The Anglican Evangelical Group Movement:
The Anglican Evangelical Group Movement began as a small, informal grouping of discontented evangelicals within the Church of England in 1906. It is said to have emerged as a result of the visit of Douglas Thornton, a member of the missionary union, to St Aidan's College, Birkenhead, where he found a number of people discontented with the direction evangelicalism had taken in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Thornton inspired them to some kind of action and after two meetings, the Group Movement (as it was called in the early stages) began with the Liverpool Six - Lisle Carr, H Probyn, A J Tait, A F Thornhill, B C Jackson and F S Guy Warman. The latter, at that time was vicar of Birkenhead and became first permanent secretary and in 1908 he replaced Tait as principal of St Aidan's.
The earliest concerns of the group reflect the way in which they thought evangelical principles had been allowed to slip in the church of England. Privately circulated points for consideration included a belief in the revelatory nature of the Bible and the implications of this for personal exegesis and practival divinity. Their soteriology was very Christocentric, with an important statement made about the role of Christ in the transmission of grace and the confirming nature of baptism in the visible church to ensure acceptance into the invisible church. Evangelisation of the world was considered to be the primary duty of the church.
The organization that followed these beginnings was swift with the setting up of regional meetings of Groups who were part of the larger Group Movement in Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester and Durham. Discussion took place about their immediate concerns, especially the need for a logocentric practical divinity and, under the direction of Warman, the Group Movement began producing pamphlets under the general title of English church manuals. After the first world war the Group Movement became more active and was revitalized through the publication of Canon Vernon Storr's essays under the title Liberal evangelicalism. This title epitomises what the movement became in its heyday of the 1920s and 1930s; one committed to freedom of religion and thought on the one hand but in the practical converting power of the Gospel on the other. The tension inherent in this combination eventually led to the fundamentalists breaking away and setting up the Bible Churchman's Missionary Society.
In 1923 agreement was reached about the essential aims of the movement which included evangelism at home and abroad, to promote Christian civilization and work for the attainment of effective unity in word and sacrament. The Group Movement was renamed the Anglican Evangelical Group Movement, it produced a pamphlet, The A.E.G.M.: what it is and what it stands for, and it became a more open pressure group within the Anglican church holding a yearly meeting called the Cromer Convention. Bible readings at these conventions were often given by Canon Storr, who emerged as effective leader until his death in 1940. This death and the outbreak of war disrupted the AEGM's activities and membership fell from 1600 to 500. However, the organization continued to produce its bulletin and concern itself with revisions of the sacerdotal side of Anglican worship until it finally disbanded in 1967, when, at its last annual conference, it dissolved itself on the grounds that the job it originally set out to do had largely been done (Hickin `Liberal evangelicals in the church of England', passim).
Frederic Sumpter Guy Warman:
Guy Warman was born on 5 November 1872 and educated at the Merchant Taylors' School from which he won a classical scholarship to go to Pembroke College, Oxford. He then went on to theological school and was ordained as curate of Leyton in 1895. In 1899 he married Gertrude Earle and they went on to have two sons. He was briefly vice-principal of St Aiden's Theological College in Birkenhead before resigning to become vicar of Birkenhead, eventually returning to At Aiden's as principal in 1907. In 1916 he wrote a short history of The evangelical movement and in the same year he became vicar of Bradford. In 1919 was appointed to the see of Truro and in 1923 moved to Chelmsford. He was heavily involved in the revision of the prayer book for the 1927 version. In 1928 he was made bishop of Manchester, his evangelicalism possibly robbing him of the possibility of translation to the archiepiscopate of York. He saw out the rest of his career as bishop of Manchester before dying on 12 February 1950 at his home in Orpington, Kent. Both his sons followed him into the church and papers in the collection relating to Warman originate with his son, also Guy Warman (Obituaries from the Times 1951-1960).