A homeless love story

Marc Fisher’s moving column in today’s Washington Post tells the story of two homeless people who will be married on Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown. You owe it to yourself to read it all, but here are a few paragraphs:

Come Saturday, Dante and Nhiahni will marry. People will journey from every corner of Washington to see them exchange vows — wealthy Georgetowners and people who live on the city’s rough edges, all joining hands to celebrate the marriage of two gentle souls whose only address is the steam grates in the shadow of the U.S. Department of the Interior headquarters.

This is, says the Rev. John Graham, pastor of Grace Episcopal Church in the heart of Georgetown, a story of love — of two people who have survived for nine years by leaning on each other through their misfortunes, and of a congregation coming together to add joy to lives of enormous difficulty.

For some months now, Dante, 28, and Nhiahni, 38, have attended Grace’s Table, the church’s Saturday program of lunch and Bible discussion. Dante likes it because Grace is one of the few churches that let him use their facilities to wash up. Over time, church members got to know Dante and Nhiahni and learned of their quiet yearning to be together forever.

It was church member Margaret Davis who started the ball rolling, taking the couple to Virginia to buy a ring. Then the wedding planning snowballed. Lenore Reid brought Nhiahni to shop for a gown. Dante will wear a tux, thanks to Jason Studl. The invitations are printed, elegant lilac cards in formal script. The reception will feature a three-tiered wedding cake, made by Kristin Killoran, and music by two of Washington’s finest jazz professionals, Marshall Keys and Herman Burney. The newlyweds will have a honeymoon, two nights at the Key Bridge Marriott, a gift from church members and the hotel.

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