The Reverend Tony Lang built a career as a military chaplain, now he is studying a new language and zooming through the challenges of online learning to complete a Master’s degree.
At 83 years old, Mr Lang says he is finding studying “very challenging and very rewarding”.
At the age of 15, Mr Lang left school for an apprenticeship but returned years later to complete his Leaving Certificate, during a time when classroom learning was the norm.
Now studying a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through Charles Sturt University, Mr Lang says modern online learning suited him.
“To be honest, I quite enjoy it. I’m here in my own study it’s quiet and peaceful,” he said.
“There’s no reason why I should be in a classroom.”
When he completes the degree, Mr Lang says he will use his knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek languages to improve his research for book writing.
His 72-year-old brother, who is studying a writing and publishing university course, is proof that others can continue studying during their older years.
Chaplaincy career highlight
A highlight of Mr Lang’s career was when he accompanied war veterans to Gallipoli to conduct the service at the battle’s 75th anniversary.
“That’s where the great traditions of the Australian Army began,” he said.
In 2008, he ventured on a locum position at the remote parish of North Isles in Shetland, working for the Church of Scotland.
Mr Lang said he enjoyed the time to discover the home country of his Scottish Presbyterian mother.
“I wish I could go back … I just love it,” he said.
“It’s a very wild, lonely and beautiful place.”
In 2015, Mr Lang received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his chaplaincy work.
He then continued ministry work with short stints at Bowenfels and Dunedoo in central western New South Wales.
Now “semi-retired” at Wangi Wangi near Lake Macquarie, Mr Lang still regularly performs chaplaincy services for the NSW Police, providing comfort to families in times of distress.
“Being an absolutely committed Christian, I feel it’s my call to do it,” he said.