At the 1980 International AA Convention in New Orleans, Westly P. an impassioned Big Booker from Pompano Beach, Florida, organized a lunch for 1,500 AAs from all over the world and gave away 100 Joe & Charlie tape sets as door prizes. Invitations exploded and within a couple of years, Joe & Charlie were presenting about 36 studies a year worldwide. Obviously, the seminars struck a deep chord within AA members … for the reaffirmation of this message as written in April 1939 with the publication of the first edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Studies have been given in 48 states and most Canadian provinces. Additionally, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands have all hosted the Big Book Study seminars with Joe & Charlie.
The original Joe McQ. had to curtail his travels in the late 1990’s. Oddly enough, another Joe — Joe McC., active in the study group since the beginning –was able to pick up the slack. Where God guides, God provides, as some members say.
All this growth did not come without a measure of turbulence. What spiritual journey does not encounter obstacles? Some fellow AAs have termed the duo, self-appointed gurus. Others have
accused them of making money on these weekends. Actually, only travel expenses, meals and lodging were paid for by the independent AA host committee sponsoring the study. This is in accordance with the AA Guidelines for Conferences and Conventions (MG4), published by the General Service Office. Since 1977, an estimated 200,000 AA Members have experienced the spiritual benefits of these collective studies.
As was always Charlie’s hope other members in different areas have picked up where Joe and Charlie, Willie and John left off. Won’t you be the next to pass it on?
A. Wesley Parrish passed in 1985
Joe McQ. passed Oct. 25, 2007
Willie B. passed January 23, 2011
Charlie P. passed April 21, 2011
Joe McC. passed at 1:45 PM on November 24, 2014
John Williams passed away on January 8, 2018
John was the last surviving member of the original Paul Revere Group, the name the above took for themselves that symbolized there desire to “carry the message.” Without John’s efforts for so many years, the Big Book Seminar would not have survived Wesley Parrish.