Sadly, there are no such "gay churches" in Des Moines now. When I first came out, I could visit any one of five gay bars, all with a certain theme and a crowd of regulars. They also had out-of-town visitors and closeted men just beginning to explore their "faith."
Recently, the Brass Garden closed. It was mostly a dance bar. It is in one of the oldest buildings in the East Village and is now going through a $6M renovation as gentrification has pushed these bars out of formerly low rent neighborhoods.
The other bar, called "the Saddle," has had the most loyal following but has closed because of COVID. Its future remains uncertain.
As an older gay man, I think we have lost something important. These places weren't just places to hook up for the night. They were places where you could always find friends, and even if you were new, you could always find someone to speak with.
We are facing an epidemic of loneliness now because of COVID, but perhaps also because apps like Grindr are nearly exclusively about sex.
Where can older men go now to find acceptance and interesting conversation? Successful aging demands that we have a small circle of chums that we can meet in nonjudgmental and accepting ways.
Gay men are so much more than just sex. A Zoom cocktail hour will never fulfill our need for emotional intimacy.