Free Wesleyan Church
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2011)|
The Free Wesleyan Church (FWC) (Tongan: Siasi Uesiliana Tau‘ataina ‘o Tonga1) is the largest Methodist denomination in Tonga. The royal family of the country are prominent members, and the late king was a lay preacher.
It was founded as the Free Church of Tonga in 1885, when King George Tupou I decided that 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 3 and 5 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.2
- Tonga on the 'NET - Christianity and The Kingdom of Tonga: Free Wesleyan Church
- 2011 Statistical Data on FWC Educational Institutions
- Tohi 'Asenita 'o e Konifelenisi Kakato 88
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