What is the Sacrament of Confirmation?

In most Christian Churches the rite of confirmation also referred to as initiation involves a laying on of hands or anointing for the purpose of bestowing the 'gifts of the Holy Spirit'.  In some churches, confirmation bestows full membership of that religion.  In the Roman Catholic Church membership of the Church begins with Baptism, is continued through receiving Communion and if finalized in Confirmation.
The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, and Anglicans consider Confirmation a sacrament.  In the East the Confirmation Rite is given to infants shortly after Baptism.  In the West, Confirmation is received when one reaches the 'age of reason' or early adolescence.  In the traditional Protestant faiths such as Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Confirmation is considered by a coming of age ceremony and is considered a mature statement of faith. 
The Lutheran Church practices a public profession of faith after long and careful instruction. The Lutheran Church considers only baptism and the Eucharist as sacraments and does not treat confirmation as a sacrament of the Gospel.
The United Methodist Church considers the Rite of Confirmation a practice in which baptized individuals recognize God's grace as an embrace of being a disciple. UMC candidates for confirmation take classes that cover Christian Doctrine, Theology, United Methodist History, Bible Study and Stewardship.  This rite occurs during the teens. Adults are not confirmed but may be baptized or reaffirm their faith at any time.
Confirmation is not practiced in the Baptist churches.
A form of Confirmation is used in some Jewish synagogues as a rite of passage for young men and women about the age of sixteen.
In the Latter Day Saints confirmation is an ordinance which takes place soon after Baptism.  This is done to confirm the participant as a member of the church and to give the 'gift of the Holy Spirit'.
In most churches Confirmation is viewed as a special occasion no matter if that be a rite or a sacrament.  All churches appear to believe being confirmed is a way of received the Holy Spirit and to grow with strength within one's religion, whether that be Catholic, Protestant, Jewish or other. While some require extensive preparation others require a brief ceremony.  Some require the service to be conducted by a bishop; others require only the pastor's service.  The Confirmation ritual still marks a turning point in someone's life and in their acceptance of their faith.


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