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Madison County honors Alton pastor as ‘Living Legend’

County Board member Michael “Doc” Holiday of Alton and Chairman Kurt Prenzler presented Bishop Gregory Harrison, Ph.D., of Alton, with the 10th annual Madison County Living Legend Community Service Award during the Feb. 21 Madison County Board meeting. Shown from left are Bishop Harrison, his son Jason, and Holliday. (Photo courtesy Madison County)

 

Madison County officials recognized an Alton pastor Wednesday night as a “Living Legend” for his contributions in the community.

County Board member Michael “Doc” Holiday of Alton and Chairman Kurt Prenzler presented Bishop Gregory Harrison, Ph.D., of Alton, with the 10th annual Madison County Living Legend Community Service Award during the county board meeting. The county presents the award during Black History Month to a resident who makes extraordinary contributions in the community.

“It is honor and pleasure to present him with this award,” Holliday said.

Holliday said Harrison is being recognized for his humanitarian efforts, which the focus is “everybody is somebody.” Harrison community projects and events include an annual Thanksgiving giveaway, Project Mexico, a nursing home ministry, along with marriage counseling and grief counseling.

“Many souls have been saved, encouraged and enriched through Bishop Harrison’s ministry,” Holliday said.

Dr. Harrison serves as the pastor of Deliverance Temple Ministries in Alton. The 67-year-old attended Alton public schools, Lewis and Clark Community College, Missouri Baptist College before receiving his doctorate in Biblical Studies from Midwest College of Theology.

Harrison married the late Eddie Mae White on Aug. 11, 1979, and they had three sons — Marcus (Shenea), Jason (Kayla) and Bryan (ZeKeya). He is the grandfather of 10 and great grandfather of three.  Both Marcus and Jason serve as pastors at Deliverance Temple.

In 2009, Harrison retired from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office where he worked for 35 years.

Harrison’s journey on the ministerial path started in 1976 after being baptized. In 1984, he founded Deliverance Temple Ministries in Alton and by the age of 33 years old, Bishop John I. Cobb appointed him to the office of district superintendent of the Greater Western District of Churches of Southern Illinois Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, Church of God in Christ, Inc.

In 1989, Harrison started serving as administrative assistant superintendent to Bishop Hugh E. Cawthon, where he continues to serve in the position under Bishop Embra Patterson.

Harrison currently serves as chairman of superintendents, chairman of church extension, treasurer for Coalition of Concerned Citizens and founder of Life Covenant School of Theology (satellite of Midwest College of Theology).

Three years ago, Harrsion and his son, Jason, were featured in the Untold Black Stories of Alton. The project, which is featured on Great Rivers and Routes website, was recorded by StoryCorps and celebrated by Jacoby Arts Center. It showcases the lives of black residents in Alton and their experiences.

Harrison said he was humbled by the award.

“I would like to thank you all for this — I don’t know why?” Harrison said. “I just do what I do, but I appreciate it.”

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