...a meshing of two great but sometimes old-fashioned institutions
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 95 17:30:05 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: ...a meshing of two great but sometimes old-fashioned institutions
Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Boolootian)
From: John Shaver <email@example.com>
For Immediate Release
The Chairman of IBM announced today that, in response to Microsoft
Corp.'s acquisition of the Roman Catholic Church, IBM has bid for and
acquired the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of
America for $1 billion.
"We are the oldest and most prestigious computer company in the
world," he said, "and we cannot be seen to be lagging behind in the
race for preeminence in the religious software and hardware markets.
We have tendered an offer to the Most. Rev. Edmund Browning, Presiding
Bishop of the Episcopal Church and Pamela Chinnis, President of the
House of Deputies of General Convention, and they have recommended
acceptance to the shareholders / communicants."
The Episcopal Church is one of the oldest and most respected
denominations in the United States. Many current and former
officeholders, including many Presidents, have been communicants.
Although its membership was declining in recent years, the latest
figures show a slight increase in membership. A combination with IBM
will probably be beneficial in terms of putting "fannies in the seats"
in Episcopal Churches across the United States.
There will also be great benefits to IBM in terms of international
connections through the Episcopal Church. The Church is one of the
most senior members of the international Anglican communion by way of
its separation from the Church of England after the Revolutionary War
and the consecration in 1784 of its first Bishop, Samuel Seabury. IBM
hopes to gain a foothold in the international religious business
through these connections, and perhaps tender a bid for the entire
Anglican Communion by the time of the next meeting of the world
Anglican bishops in London in 1998 (Lambeth Conference). The
Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend George Carey, could not be
reached for comment.
IBM and Episcopal Church are "good fit"
IBM has had the distinction of being the first and, up until several
years ago, the most successful computer company in the world. It was
founded by Herman Hollerith, the inventor of the computer card, in the
late 1800, and concentrated on business machines such as adding
machines and typewriters until the invention of the computer in the
1940. They invested heavily in this new technology, and became rich
from selling and maintaining them in the 1950's through 1980's.
However, IBM's stodgy corporate culture prevented it from taking
advantage of newer technology. It almost entirely missed the value of
personal computer technology in the late 1970's, allowing other
companies to use processes it developed to make so-called "clone"
personal computers. It therefore lost out on the billions of dollars
spent on this technology over the past 15 years.
IBM has recently spun off its typewriter and printer businesses and
concentrated on PC building and software, and has even resorted to
layoffs for the first time in its history. The slogan, "No one was
ever fired for buying IBM" has become a bitter joke in the business
The Episcopal Church was, for a long time, considered the most
successful of the Protestant Churches in terms of wealth and power.
Many of the rich and famous swelled its numbers, and its liturgy was
noted for its archaic beauty as much as its treasury was noted for its
However, in recent years, with the dying-off of the elderly rich and
the fall in the birth rate among the bluebloods who remained, the
Episcopal Church has suffered both a decline in numbers and in
influence and wealth. Notwithstanding the slogan, "The Episcopal
Church Welcomes You," numbers have only recently begun to increase
again as the Church begins to be seen as a place where outcasts can
take part in its life.
Along with IBM, the Episcopal Church has had to resort to layoffs to
balance its budget, and the merger will allow both organizations to
trim even further their personnel costs. IBM's chairman said today,
"We have been known as the place where the white-coated mystics take
charge of computers in sealed rooms. As a direct result of this
merger, our white-coated mystic roster will be cut by half and merged
with the ordained ministry of the Episcopal Church. After all, they
also wear white garments when celebrating their mysteries. The
similarities outweigh the differences, and we think that we can bring
their white-suited mystics up to speed in JCL and C++ within a few
The Presiding Bishop and Ms. Chinnis issued a joint statement saying:
"We welcome this merger as a meshing of two great but sometimes
old-fashioned institutions. The merger will allow us to cut our
technical staff by half again, and concentrate our resources on
becoming the largest and most successful Protestant Church in the
United States. Our first IBM mainframe is already being installed in
the basement of 815 Second Avenue, the Episcopal Church Center in New
They continued: "So that we can assure ourselves that the Apostolic
Succession will be continued, the Bishops of the Episcopal Church will
lay hands on the Board of IBM in a ceremony at the Cathedral of St.
John the Divine in New York City. Then, the entire House of Bishops
will travel up to Armonk, where they will be instructed in the use of
the personal computer." The business writers of most US newspapers
will join the religion correspondents in recording this momentous
occasion. Both the business and the religious communities are
awaiting the new developments that this historic merger will make
His Eminence Bill Gates, had no comment.
© 1995 Peter Langston