Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

In Western Europe during the Middle Ages, the anointing with oil that was part of baptism in the early church was detached from the baptismal rite and eventually became the distinct sacred action known as confirmation for largely practical reasons. The almost accidental origins of this separation have led to much controversy and reexamination. The issues raised by a separate rite of confirmation are closely related to catechism and the nurture of children within the context of the church....

Historical Origins And Development Of Confirmation

Large dioceses in northern Europe during the early Middle Ages made it difficult for bishops to be present at the baptism of infants. Gradually a two-part initiation process emerged spanning the period from infancy to late childhood. With increased emphasis on catechism during the Reformation era, confirmation became a rite of passage for adolescents who had been properly instructed in the faith. Whether to admit baptized but unconfirmed children to the Eucharist became a great problem.

A Theology Of Confirmation

A number of relatively clear theological assumptions under gird the liturgies of confirmation used by a variety of churches.

A Liturgy For Confirmation

Many church traditions which practice infant baptism also celebrate confirmation, public profession of faith, or reception into the church-that is, a service in which those baptized at an early age publicly affirm their faith and declare their acceptance of the responsibilities entailed in baptism and church membership. The use of the term confirmation also implies a completion or fulfillment of baptism. At confirmation, the candidate is anointed with a seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The following service for confirmation is based on the text found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Guidelines For Planning A Confirmation Service

The following article presents guidelines for planning a confirmation service, based on theological, pastoral, and liturgical rationale.