King of Tonga dedicates Methodist church in Utah

Posted: Friday, August 06, 2004

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) Utah's United Methodists had a royal visit last week.

The king of Tonga, Polynesia's oldest and last remaining monarchy, traveled to the state to dedicate a West Valley church built to replace an old church destroyed by fire.

King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV is a Methodist and more than 6,000 people of Tongan descent reside in Utah. The kingdom is northeast of Australia, and southwest of Hawaii.

The ceremony dedicating the Tongan United Methodist Church was held Saturday.

The king also met with Gov. Olene Walker and officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Walker said this is the second time the Tongan king has visited Utah.

''I expressed how honored we are,'' Walker said. ''We talked about the fact that we have the largest Tongan per capita population in Utah of any state.''

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