A 30 Year Anniversary Review
According to Sue Pope, one of the founding members, the Munich International Women’s Club exists because of True Love. Specifically, the true love that pulled Susan Hodgson out of her home in England in 1987 and into the small Bavarian village of Grafrath, just outside of Munich, where her new husband lived. True love is all well and good, but a year of life in a small town without the language can make a woman thirsty for friendships and human connections.
The second step in the path toward the beginning of the MIWC happened a year later when the now lonely bride met a New Zealand woman who knew about a coffee with other English-speaking women. By the time the coffee pot went dry, Sue Pope tells us, Susan Hodgson was convinced her life was saved.
This is how this club begins. The Munich International Women’s Club was born out of a hunger for community and friendship. The kind of community that takes intention to build up. The kind of friendships that grow while reading books or going for hikes or simply meeting for lunch together. Women came to Munich from all over the world and found in the club a quick connection to their new home. The core patterns and traditions of the club we see today were laid down in these first years as the small club continued to meet in Grafrath. The thirst for community was so strong that many of the slowly increasing Munich members willingly took the hour-long ride on the SBahn and waited for a ride from the station each month, at least for the first four years.
Two splits happened in the club in 1994. The first was a formal spin-off of the Ladies International Association, which is still in existence. The second was a division of meeting places with one located in Munich and one remaining centered in Grafrath. The women still paid one membership fee, but could attend meetings in either location as they chose. Within a year, the club reunited at St. Johannes, north of the Gasteig.
New members kept joining faster than old members departed, and the club soon moved into a larger space: the Parish Hall at St. Johann Baptist Church near Max Weber Platz. It may also be that the club might have been invited by St. Johannes to find new space due to an unfortunate encounter between a paper napkin, a tea light, and the floor rug at the 1997 Christmas lunch, as member Suzie Lentz remembers. Whatever the reason, the new location offered a larger meeting space and an actual kitchen so that coffee and tea could be prepared for the meetings.