Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association

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Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association
Theology Wesleyan Holiness
Leader Dr. Philip Speas
Region Eastern Kentucky
Founder Dr. Lela G. McConnell
Origin 1924
Vancleve, KY
Congregations 13
Primary schools Mount Carmel High School, Mount Carmel Elementary School
Secondary schools Kentucky Mountain Bible College

The Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association is a Christian association and denomination in eastern Kentucky. The Association was begun in 1925 by Lela G. McConnell, a deaconness in the Methodist Episcopal Church.[1] The Association maintains a Wesleyan-Holiness doctrine with a strong emphasis on sanctification. The association maintains an elementary school, a high school, a four-year Bible college, and a farm. Philip Speas is the current association president.

Although the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association has 12 member churches, it does not consider itself to be a "denomination," and many of its member churches list themselves as "non-denominational."[2]


The first organization, the Mount Carmel Church and School, was established by Dr. Lela G. McConnell in 1925.[3] The first groundbreaking was on 10 March 1925. The Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association was formally incorporated in February 1931, and the Vancleve Bible School, known as the Kentucky Mountain Bible Institute (later Kentucky Mountain Bible College) was opened in October of the same year. A second grade school was opened in Lee City in 1935. A 100-acre farm was purchased for $4500 on July 3, 1942. The radio station was added by a generous gift, and went on the air July 23, 1948.


In 1946, Breathitt County voted to become a dry county. In 1957 a big brewery man visited all business places in Jackson. He asked, "Don't you want to vote again on the liquor issue?" All but two of the business men said, "No, our jail is practically empty. Before Local Option, the jail was overflowing most of the time. The brewery man said, "I'll be back later. Can't do anything now."

In May 1951, the judge of a certain county said to Miss McConnell, "The Circuit Court meets twice a year. This is the first time in 132 years that we have not had a murder case on the docket in this county."[3]

One man in Lee County who used to ride horseback through a community to take his "turn of corn" to the mill, told us he often heard cursing, fighting and shooting along the creek. He said, "Now, since you have had two revivals there, all I ever hear is singing, 'Amazing Grace that saved a wretch like me' or 'Jesus, Lover of My soul.' If you had done nothing more than change that community, it is worth all your prayers, tears, and labors.

Member Organizations[edit]


Radio stations[edit]

The KMHA operates a Moody-affiliate radio station. It features both local, Southern Gospel programming and DJs, as well as syndicated shows and SRN news.



  • KMHA Farms, Vancleve, KY


  1. ^ "Twentieth Century Holiness". Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Our History.". London Community Church. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  3. ^ a b McConnell, Lela G. (May 2005). The Pauline Ministry in the Kentucky Mountains or a Brief Account of the Kentucky Mountain Holiness Association. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-4191-4651-0. 
  4. ^ "Bear Pen Community Church.". Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Community Involvement". Five Mile Community Church. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Morgan County Kentucky Cemeteries". Retrieved 23 November 2010.