South Sand Springs Church of God (Springs Church) is celebrating their 50th Anniversary Saturday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., and the public is invited to attend.
Come and enjoy a concert of gospel music by Grammy-nominated Nashville artist Tim Menzies, whose latest album “His Name Is Jesus” was released this year and was joined on the album by guest vocalists including The Isaacs, The Gaither Vocal Band, Vince Gill and others. Also, Oklahoma vocalist, Jim Barritt will be singing and is also a member of 7 Mile Road Quartet. They will bless you with their words and beautiful voices. The address is 4700 S. 129th West Avenue, Sand Springs.
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Paul Camuti, Pastor of Springs Church in South Sand Springs. My wife Deborah and I are so pleased to be able to be a part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration!
I want to take the time to let you know a little bit about myself. I grew up back east in Long Island, New York. My parents took myself and my brother to church when we were little. Due to various situations and circumstances, when I was about 14 years of age we stopped attending church. Other than a few times, I did not darken the door of a church again until I was 21 years of age.
When I was 13, I saw an old movie classic, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” starring Humphrey Bogart. I was so impressed with it, I decided film making is what I wanted to do. All my energies from that time forward were directed toward achieving that goal.
I majored in film making at the CW Post campus of Long Island University. In 1974, things were going my way. I enjoyed college, enjoyed my job (although I was working at a full service gas station) my grades were good. I felt like I was on top of the world.
Without getting into all the details, 1975 was the exact opposite. Things happened in my personal life that sent me into a deep state of depression. I was no longer at the top of the world. I could not keep a good thing going for more than two days straight. I was rarely happy with anything.
Although I was aware of my plight, I was not searching for God. However, God took it upon Himself to pursue me. The summer of 1975, my father’s side of the family, who were predominantly Christian believers has several family gatherings, which was out of the ordinary. Most everyone would speak about Jesus. I had a cousin, Stephanie, who I corresponded with and was devoted to Jesus.
In my fall semester, I met a guy, and two girls who were Christian in my English Composition class. I thought it beyond coincidence that one of the girls was named Stephanie. The only two Stephanie’s I knew in my life at that time were Christ followers.
To top it all off, an atheist film professor of mine showed the movie, “The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.” It was a black and white, Italian movie with subtitles. It was word for word the Gospel of St. Matthew.
In one of several conversations I had with Ed (the guy from my English Composition class) I said to him, “I’m not one given to coincidence. I can’t put my finger on it, but I haven’t been really searching for God. Yet, it seems for the last several months, God keeps showing up wherever I am. It’s like He’s beating me over the eyebrows trying to get my attention. I don’t understand it.”
What Ed said changed my life forever. “Did you ever think that God may have a calling on your life?” I remember looking up at the sky, thinking about how big God is, and how I was just a little speck on this earth. I looked at all the people passing us at that moment on our campus. Literally, hundreds, if not thousands of people.
I thought to myself, “Surely God could pick out someone from this crowd that is way more qualified than me for a calling. I’m such a mess up.” I looked up at the sky again, when suddenly it hit me. “God is so big, but yet right now, He’s looking at me. He’s thinking about me, with all these people around. He must really love me.”
I cannot describe how I felt when the realization of His love for me hit me. Shortly after that I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior.
Since that time my life has taken twists and turns. Some of the paths I wound up going down I would have never chosen for myself. After graduating college in 1977 I moved to a ministry home in Minnesota. I moved with my wife Deborah, and our then Pastor and his wife to Tulsa. In 1982. In 1984 I was made a deacon at the church we co-founded with our Pastor and in 1986 I was ordained a minister.
In 2000, Deborah and I felt called to Bixby where we started a church called Restoration Covenant Church. The Lord used it more of a learning experience for us. In 2005 Deborah and I started attending Real Church, founded and Pastored by Scott Lovett. We were leaders at Real Church for 13 years when the Lord opened the door for us to come to Springs Church to Pastor. We had the full support of Scott Lovett.
Most of the people in Springs Church have known each other for the 50 years of existence. Some of them not quite that long, but much longer than Deborah and I have been a part. We were installed as Pastors on February 24, 2019. They are a very caring and loving congregation.
As I said earlier, Deborah and I are pleased to be able to celebrate with our congregation, the 50 year Anniversary. I invite you to come and share in our celebration. God bless.