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Three Decades of Commitment: Samuel Lee's Reflections on the 30th Anniversary of His Church and Ministry

Today, we gather to celebrate a remarkable journey—a journey that began thirty years ago with a couple of friends and dreamers, young people united by their love for Jesus and their determination to share the gospel with others. It all started in the heart of Amsterdam, in Bijlmer, and from there, our mission and vision spread across the globe, touching countless lives and communities. Our efforts have led to the establishment of JCF churches in Cyprus, Lebanon, the Philippines, and South Africa. We have also championed the ecumenical unity of the church, collaborating with SKIN, PCC, Nationale Synod, and churches ranging from conservative to progressive, embracing them all as our siblings in Christ Jesus.

Human Rights

JCF Church has always been more than a place of worship. We recognized the call to extend our faith into action, addressing pressing human rights issues and standing up for the marginalized. We understood the importance of choosing our battles wisely, knowing that we cannot fight every battle. Our commitment has led us to support undocumented immigrants, engage in matters concerning African and Black lives, and address racism and profiling in our communities, partnering with various African grassroots organizations. We have defended the cause of migrant domestic workers, especially our Filipino brothers and sisters, challenging abusive systems through our collaboration with the Commission for Filipino Migrant Domestic Workers.

The photo that you see here behind me on the screen, is a note from more than 20 years ago indicating that Judith Sargantini, who was then in the municipality council in Amsterdam, will be calling me from green party. We had to talk because 106 Africans were arrested due to racial profiling, among whom were people from our community. This historical piece of paper, shows how much we as Church have been involved with the maters of Human Rights.

For us, sharing the gospel goes beyond preaching; it does not only embody the liberation of the human soul for eternal life. It also emphasizes on the liberation of our fellow humans from injustices, striving express God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. As a church, we chose to invest in higher education, leading to the birth of the Foundation Academy of Amsterdam. This institution offers education to the marginalized, refugees, migrants, stateless individuals, and those discriminated against due to their religion, gender orientation, or other barriers preventing them from accessing higher education.

In 2022, JCF Church took a significant step by integrating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into our policies and rules, alongside our theological doctrines. Every newly appointed leader, minister, and deacon vows to uphold these principles to the best of their abilities.

I have endeavored to bridge the gap between conservative, traditional churches and our liberal, progressive brothers and sisters. Promoting dialogue between religions has been a part of my life’s vision

I believe that a Christianity that, besides sharing the Gospel, does not stand for the rights of the fragile and the marginalized, for the poor and the suffering, for the widows and orphans, is a worthless Christianity. It is simply a dead religion, even though it has a sign of liveliness.

Personal Note

On a personal note, I have endeavored to bridge the gap between conservative, traditional churches and our liberal, progressive brothers and sisters. Promoting dialogue between religions has been a part of my life’s vision. I continue to share the gospel and stand firm for human rights and justice.

Leadership can often feel lonely. Leaders face not only God but also their own conscience and inner soul—at times, they may feel isolated. However, I am blessed with a wonderful family, a supportive wife, close friends, and a church family who stand by me.

no church should place its trust in a single individual...

Lastly, I want to emphasize that no church should place its trust in a single individual. The church is not about charismatic leaders; they come and go, but the foundation of the church endures. Today, we usher in a new era of leadership. Pastor Tony Asante, from today the district pastor of JCF Amsterdam, along with his team of young leaders born and nurtured in this church, will lead us forward. While I remain as the senior pastor and general overseer, continuing my advocacy for justice and human rights in the light of Jesus Christ, I have every confidence in our new leadership.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my close core friends who have been with us from the very beginning, the elders, deacons, and church leaders. Without you, these thirty years of JCF would not have been possible.

The motto of our church is "The Glory of God is Humanity Fully Alive." This speaks to the essence of our mission.

The Ubuntu of our mission: my humanity is completed in yours, and in that completion, God is glorified. God is found in the love and care we have for each other. May we continue to walk this path together, bringing light and hope to a broken world.


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