Metro/Julian Uzielli Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church's sign, referencing the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey. "We're not afraid to recognize that sexuality plays a significant role in modern society," says Rev. Raemond Fletcher.

A local church marquee is turning heads in London with a racy reference to the popular erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey.

For the past week, the sign outside Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church has read “50 shades of grace”—a play on the title of E. L. James’s breakthrough book.

“The intention is that as the book talks about intimate relationships with an unusual twist, so the sign talks about an intimate relationship with God that has a twist,” said Rev. Raemond Fletcher, who got the idea for the sign from a fellow Anglican priest in town. “God’s grace is not only of one shade.”

Fletcher said he hoped the sign would also send a message that the church was not out of touch. “The church (or at least some churches) are not afraid to recognize that sexuality plays a significant role in modern society, but that it should not be a matter of grey areas but of grace.”

An allusion to a sexually graphic book on the sign of a church is the last thing many would expect to see. However, Fletcher said there haven’t been any complaints, and he wasn’t worried.

“I’ve read sections of one of the books that a woman I know was reading—essentially a romance novel taken to the next level. Its popularity probably comes from making the once secret an upfront thing,” he said.

“Have you read the Bible lately? Very sexually explicit at times.”

  • Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church is located at 442 William Street

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