance, audit & finance, and mentoring of our college students.

Their leadership is exemplary. Nelle is a proud Wake Forest grad and has her MBA from Duke. She works in marketing at Fidelity Charitable. Stuart earned his bachelor’s from Northwestern and an MBA from University of Michigan. He is an entrepreneurial small business owner with corporate experience in procurement, contracts, finance, and human resources.

St. James United Methodist Church

We have a very special connection with this church – the support for our kids and families in Pitt County would not be the same without it. Years ago, under the leadership of pastor Gray Southern, St. James gave a “congratulations” gift to Methodist Home for Children in honor of Bruce Stanley when he started as our President and CEO. That tradition has continued every year and to this day thanks to encouragement of subsequent pastors, including Ben Alexander. Whenever we have called on them – the members of St. James, the Sunday School classes, the United Methodist Women and Men – they have never failed to step up. They open their doors and their hearts to us for foster care trainings, fundraising lunches, special meetings, and parties – and they are quite serious about taking care of our kids at Christmas. St. James United Methodist Church is a true community partner with us in serving vulnerable children and families in eastern North Carolina.

[accepting the Guardian Angel from Bruce Stanley are Ann Davis and Tommy Shaw]

Union United Methodist Church

This amazing church in Lillington has supported our ministry since 1993. But in 2014, something changed. The children of the church started giving to the children of Methodist Home for Children – and they have given every month since then.

It happened because one of our beloved Methodist Orphanage alumni is a longtime member of the church, and she shared with the congregation her story of growing up at the orphanage. Her name is Ruth Ann Thomas. Of course, Ruth Ann’s story ignited others in the church to give, and before we knew it, the children’s monthly $50 coin collection inspired the entire congregation to support Methodist Home with up to $1500 a month.

[accepting the Guardian Angel are pastor Rod Mullen with his wife Xia and Ruth Ann Thomas]

Jim and Sally Williford

Live. Laugh. Love. These three words describe this special couple, especially as they now enjoy retirement. Jim’s practical jokes and pure joy of life are well known to all of us at Methodist Home for Children – he was our chief financial officer for 31 years, overseeing our move from an orphanage in Raleigh to a statewide provider of services for vulnerable children and their families. Jim has written untold numbers of policies and procedures for the agency. He created a fiscal model with checks and balances, and he designed a supervisor training to retain excellent staff and apply best practices. He also was very successful at recruiting staff to sell biscuits at the State Fair as a fundraiser for local Methodist churches.

Through it all, Sally has been by Jim’s side – and an important member of our Methodist Home family. Many of our direct-care staff got to know Sally apart from Jim through the hours of training she led – as a nurse – on administering medication to children.

The support they’ve both given over the years cannot be measured. Their love for Methodist Home for Children is abundant. They attend Apex United Methodist Church and have been active in growing the church’s ministry to Hispanic families through Fiesta Cristiana. They live in Cary and have two grown children – Josh and Mary.