Free Church of 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 Wesleyan Free Church of Tonga, 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 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. In colloquial speech the former is known as the 'Church of the President,' while the latter is named the 'Church of the Lords.'
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.
The church operates three high schools, one each in Tongatapu, Haʻapai and Vavaʻu, all named Tailulu College.
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