Bishop Dennis J. McMurray was honored for his leadership in the church and in the community, and named 2022 GIANT Among Giants during a ceremony on Saturday.
McMurray is the senior pastor at Renaissance Church of God in Christ of Grand Rapids, saluted as a spiritual visionary who brings an array of theological, business, management and financial expertise to his ministry.
“Bishop McMurray’s intellectual depth, unwavering love of family, pastoral service, and advocacy for justice exemplifies the core ethos of servant-leadership,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Grand Rapids Community College’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “His contributions to the Grand Rapids community are immeasurable.”
The 39th Annual GIANT Awards and Banquet returned after a two-year hiatus, commemorating the stellar contributions of Grand Rapids leaders and organizations.
GRCC since 1983 has hosted the awards recognizing exceptional leaders who shape the history, quality of life, and culture of the Grand Rapids community. Each award is named after a historical local “giant” whose dedicated service, advocacy, and activism are memorialized through honorees.
Now in its 30th year, Renaissance is a progressive 21st century ministry that influences humanity globally through local church ministries and national/international television, radio programs and virtual platforms.
As a social activist, McMurray has provided leadership and has been a catalyst for many social change movements and organizations. He was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Clergy Task Force for the State of Michigan, and is a member of the Community Board of Directors for Spectrum Health.
McMurray served on the state Community Corrections Board, the National Board of Bethany Christian Services, Kent County Community Mental Health and Spectrum Health Executive Patient & Advisory Board.
He was the recipient of the Religious Life GIANT Award and the Who’s Who Award in Black Grand Rapids by the Black Chamber of Commerce of Detroit Michigan.
Professionally, McMurray has had a successful corporate career in the areas of sales, marketing, finance and management. His secular career has been in the areas of aerospace and industrial sales, finance and management and entrepreneurship.
Additional 2022 honorees are:
- Floyd Skinner Justice Award: Adam C. Sturdivant, partner, Drew Cooper & Anding.
- Walter Coe Public Service Award: Shellie Cole-Mickens, founder and executive director, Our House of Blessings.
- W.W. Plummer Humanitarian Award: Nikeidra Battle-DeBarge, CEO and co-founder, New Destiny Pathways, Inc.
- Ethel Coe Humanities Award: Henry Sapp, CEO, Better, Wiser, Stronger Inc.
- Milo Brown Business Award: Daryl D. Reece, owner, Stock Da Bar & Stock Da Bar Vodka.
- Phyllis Scott Activist Award: Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports, Inc., Chris Sain, Jr., co-founder and CEO, and Preston Sain, co-founder and executive director.
- Raymond Tardy Community Service Award: Raynard Ross, president, Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education, and associate dean of student success at GRCC.
- H.C. Toliver Religious Life Award: Julian S. Newman, CEO and founder, The FutureCast Foundation.
- Hattie Beverly Education Award: Lorenzo Bradshaw, principal, Brookwood Elementary.
- Martha Reynolds Labor Award: Kevin L. Clemens, president, Kent County Court’s union, an affiliate of the Technical, Professional, and Office Workers Association of Michigan.
- William Glenn Trailblazer Award: Jermale Eddie, co-owner and CEO, Malamiah Juice Bar & Malamazing Juice Co.
The 2021 and 2022 Junior GIANT scholarship recipients are:
- Ashyah Patterson, Georgetown University
- Christian Baty, Michigan State University
- James M. Baker, Grand Rapids Christian High School
- Alexandria Vaughn-Earvin, Prairie View A&M University
- Zhaniya Robinson, Michigan State University
- Summer R. Brown, Howard University
Each year, the GIANT Awards selection committee undertakes the task of selecting honorees based on the merit of their nomination and stellar achievements. Committee members are: Larry Johnson, Tempy Mann, Darius Quinn, Faye Richardson-Green, and Shannon Wilson.
The GIANT Awards committee, made up of former GIANT honorees, is soliciting help to plan and facilitate the 40th celebration.
Please send inquiries regarding the nomination process, sponsorship support, and volunteer opportunities to: GIANTaward40@gmail.com