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Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga

THE Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (Siasi Uesiliana Tau’ataina ‘o Tonga) has overseas congregations in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Fiji. It is the largest Christian denomination in the kingdom with its closest threat to membership coming from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. When the first Methodist missionaries arrived in Tonga in 1822 they went about the work of evangelisation in the Friendly Islands and launched forays with local converts into neighbouring Fiji. In 1885 the local church split with King Tupou I becoming the constitutional head. An attempt to heal the rift in 1924 led to a further split so that from the original church there are three distinct entities – the FWCC, the Constitutional Church of Tonga and the Free Church of Tonga. Like its Fijian counterpart, Tonga was originally a conference within the Methodist Church of Australasia.

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