In order for the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America to combine into the UUA, and thus create UUism, a full 75% of all Unitarian churches AND a full 75% of all Universalist churches had to vote “yes” on union. At the time, this was seen as a nearly impossible task, and the number was invented by opponents of merger who wanted to see the consolidation efforts go down in flames. To put it into perspective, no vote in U or U history had probably EVER included 75% of churches (to say nothing of getting all 75% to vote the same way)–this wasn’t a 75% “yes” vote at General Assembly, it was 75% of the hundreds and hundreds of churches in each denomination, each scheduling and holding its own vote, all fiercely independent and with no pre-existing organizational structure in which to manage such an unprecedented vote.
Yet there was a genuine spirit of union among most Unitarians and Universalists, and the forces for merger were well organized. They managed to pull it off against all odds and in fact had an over 90% “yes” vote among all the Unitarian and Universalist churches, an utterly staggering outcome that far exceeded the predictions of either the pro- or anti-merger factions. There were some holdouts, including some churches that have never joined the UUA to this day, but the UUA truly went forward with an overwhelming mandate for union and the adventure of a new religious tradition.