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Iowa Holiness Association History

Origins & Early History

The Iowa Holiness Association (IHA) has its roots in a camp meeting held at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in June 1873. The purpose of the camp was to promote entire sanctification. At that camp, Rev. John Inskip made clear the need to be born again, then cleansed from all sin. One man who received a pure heart in those meetings was Rev. Isaiah Reid, who soon began publishing a holiness periodical, Highway Paper (later called simply The Highway). Reid’s paper kept interest growing through the following years.

Rev. Isaiah Reid (1836-1911), founder and first president (1879-1908) of the Iowa Holiness Association. (Picture c. 1875, courtesy of the Dorothy Reid Daggett Collection.)

Early in 1879 Reid drew up a constitution for a proposed interdenom­inational state holiness association, and he published it in The Highway. All who wished to form an association were urged to send in their names. To further promote the cause of holiness and to advance the idea of an association, Reid and friend Oliver Hambleton made a 250-mile evangelistic trip around central and southern Iowa by horse and buggy, holding over twenty services. Excitement about the association concept grew.

In July 1879 a permanent organization known as the Iowa Holiness Association was formed at the first IHA Camp Meeting. Held in Greene County, Iowa, on the old Centennial campground (near Jefferson), the gathering sparked a great spiritual awakening, with many returning to their homes determined to promote scriptural holiness. The annual camp met in different Iowa locations over the years, until it was moved to Des Moines in 1888, and then to its present home in University Park, Iowa in 1907. By this time, rallies were being held each month in many Iowa counties to promote the holiness message of the IHA camp. Over the years the preaching of such men as Seth Rees, Joseph H. Smith, C. W. Butler, Harry Blackburn, Quinton Everst, and Gene Phillips has been a blessing to many.

For further reading (on another web site): A helpful article, An Overview of the Life of Rev. Isaiah Reid, details some of the key events and milestones in the life of the Iowa Holiness Association’s founder. Appended to the overview are numerous messages and articles by Isaiah Reid. In addition, Isaiah Reid’s full story of the events leading up to The Founding of the Iowa Holiness Association is available.