Free Church of Tonga

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Centennial Church in Nuku’alofa

The Free Church of Tonga (Siasi ʻo Tonga tauʻatāina) is a Local church and religious denomination in Tonga.

The church was established in 1885 by King George Tupou I (formerly Taufa'ahau Tupou I) and Rev. Shirley W. Baker. Originally with the name The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga,[citation needed] it became the official state church. (Queen Salote and King Tupou IV were both christened in the Free Church of Tonga.) Attempted re-unification in 1924[1] of the Wesleyan Mission and the Free Church by Her Royal Highness Queen Salote into the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga ended with a 'walkout' by the then-president of the Free Church of Tonga, J.B. Watkins (who had been president since it was established), and all his ministers from the emergency church conference that had been called by Queen Salote at the Royal chapels in the palace grounds in Nukuʻalofa, leaving all the then properties and assets to the Wesleyan Church.

Not long after another faction broke away who also did not agree with the Free Wesleyan Church and also claimed to be the true successor. They became the Church of Tonga. The Free Church of Tonga was first presided over by foreign reverends, until the presidency came into local hands; the Fonua family where it has stayed since.[citation needed]

The church operates three high schools, one each in Tongatapu, Haʻapai and Vavaʻu, all named Tailulu College.[citation needed]

The Current Leader of the Free Church of Tonga is it's President Reverend Semisi Fonua, who has been President since the Church Conference of 1984 replacing his father, the Late Reverend Sione Lelea Fonua.


Coordinates: 21°08′07″S 175°12′10″W / 21.13528°S 175.20278°W / -21.13528; -175.20278