Merger Club

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Merger Club
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The Merger Club was an organisation founded by Jonathan Austen (the future Emperor of Austenasia) on 4 September 2005. Originally founded as a form of ecumenical social group for children, by October 2007 it had adopted philanphropic goals and by the time it went inactive in January 2009 it had raised over £600 for various charities.

Based in Carshalton Methodist Church, future Austenasians such as HIH Crown Princess Caroline and Lord Marshal William were also members. Originally founded with an idea to helping build relations with the children of a nearby church with which Carshalton Methodist was at the time considering a merger (hence the name of the club), this idea quickly fell through, and the club simply became a venue for children to play in while their parents had tea and biscuits at the back of the church after the Sunday service. Common activities included "missions", where a member of the club would attempt to perform a stealthy feat (e.g. get to a certain point in the grounds without being seen), and tournaments where two members would crouch down and attempt to push their rival onto the floor without standing up or being pushed over themselves.

By late 2007, the Merger Club had grown massively and its leaders matured somewhat, and a decision was made to realign its purpose to raising money for charity, as well as to stop classifying children as "members" and "non-members" and retain a core leadership team while continuing to organize games for any other children who wished to attend. The Merger Club successfully raised over £600 for several charities by setting up a subscription system whereby adults of the church would donate a small amount each week, as well as through individual events held over 2008 such as a quiz night they organized on 19 April, a raffle in June, and a cake sale in late October.

The Merger Club became inactive in January 2009 mainly because of some ineffective administrative reforms which had been implemented in its final official meeting on 18 January; with Jonathan concentrating on his position in Austenasia and most of the Merger Club's younger members having lost interest some months ago due to the focus on fundraising for charity, the Club fell into a state of permanent dormancy. The weekly subscription system remained in place until late 2010, but no longer operated as part of the Merger Club. Jonathan announced a disbanding of the Merger Club on 23 August 2009, and any realistic chance of the Merger Club being re-founded under his leadership was lost when he began to attend another church in early 2011.

Interaction via the Merger Club was how Lord Marshal William became friends with Jonathan I; were it not for the Merger Club, it is very unlikely that South Kilttown (now Zephyria) would have been annexed by the Empire in April 2009. Furthermore, once South Kiltown joined Austenasia, making Lord William a Representative alongside the then Crown Prince Jonathan, they used the time after Sunday services which had formerly been taken up with Merger Club meetings for meetings of what was then known as Cabinet, held in the same two rooms usually used for Merger Club meetings.

Between February 2015 and late 2016 (with a brief revival in August 2019), monthly "pizza nights" were hosted by Lord Marshal William's parents at their house, attended by many of the former core members of the Merger Club. A discussion about what to name the monthly meeting ended with "the Merger Club" being the most popular suggestion, but no official re-founding of the organisation took place.