Arlington Temple United Methodist Church – Arlington, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Arlington Temple United Methodist Church

This church built atop a gas station promises to "equip you for the next stage in your life’s journey." 


The Sunoco gas station in Arlington, Virginia is a one-stop-shop on a whole new level: On on top of providing fuel and snacks, it could even meet your spiritual needs. 

The Arlington Temple United Methodist Church opened in 1971 in the Rosslyn area of the city, a bustling business district adjacent to Washington, D.C., that has seen a boom in the years since then. Perched on top of several concrete pillars, the church was built to accommodate a business—such as a gas station—on its ground floor.

Back when the Sunoco that occupies the space was an Exxon, locals sometimes referred to the complex as “Saint Exxon.” The gas station is known for being somewhat cramped and claustrophobic, but it is also locally beloved, and Virginians have developed another clever nickname for it: “gas ‘n’ god” or “pump ‘n’ pray.”

The church itself, whose nondescript ’70s architecture makes it otherwise visually unremarkable, hides the Sunoco from full view of the streets around it. It aims to provide “relevant, passionate, and life-changing worship,” and also hope to “equip you for the next stage in your life’s journey.” If that stage happens to be a long road trip, you’re certainly covered!

Update: As of January 2024, the church and gas station will soon disappear. However, the redeveloped property will include a church and gas station as part of a new development.



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