The placing of hands on the head of an individual in various services to denote the conferring of the Holy Spirit. The laying on of hands is most common in services of baptism, confirmation, ordination and healing. From the beginnings of American Methodism, the laying on or imposition of hands by a bishop has been an integral part of the service of ordination of ministers. In more recent years ordained ministers of the Annual Conference and others have been extended the privilege of sharing in this rite of laying on the hands at ordination. In more recent years also, the receiving of lay persons into the membership of the church has often been symbolized by the laying on of hands by the pastor or pastors of the local church.
Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press. Used by Permission.