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Virginia NextGen pastor dies from burns suffered in backyard fire

A former student in the student ministry of Kevin Corey speaks at Corey's funeral.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (BP) – George Kevin Corey, immediate past NextGen pastor of Calvary Road Baptist Church, died Feb. 7 from severe burns suffered in a firepit explosion in his backyard.

Corey, 57, suffered third-degree burns on 65 percent of his body after a gas can exploded as he was burning documents, his daughter Jenna Guercia said on Facebook. Corey and his wife Rebecca, who suffered second-degree burns on her hands, were preparing to move to Glasgow, Va., in anticipation of a ministry post at Glasgow Baptist Church.

Corey served in various youth and children’s ministry capacities on-and-off at Calvary for more than 20 years, Calvary Senior Pastor David Rhodenhizer told Baptist Press, most recently as NextGen pastor in charge of children and youth. Corey became a Christian at the church, met his wife there, discerned his ministry calling, joined the staff and returned to the church after ministry stints in other states. He last worked at Calvary in November 2023.

He worked for the U.S. government before transitioning to ministry in 1993. In addition to Calvary Road, he served as children’s pastor at Heartland Church in Paducah, Ky., and Annistown Road Baptist Church in Snellville, Ga.

His former students remembered him for his enthusiasm and joy in sharing the Gospel with children and youth. He and his wife also served as foster parents.

“Pastor Kevin Corey was an inspiration to me and so many others,” his former student Sean Smith remarked during the livestreamed funeral service Feb. 16 at Calvary Road Baptist Church. “The last time I spoke with him, he had so much hope for the future. He was looking forward to what God had in store for him, and what he could do to still give service to our Lord.”

Survivors include his wife, daughter Jenna (husband Matthew Guercia), and mother Donna Flores (husband Victor Flores). The church has raised more than $45,000 to help the family in its transition, Rhodenhizer said.

Corey is interred in Beulah Cemetery adjacent to the church.