Bill’s Story

Bill Tonnis is a Pastoral Minister, Chaplain, retreat presenter, Centering Prayer facilitator, music minister, singer-songwriter, former Youth Minister, and former radio news anchor who is inspired to share God’s unconditional love, mercy, and grace for all. He is passionate about contemplative living, working for unity, and helping people become their true selves.
Bill Tonnis wants to use his music, his ministry and his personal testimony to ignite the passion of God’s love in the hearts of all who hear him. In so doing, Bill hopes to encourage others to listen to their hearts, live to love and give of themselves in the service of God’s on-going creation.

Bill is a proponent of contemplative living. As Jesus said that we must lose our lives to find our lives (Matthew 16:25), so we, too, must let go of our ego-centric selves to find our true selves. It is the self-emptying-path of presence that leads to life to the full – right now. As Jesus said: The kingdom of God is within you.

For many years, Bill was a popular name for radio listeners in Cincinnati where he worked for 700 WLW.  After a mystical experience, Bill started playing a guitar that he had not touched in a decade, and then started writing songs with a new sense of purpose. After a couple of spiritually-transforming health issues, he had a spiritual awakening which led to pursuing a Master’s degree in Religious and Pastoral Studies from Mount St. Joseph College.

During this time, Bill also joined a church band called CELEBRATE. In 2003, the band recorded a CD which included several of Bill’s original compositions. Ironically, CELEBRATE was scheduled to perform one of their biggest events to date on the very day that the 9-11 tragedy occurred. The event went on as planned, but instead of being behind the news microphone that night, Bill was behind a stage microphone spreading the good news and hope of the unconditional Love of God through music and prayer.

In 2007, Bill released his debut solo album titled LISTEN TO YOUR HEART. That same year, Bill left radio and became the youth minister at a local parish. His second album, LIVE TO LOVE, was released in 2009. Then in 2013, Bill’s third album, GIVE PRAISE AND THANKS, was released. Bill’s 4th album, MERCY REIGNS, was released in 2017.

A new calling to chaplaincy led Bill to complete all four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. His parish role switched to visiting shut-ins and ministering to the sick with his songs. He continued to oversee the church’s social justice and outreach programs. He also became a jail minister where his songs also became a blessing to many.

Bill has also written two books: Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing; and Listen to Your Heart: A Daily Devotional of Calling, Purpose and New Life. His albums and books are available on this site by clicking HERE and also on Amazon. He also has a regular blog titled “Today’s Contemplation” which you can find by clicking HERE or on the tabs above.

Today Bill works as a chaplain for the Sisters of Charity after a short stint in hospice chaplaincy. His ministry is sharing his music and words to awaken the listener to God’s unconditional love and to living as their “true self.” He also shares his talent and testimony at concerts, schools, churches, conferences, and retreats.

By grace, Bill has gone from delivering bad news on the radio to Good News to all who will hear it!