The Southeast Asian ministry at Salem Lutheran, Dakota City, Neb., recently baptized 74 people in a group ceremony at the church. It's the same ministry that baptized 154 people in a swimming pool in 1998. "It's surprising even to me," said Tom LoVan, the native Laotian pastor who founded the ministry, which now boasts 200 weekly worshipers at its sites in Salem and at Morningside Lutheran Church, Sioux City, Iowa. Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson marked the beginning of the year 2000 with "Light of the Ages," a New Year's Eve service at Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. The worship remembered God's faithfulness to past generations and looked to the future with hope in the God for whom "a thousand years is as a day." Taking a tip from real estate brokers, St. Michael Lutheran Church, Sellersville, Pa., turned itself into a "talking house of God." Brokers have long used small radio transmitters to give drive-by customers information about a building for sale. At St. Michael, visitors tuning to 1610 AM can hear about special events and ministry. Youth at Hope Lutheran Church, Madison, Wis., hosted a Parent's Night Out to give moms and dads a break. They provided low-cost child care so parents could get out by themselves for a few hours. When Larry Covington, pastor of St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, Austin, Texas, hosted a celebration of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, it wasn't the first time he has cozied up to Lutherans. Covington is a graduate of Texas Lutheran University, Seguin. St. Louis' celebration, by the way, made the front page of the Austin American-Statesman, which ran a photo of two bishops embracing: John McCarthy of the Austin Diocese and James Bennett of the Southwestern Texas Synod. New England Synod Bishop Robert Isaksen was a VIP guest along with President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry, Cardinal Bernard Law and other leaders at a memorial service for six firefighters who perished in a fire in Worcester, Mass. Isaksen was seated in the dais at the service, attended by 15,000 and held in a coliseum that hosts concerts and sporting events. Many other Lutheran clergy attended as well. Worcester Fire Chief Dennis Budd is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester. Some 50 computers retired from service at the ELCA churchwide office last year found new careers in foreign lands. The ELCA Department for Information Technology upgraded the machines and turned them over to the Division for Global Mission, which placed them with partner not-for-profit agencies.