The Institution of the Rev. Edwin Beckham as Rector of St. Mark's, Islip

The Rev. Edwin Beckham
The People, Vestry, and Wardens of St. Mark's, Islip, request your prayers and presence at the Institution of the Rev. Edwin Beckham
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The Wardens and Vestry of St. Mark’s Church, Islip invite you to share in a Celebration and Renewal of Ministry with the Institution of the Reverend M. Edwin Beckham as the 13th Rector of the Parish by the Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island. 

Reception to follow in Fenton Hall.


Clergy are invited to vest: Cassock, Surplice, and White Stole 


About Fr. Beckham

The pilgrim journey of faith brought the Rev’d M. Edwin Beckham – after 53 years as a Southerner(!) – to serve in the Diocese of Long Island at St. Mark’s Church, Islip, in September 2022. Prior to that, Edwin served as Rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal, Covington, Georgia from 2013; and as Curate & Associate Rector at Emmanuel Episcopal, Athens, Georgia, for 4.5 years after his 2008 graduation with the MDiv. from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest (Austin, Texas) and ordination to the priesthood that same year, back in Atlanta.

Edwin has been married 33 years to his best friend, Laura McHugh Beckham, a career educator (high school English & Lit.) and instructional technology specialist. Their big adventure of moving north was facilitated by Laura’s teaching being 100% online from fall 2021 - spring 2023. Since then Laura has stepped back, after 29 years, from full-time teaching and is evaluating what good work may be next for her while applying for a NY teaching license, continuing to enjoy the beauty of Long Island, and participating fully in the lively ministry and
community of St. Mark’s.

Edwin and Laura both grew up in the suburbs of bustling Greenville, in upstate South Carolina. If Greenville, where their parents and some siblings still live, will always feel like home, Atlanta, Georgia will always be ‘the big city’ where the Beckhams learned ‘adulting.’ Laura was (proudly) born in Atlanta, moving away as a child, while Edwin has been in and out of that metro area since two years at Georgia Tech in the mid-'80s. The Beckhams were living in the ATL ‘burbs with sons Eliot (now 29) and Simon (now 26), Edwin working in software training & documentation and Laura teaching, when the family uprooted for seminary in Texas. After seminary the Beckhams returned to that diocese, doing a second stint in Athens, Georgia. Athens (go, Dawgs!) is where their boys, a UGA Law student and a financial planner, and daughter-in-law, an ICU nurse, continue to live.

As a priest and pastor, Edwin seeks worship ‘in the beauty of holiness’ with an emphasis on the sacraments; on inspiration from the ancient church; on spiritual practices that help us grow in faith, beginning with the beautiful gift of the Book of Common Prayer and its Daily Office; and on a Christian ethic of virtue and love that translates our faith beyond good feelings and into concrete action and advocacy for neighbor, especially the most vulnerable. Pilgrimage is the lens: we are always on a journey, never done.

Sometimes that journey needs to be embodied, so Edwin and Laura, after years of dreaming about it, led their first pilgrimage in summer 2018. They took a group to the U.K. with a focus on the foundations of our Anglican tradition back to the Roman occupation. From Canterbury in southwest England they ended up in the far northeast on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, learning the stories of Sts. Aidan, Hilda, Cuthbert, and Bede. There, Edwin fell in love with these early, “Northern saints” of our tradition and the gorgeous landscape of the rural north, including Scotland. After too long a delay, the Beckhams led a second group in 2023, this time following the journey of St. Aidan from St. Columba’s monastery on the Isle of Iona, Scotland, moving south and east with his Gospel mission to the Anglo-Saxons, the magnificent Durham Cathedral the final point of wonder and thanksgiving. With pilgrimage now firmly in their blood, the Beckhams are scheming about future destinations, not only back in the U.K. but places such as: Italy/Assisi/Rome, the journeys of St. Paul, and of course, the Holy Land.

Edwin has served the wider Church in a variety of roles: Liturgy Commission member; Global Missions Comm. member; Young Adult Ministry Comm. chair; Ministry Innovations Task Force member; and Mutual Ministry consultant, all in the Diocese of Atlanta. There he also pioneered a companion relationship with a parish in Rio de Janeiro, and now sits on the churchwide bi-lateral committee for TEC and the IEAB (the Episcopal Church in Brazil). He is the secretary of the Alumni Association Advisory Board for the Seminary of the Southwest.

Edwin loves music, across genres, and regrets ceasing to play an instrument himself as a teenager. Time to take something up! Almost any music is good live. Bands such as The Police and R.E.M. have meant much to this GenXer. U2 actually played a part in his “re-conversion” to Christianity as a young adult. The spiritual, even devotional quality of U2’s shows; their connection of life, faith, and big issues; and their 45-year catalog all continue to inspire.

Edwin enjoys getting outdoors to hike along rivers and ridges and dreams less now of the canoe-camping he once enjoyed and more of the sea-kayaking to come, near his new home on the Great South Bay. He (and Laura especially) once played a lot of tennis, but it may be that pickleball is the new frontier. We shall see. Edwin’s biggest fans are the family’s CKC Spaniels, Sir Nigel of the Vicarage (Nigel) and Pied Beauty’s Matilda Rose (Tilly).

The call to come and lead the flock at St. Mark’s, while perhaps a surprise to some family and friends, given a such a long sojourn in the South, felt good and right and joyful to the Beckhams from the very beginning. St. Mark’s has such a long and rich tradition of connection and ministry within its community; a lively spirit of hospitality, fellowship, and pastoral care; perhaps the best-kept-secret of a Thrift Shop in all of Suffolk County (the true beating heart of the parish these days, with over 40 volunteers); and an historic and well-maintained campus that is ripe for lively worship, new partnerships with the community, indeed new kinds of life in this era of a transition in the Church.

Edwin looks forward to many years of faithful and imaginative ministry alongside the good people of St. Mark’s and the Islip/South Shore community, as well as close partnership with the wonderfully diverse and creative community that is the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.