By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Rev. Bob Morwell finds himself caught between an emotional rock and a hard place.
Morwell, one of the city's most prominent ministers during his nearly 12 years in town as pastor of Union United Methodist Church, will be leaving Quincy this summer.
Bishop Jonathan Keaton of the United Methodist Church's Illinois Great Rivers Conference has appointed Morwell pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Carterville, which is about seven miles from his hometown of Carbondale.
That's the good news.
Of all Morwell's pastorates, Quincy has been the longest, and Morwell said it will be the most difficult one to leave.
That's the bad news.
"Many of the churches were open-hearted, open-minded and gracious ... some were less so," Morwell said. "But, Union is at the top of my list of gracious congregations, and it has been a privilege to serve this church. My wife, Nina, and I have also greatly enjoyed the wonderful community life of Quincy.
"We will always be grateful for our time here."
Morwell has long been active with numerous local causes and organizations, including Union United's Christmas Commando gift program and the Quincy Area Ministerial Association's annual Sept. 11 apprecation dinner for first responders.
"This is a bittersweet time because we have served at Union longer than any other church in my career, and we have come to love it and Quincy," he said. "But the life of a United Methodist minister is a nomadic one, and we knew this time would come."
Morwell has also served Illinois churches in Pittsfield, Peoria, Moline, Mount Pulaski, Wyoming, Easton and Charleston.
"I grew up in Carbondale, and I have family in the area," he said. "You might say I've taken the long way home, after decades spent serving churches throughout central Illinois."
Morwell will turn 60 later this year and hopes to continue pastoring until age 70.
"Though the town of Carterville itself is relatively small, it has been engulfed by a (rapidly growing) metro area extending from Marion to Carbondale," he said. "The possibilities for new ministries are quite exciting."
Morwell's final service at Union United Methodist will be June 30.