William Franklin Harrington graduated from Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC, in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1960 and a Master of Theology degree in 1961 from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA.
In 1961, Harrington was ordained by Savannah Presbytery and became the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hinesville, GA. In 1965, he moved to Fairview Presbyterian Church in North Augusta, SC.
In October 1971, he accepted the pastorate of Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, where he served for the remainder of his career. During his years at Peachtree, the congregation grew from 2,000 to 11,000 members. The weekly services were broadcast regionally, and the Christmas Eve service was telecast nationally.
In his ministry, Harrington served the church at all levels. He was also active in numerous civic and educational institutions, including the boards of directors of Columbia Theological Seminary, Presbyterian College, Queens College, and Oglethorpe University. He received honorary degrees from Presbyterian College and Oglethorpe University.
He was the author of The Seasons of Life (Atlanta, GA: Ruralist Press, 1985), Seeking a Living Faith; A Lenten Preaching Series (Lima, OH: C.S.S. Publishing Company, 1988), and First Comes Faith; Proclaiming the Gospel in the Church (Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 1998).