GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A pastor with a long history of community leadership is this year’s GIANT Among Giants.

Bishop Dennis J. McMurray received the honor Saturday night during the annual GIANTS banquet hosted by Grand Rapids Community College.

McMurray is the senior pastor of Renaissance Church of God in Christ. He was honored for his social activism and leadership for social change in the area. McMurray served on the Michigan Community Corrections Board, the National Board of Bethany Christian Services, Kent County Community Mental Health and Spectrum Health Executive Patient & Advisory Board. He was previously honored with the Religious Life GIANT Award and the Who’s Who Award in Black Grand Rapids by the Black Chamber of Commerce of Detroit.

After a two-year hiatus, the GIANTS Awards ceremony returned for its 39th year of recognizing leaders who shape the quality of life and culture in Grand Rapids. A five-person committee made up of former GIANT honorees selects each honoree based on merit and achievements. The 11 other leaders honored during Saturday’s ceremony included:

  • 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

The GIANT Awards committee is looking for help to organize the 40th celebration. Those interested in the nomination process, sponsorship opportunities and volunteer possibilities are encouraged to email for more information.