Archived Sections, Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Generosity is in the cards

Pat Linn uses a quirky fund-raising idea to help those in need

Time was when pious Lutherans considered decks of playing cards instruments of the devil. (If there are still such among our readers, we apologize for offending you, and suggest you think of what’s about to be described as “art cards” instead. There’s some great photographic art in this collection.)
Pat Linn, a member of Maplewood’s Gethsemane Lutheran Church, became a “Red Hat Lady” when she turned 50 (nobody younger need apply). Members of this unconventional fellowship take inspiration for their free and sometimes outrageous lifestyle (wearing red with purple, for example) from a poem by Jenny Joseph. She once wrote, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.” (The poem describes a few other unconventional behaviors Joseph wrote she might try as well.)
Linn was having a good time wearing red and purple when it occurred to her that victims of the South Asian tsunami, and later, Hurricane Katrina and her vicious storm sisters, needed all the help they could get.
Linn has long been a supporter of UNICEF, an agency that brings relief to the world’s hurting children. She decided to round up her fellow “Red Hat” sisters in the Twin Cities, send them to a professional photographer, and create a deck of cards picturing them in — what else? — red and purple.
A minimum order of 500 card decks were sold for $10 each. A tithe from each sale went to UNICEF. For a while, Linn actually gave 50% of her sales to relief efforts, but then discovered she needed to drop back to 10% (where she is again) to recover her investment.
When the first deck sold out, Linn found 52 more women to pose for a second deck. Some decks have been sold, but many are waiting for buyers.
Not only did Linn engineer the card deck project, but she also outfitted many of the women in the photos with fabric she purchased for the project.
Metro Lutheran readers who would like to help a fellow Lutheran expand her unconventional giving plan are invited to call Pat Linn. The cards would make good holiday gifts, and will benefit the children of the world at the same time.
To purchase one or more decks of cards, contact Linn at 651/ 776-2443 or write to