Disclosed is a unified messaging system and method for combining a voice-mail system with an e-mail system. The present invention is a hybrid event driven system that polls a universal e-mail box for receipts, with the voice-mail system being fully event driven. The present invention maintains two persistent log-ins to the universal e-mail box, one to deliver messages and one to read message receipts. Thus, the system and method does not need to log-in and -out or read the entire list of messages. The present invention uses a file system instead of a state database. The system and method acts in real time such that messages in the unified messaging systems are synchronized within a pre-determined real-time. The system and method uses a “fail-safing” technique in which, after copies of messages are made and stored by each messaging component, allows one system to work if another is down.