*It might be a peculiar call to make in a church, but The United Methodist Church is asking its members to fast from alcohol during Lent.

To be clear, the 7.8 million-member denomination affirms abstinence from alcohol. But “Alcohol Free Lent” is meant to start discussions on “the elephant in the room – alcohol use among our members.”

Lent began with Ash Wednesday this week. It marks the 40-day period before Easter. Traditionally, many Catholics and Protestants choose to fast from certain foods and nowadays from technology or social networking.

The United Methodists’ challenge, meanwhile, may cause a stir.

“To ask United Methodists to give up alcohol for Lent is provocative because we like to think United Methodists don’t drink,” Cynthia Abrams of the UMC’s General Board of Church and Society, told The Washington Post.

“We decided … to confront the elephant in the room by doing something provocative and engaging in conversation about it throughout Lent.”

Read the full story here.