Free Wesleyan Church
The Free Wesleyan Church (FWC; Tongan: Siasi Uesiliana Tau‘ataina ‘o Tonga) is the largest Methodist denomination in Tonga, and also the state church. It is the world's only state church in the Methodist tradition. The royal family of the country are prominent members, and the late king was a lay preacher.
In 1924, Sālote Tupou III wanted to combine the official state church of Tonga (Free Church of Tonga), established by her great grandfather George Tupou I, with the Methodist church (governed by the Methodist body in Australia). However being unsuccessful, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga is now the official state church of Tonga. The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (Siasi Uesiliana Tau'ataina 'o Tonga) was founded as a sovereign nation, in the process of promoting its sovereignty abroad by means of bilateral treaties with Western nations should have an independent (Wesleyan) Church. Preachers in the FWC system must be ordained ministers, a process that takes between three and five years, and can involve many stages of approval and apprenticeship. However, ministers are not required to attend theological seminary, because often doing so in the past created a teacher shortage in the church schools while the candidates were attending seminary.
The Free Wesleyan Church also runs 30% of the schools in Tonga, and are generally considered the best out of the church-run schools. Many parents choose to send their children to the FWC schools for moral education; to teach them obedience, hard work, good manners, and respect, which are all high values in Tonga. As in other schools, FWC schools usually do not have class on Fridays, but instead use the day for school cleanup; all school facilities in Tonga are maintained by the students. School uniforms are the church's colors: royal blue and white.
The Current President of the Church is 'Ahio and Secretary General is Tevita Koloa'ia Havea. They both took their office in the Church Conference of 2009. The Church has been led by the following Church Leaders:
- 1st President was Setaleki Manu (1924–1925)
- 2nd President was Roger Page (1925–1946)
- 3rd President was Alfred Mckay (1946–1956)
- 4th President was Ronald Woodgate (1956–1961)
- 5th President was Howard Secomb (1961–1963)
- 6th President was George Clemens Harris (1963–1969)
- 7th President was Justin Gooderham (1969–1971)
- 8th President was Sione 'Amanaki Havea (1971–1977)
- 9th President was Uiliami Huluholo Mo'ungaloa (1977–1982)
- 10th President was Sione 'Amanaki Havea (1982–1992)
- 11th President was Sione Lepa To'a (1992–1993)
- 12th President was Lopeti Taufa (1993–1998)
- 13th President was 'Alifaleti Malakai Mone (1998–2009)
- 14th President is 'Ahio (2009–present)
- Tonga on the 'NET - Christianity and The Kingdom of Tonga: Free Wesleyan Church
- "Training-School at Tonga" (PDF). The Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Information for Young Persons. Wesleyan Missionary Society. IX: 60. June 1852. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
- 2011 Statistical Data on FWC Educational Institutions
- Tohi 'Asenita 'o e Konifelenisi Kakato 88